Did you know that over 80% of middle schoolers can’t tell the difference between a news article and sponsored content on social media? This problem doesn’t just affect students in America. We’ve heard from teachers all around the world who want to help their students identify fake news, which is why we’ve created our newest project Facts, Opinions, and Fake News.
Whether students are learning with peers in their classroom or around the world, they need to be prepared to be safe, respectful, and responsible citizens. That’s why we’ve prepared some activities that you can do offline to prepare your students to be successful online!
Our new 21st Century Skills Toolkit is full of mini-lessons that you can use to help students learn about internet safety and responsible online behavior. From creating a username and password to searching for information online to how to prevent cyberbullying, we’ve got you covered with downloadable activities that you can use with your students.
Have you checked out PenPal Schools recently? You may not recognize it! With the help of suggestions from educators like you, we’ve made improvements so that you and your students can take global collaborations to the next level. Here are a few changes that will make your next PenPal project the best one yet!
Guaranteed responsive PenPals
To encourage students to write to their PenPals more frequently, they now earn PenPal Points for their work. Students who earn the most points get matched with the most responsive PenPals! We also now match every student with 3 PenPals instead of just one, so there’s almost always a new message waiting. Learn more about how we match PenPals.
Note: If students don’t hear from a PenPal within 7 days, they will be matched with a new PenPal. So make sure your students write at least once a week or they may lose their PenPals!
Dozens of new projects
We’re thrilled to offer more projects than ever, thanks in part to educators around the world who have been helping us create projects. Choose from new projects related to art, science, and media.
In one of our newest projects, PenPals have been learning about food and culinary traditions around the world. Join the biggest PenPal project of the season by participating in A World of Food starting Monday, July 17!
Invite your friends and colleagues to enroll their students and participate in the biggest global collaboration project this July. This great collaborative project inspires students to reflect on their own food communities as they learn about how food impacts people around the world.
Teachers and students must enroll before July 17 to participate, and the project can be completed in as little as one hour between July 17-23. You can meet other teachers from around the world who are participating in the Global Teacher Forum!
Are you jealous of your students when they’re having amazing conversations with PenPals around the world? You won’t be anymore! Educators can now connect in our brand new Global Teacher Forums.
Here are a few great forums to check out. You can share your ideas or what inspires you, post a photo of your students or their work, or share tips with others to help them make the most of PenPal Schools (you’ll need to be logged into your PenPal Schools account to participate):
You work hard all school year, and now that summer is here we want to help you get into relaxation mode faster. That’s why we’ve posted Match Dates for the Fall semester already!
Teachers love how easy it is to design lessons and units around PenPal Schools projects, which are aligned to a variety of standards and are available at different reading levels. With weekly lessons that include everything from videos, readings, and vocabulary to discussion questions, downloadable activities, and built-in assessment tools, you can go ahead and cut your summer planning time in half!
From classrooms to summer camps, projects starting this June are flexible enough to fit into a variety of learning spaces. Check out the great projects starting every Monday this month!
The wait is finally over! We are excited to introduce two new projects, La Comida Latina and La Cultura Latina, available exclusively to PenPal PLUS subscribers! Both projects are entirely in Spanish and can be completed in one week.
Hello global educators! We’ve got many free global projects available this month, including some new shorter projects that can be completed in as little as one week! It’s never been easier to incorporate collaborative global projects into your classroom.
To celebrate Earth day and the end of the school year, we’re organizing the biggest PenPal exchange ever! From May 8th to 12th, students from around the world will join forces for the environment!
In our new 1 week project, Joining Forces for the Environment, students will think globally and act locally. Students will learn with PenPals around the world about topics like freshwater supply, deforestation and climate change. They’ll then identify an environmental issue affecting their own communities and work together to complete a project designed to make a positive impact.
We know how hard it can be to make time for long projects at the end of the school year. That’s why PenPal Schools has introduced new PenPal projects that can be completed in 4 weeks, 3 weeks, or even in less than a single week!
We’ve made these new projects short enough to fit into your busy end-of-the-year schedule, and we’ve emphasized project-based learning to keep students engaged even as summer approaches.
Teachers have always loved how students develop skills with PenPal Schools through fun, global exchanges. Our new assessment tools empower teachers to guide student learning and improve learning outcomes!
Star ratings allows teachers to provide students with clear, actionable feedback. Teachers can also comment to provide more personal instruction.
Students around the world have been engaging with PenPals like never before. With our newest project, VR Field Trip to Pakistan, students have connected with PenPals in Pakistan and other regions to learn about a country that is often misunderstood. Through virtual reality, PenPals have experienced the sights and sounds of the bustling streets of Lahore, Pakistan.
For teachers who missed the first exchange we have great news. The project begins again - with even more Pakistani classes participating - next Monday! Students will need to enroll before Monday to be matched with PenPals. Have you signed your class up yet?
Pakistan is one of the most misunderstood countries on Earth. Students (and adults) often form perceptions about Pakistan based on what they see in the news, which frequently includes violence and political instability while offering little insight into the country's rich history and culture.
PenPal Schools' newest project, “VR Field Trip to Pakistan,” seeks to address this problem by enabling students to explore Pakistan like never before. On the invitation of the Pakistani Government, PenPal Schools has filmed Virtual Reality video content throughout the ancient city of Lahore, in the Punjab province of Pakistan. Through incredibly immersive VR “field trips,” students from around the world will connect with online PenPals to experience the bustling streets, ancient forts, and stunning mosques of Lahore. They’ll also get a glimpse of Pakistan’s rich culture, arts, food, and traditions - all while improving their reading, writing, and technology skills.
Teachers can sign up for free and invite their students to enroll before PenPal Match Day on March 20.
Of course, no PenPal Schools project would be complete without PenPals, so we’ve teamed up with the All Pakistan Private Schools Federation so that students around the world can learn with PenPals from across Pakistan! The federation represents over 197,000 schools and 20 million students from every province in Pakistan, so there should be plenty of Pakistani PenPals to go around!
Have you ever noticed all the flags you and your students see every day? From national, state, and municipal flags, to university flags, business flags, athletic flags, and flags that champion social causes, you can learn a lot about communities by studying the flags they create and choose to display.
Letter from our Founder: We’ve Raised $1.25M to Expand Learning Opportunities for Students Everywhere
This year we are proud to welcome a new cohort of PenPal Schools Global Ambassadors. Our Ambassadors are not only passionate about global education but also value community and learning with peers. Together they form a global network of education leaders from North America, South America, Europe and Africa. Over the next year Ambassadors will share best practices and lessons learned with one another and colleagues through professional development opportunities as well as work to grow our global community.
Get to know our 2016 PenPal Schools Global Ambassadors:
We are all connected by our environment. We depend on natural resources for the food we eat, the clothes we wear and the energy we use. The great diversity and possibility of Earth is truly awe-inspiring! Ideally every student would have the opportunity to experience the similarities and differences of our planet’s ecosystems first hand: to visit the Great Barrier Reef or hike alongside rhino’s in their South African habitat, for example. This may not be possible for every student, but thanks to technology, students and their peers around the world students can now learn together about Earth and our shared challenge of protecting it.
They’re back! Students all around the world are returning to school and classroom decor is being hung. We’ve been hard at work over the summer learning from teachers around the world and making PenPal Schools better than ever! Whether you’re returning to enroll in another course or connecting your students with PenPals for the first time, here’s the latest and greatest.
This spring, we’ve been working hard to make PenPal Schools an even better learning resource for our teachers and students! Thanks to your thoughtful feedback, we’ve made some pretty excellent changes that we’re excited to share with you! Here’s a brief list to help you get caught up!
PenPal Schools connects over 100,000 students in 170 countries to learn together.
Connect with other PenPal Schools educators in our Facebook community.