Pen Pals in Israel

Wyomissing Area Spartans Partner with Pen Pals in Israel
Posted on 03/01/2022
Fifth-grade teacher Mrs. Nancy Boyer collaborates with other social studies teachers around the world as a member of a virtual social studies professional learning community. Through this digital platform, a teacher from Israel expressed an interest in partnering with a school in the United States to connect her students with pen pals.

This group of Israeli students attend an all-virtual school, live in various parts of Israel, and come from various religious backgrounds. The diversity within this group provides many conversation topics that they can share with their pen pals. Their teacher’s primary goal for the students in Israel is to improve their English skills.

While many U.S. teachers expressed a willingness to participate, Mrs. Boyer was fortunate to be chosen for this special opportunity. She connected with the teacher in Israel through WebEx to discuss their expectations for the partnership and what they hoped students would gain from the experience. To match the eleven students in Israel with a Wyomissing Area Spartan, Mrs. Boyer connected with Mrs. Easteadt to use this pen pal experience as an extension opportunity for a group of gifted students.

The students WebEx once or twice a month with their pen pal during homeroom time and then report back to the full class during social studies about what they learned. Working with the whole class, they researched a bit more about Israel, learned about the geography of where their pen pals live, and created a slide show teaching the students in Israel about where we live in the United States. Through breakout rooms, students connect with their pen pal partner to get to know them a bit better. In the coming weeks they will extend their partnership to include handwritten letters that will include tokens of American culture. Students have an ongoing blog they developed with their pen pals and create padlets for one another that they share back and forth.

As students build relationships with their pen pals, a central focus is to look for things they have in common. Students are learning that despite living in different countries and having different backgrounds, they do have a lot in common with one another. This is such a great opportunity for students to extend their study of geography and world cultures, to learn about students’ experiences living in a different country, and to identify ways in which they are similar despite having so many different life experiences.

Thank you Mrs. Boyer and Mrs. Easteadt for facilitating this opportunity for our Spartans and finding so many ways to enrich their education through this special connection!