“To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart.”
― Phyllis Theroux
Annie Syed, Menaul Middle School English teacher, partnered with Sarah Wilkinson, Founding Director of Global One to One, to connect her students with international students in a communication exchange program. Connect One to One facilitates students exchanging hand-written letters, Skype calls, and videos with peers from other countries. Instead of being referred to pen pals, these new friends are known as PeacePals.
Menaul students received letters from students at the Sree Mangal Dvip Boarding School in Kathmandu, Nepal, who according to Wilkinson, write “the most beautiful and thoughtful [letters] of any of our partner schools in the world.”
Ms. Syed engaged students in lessons provided by the program that were designed to “deeply familiarize students with the region and country of their PeacePal.” Objectives for students include locating their PeacePal’s country and city on a map, identifying bordering countries, locating topographical features, and drawing a map of their PeacePal’s continent, country, and city.
A Connect One to One letter template suggests that students write 5-8 sentences about their family, friends, and interests, to feel free to draw and doodle in any free space, and to conclude their letter with three questions for their PeacePal.
Ms. Syed told me, “The students’ efforts were spectacular! They went above and beyond to match the pure heartfelt creativity of the students in Nepal with very little resources, and that the highlight for her was when she had a student who normally hates writing say, “Can I please come in lunch and continue writing?”
From the looks on students’ faces, I would say they had great success in making real global connections while learning a worthy lesson in the not-yet-lost tradition of letter writing.
Keep writing, Menaul students!
Assistant to the Head of School