I recently connected with an educator in New Zealand (Allison) who was keen on doing a Pen Pal Exchange with third graders. She found the right person ;). About a week ago, Ms. Ford’s class received 26 full-length, hand-written letters from our new 8 year-old pen pals at the Fernridge School in New Zealand. The letters showed exemplary penmanship and good composition. The Fernridge students have set the bar very high!
We met as a group to familiarize ourselves with the Fernridge school and to learn a little about the kiwi culture. Did you know that many of the children attend the school ‘barefoot’? Together, we researched this oddity and learned that it is part of the kiwi culture. Most students take their shoes off at the door. Each kiwi student also wrote 4 sentences in the native Maori language. You can imagine the class discussion that followed – lots of questions. Copies of these pen pal letters went home over the weekend to share with family.
Today we had a discussion about penmanship and how to compose a letter. I purposefully made mistakes in my own penmanship, that the students delighted in
correcting! Then, students culled their notes and began composing their letters to their new pen pals. One of the students explained that he was born at 1pm, which would be 1am in New Zealand’s time zone (what a great realization). A second student decided to show how to write her name in Arabic. (Can you stand it???) Finally, another student asked if he could include his street address because he wants to continue writing letters all year.