1. Use Statistics
Sometimes the story is in the numbers! Numbers are a tangible way for students to connect with life in their Penpal’s country so why not bring mathematics into the social-sciences! Check out UNICEF, the CIA World Fact Book, or the United Nations. Select statistics about a relevant topics or region, explore them with students, and encourage students to share their thoughts in writing with their PenPal!
2. Explore the News
The world is an ever changing place! Explore the news where PenPals live and ask questions. Students often discover that their PenPal’s opinion may not always agree with what local and national news reports! Dogo, Time Magazine, and Our Little Earth are great places to find international news articles written for students! But don’t hold back! Students love reading the stories you enjoy as well!
3. Take Action
What better way to connect with a foreign culture than by getting involved! After some initial learning, news exploring, and fact checking, find a cause to support. Students are great at brainstorming innovative ways to support local communities as they deal with environment, economic, political, and conservation issues. Inspired your PenPals by sharing One More generation, a non-profit started by young people to protect the environment and endangered species around the world!
4. Make it Tasty
Food brings people together. For millennia people have come together through sharing meals. So roll up your sleeves and head over to Babble and the Food Network where you can find many simple recipes that young people of all ages will absolutely love!
5. Bring Maps Back!
Remember those wall maps that used to hang at the front of the class? Remember those globes that used to occupy every classrooms corner? Well maps are an excellent way to make international learning tangible. With Google Maps and new learning tools from Rand McNally, maps are easier than ever to bring into the classroom...plus, “cartography” is a really fun word to say!