This week we celebrate a classroom in Sweden that recently participated in Facts, Opinions, and Fake News. Students in Lotta Kilic’s classes, 9a and 9b, learned about how to evaluate sources and how “fake news” impacts communities around the world.
Check out some of their responses below and read more about what the students in Ms. Kilic’s classes had to say about their experience learning with PenPals. Facts, Opinions, and Fake News starts again Monday, October 2. Sign up today!
PenPals around the world are getting ready to participate in one of our most popular projects, World Explorer, for PenPal Fest 2017 starting October 2nd! This week, we recognize a student who participated in World Explorer earlier this summer. Congratulations to our PenPal of the Week, Julia D from Poland!
The biggest PenPal exchange of 2017 is coming! Classrooms from 23 countries including India, Colombia, the Netherlands, Uruguay, Sweden, the United States, and more have already enrolled. To participate simply enroll in our most popular global project, World Explorer starting October 2. Enroll by Wednesday, September 20 to get an invitation to the exclusive PenPal Fest Kickoff Party!
In order make sure that passionate and innovative teachers can always access PenPal Schools, we offer PenPal Schools for free for the first 5 teachers from every school! To claim your spot and gain free access for an entire year, simply enroll in any project - and then tell your friends!
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.
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):
This month, we welcomed one of our largest cohorts ever - over 5,000 students have started PenPal projects together in April! Let’s celebrate one of our PenPals from Russia, Alina R, as PenPal of the Week!
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?
February has been an exciting month for our PenPals of the Week! Our young scholars have left us feeling inspired as they explored topics from food and history to education and civil rights! Our February PenPals demonstrated respectful behavior, a commitment to academic excellence, and an interest in collaborating with people from diverse backgrounds. Please join us in celebrating our PenPals of the Week from the month of February!
PenPals of the Week demonstrate the extraordinary learning and connections that students can develop from PenPal exchanges. This week we hosted PenPal-A-Palooza, our largest exchange ever in which we welcomed over 5,000 students from all across the world to collaborate and learn together. To inspire all these new PenPals we’re sharing some words of wisdom from Victoria, a great PenPal from Connecticut (USA).
Every day the PenPal Schools teams and educators around the world get to witness the extraordinary learnings and connections that develop from our student’s PenPal exchanges. Now with our “PenPals of the Week” series you will, too! Follow along as we celebrate these young global learners.
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:
As a team of lifelong learners, we at PenPal Schools have an increasingly long list of blogs we turn to daily for inspiration, teaching strategies, quick tips and emerging best practices from our fellow educators. As you prepare for the new school year check out these must-reads!
The emphasis on aligning classroom instruction to academic standards is growing not only in the United States but in countries around the world. But academic standards are more than simply stated expectations that teachers and students must meet during a given school day or year. Academic standards are important guidelines that identify content, skills, and processes that students have already been exposed to, as well as the topics and skills that students will be expected to develop in the future.
At PenPal Schools, we have studied a number of different academic standards to ensure that teachers and students can confidently use PenPal Schools to help young scholars learn the information and skills required to succeed in both their primary and secondary education, and in their future careers.
In our Academic Standards Alignment resource, we have identified reading, writing, language, and technology standards that can guide teachers towards targeted learning outcomes while using PenPal Schools.
To most effectively align PenPal Schools to academic standards, consider the following questions:
This year PenPal Schools and Dell co-hosted a contest to promote global education. "The Big Small World" contest connected over 2,000 students from around the world while assisting non-profits in need of technology.
More than 60 nonprofit organizations within the Dell Youth Learning initiative participated. These organizations joined PenPal Schools' global community and the program with the most PenPals had a chance to win $5,000- $10,000 in Dell technology. Today we are excited to share not only the organizations that took home the prizes, but what happens when students from around the world connect to learn together.
Did you know that 62 million girls worldwide are not in school? In many places it is customary for girls to stay home while their brothers pursue an education. In some places girls are able to attend school but lack critical resources like textbooks and trained teachers. Even worse, young girls around the world sometimes face harassment and violence when they pursue an education.
If we were middle school students today we'd want to have Ashley Selck as our humanities teacher. Why? You don't have to chat with Selck for long to learn how passionate she is about her students and her profession. Also, when we asked her for a photo of herself she sent this awesome one!
Selck teaches cutting-edge humanities courses at Monte Vista Christian School in Watsonville, California. She holds her students to a high standard (especially when it comes to writing). She inspires them with interesting topics (like "entrepreneurship and the Gilded Age"). Selck also offers her students opportunities to reflect on what they've learned. For example, her students keep a classroom blog and Twitter account. Recently students published their letters to social enterprises and notes from their lessons.
We chatted with Selck, one of our Global Ambassadors, about becoming a teacher and measuring "success." Here's our conversation:
Read this letter from Sungu Samnyirwa, head of Mfangano Girls Empowerment Academy in Kenya, demonstrates the impact PenPals can have on young women.
Check out this awesome testimonial we received from a Alisa Bhakta, a PenPal in California, about her experience writing to peers in Ghana.
Today we’re launching a new blog series inspired by our Dell Big Small World Contest! In this series, called “Changemakers,” we’ll explore the amazing work happening to make quality education more accessible in communities around the world. It’s a big passion of ours and one shared by the many people and organizations we get to work with every day. Let’s learn together, pen pals!
Three months ago we launched our Global Ambassador Program. This program recognizes those share our passion for providing excellent educational opportunities for learners everywhere while breaking down cultural barriers. One of our first Ambassadors was Mr. Greg Zugrave. A World Geography and History teacher, Mr. Zugraves coaches the Varsity Basketball team at his Florida high school! Last month, Mr. Zugrave and his AP U.S. History class participated in the maiden voyage of our newest course Walking to Freedom. They connected with students from Soweto, South Africa. Together the pen pals explored human rights issues and learned about civic leaders who advocate for equality. We chatted about his thoughts on teaching, global education, engaging students.
Wednesday was "Austin Reads Aloud Day" in our fair city. The day recognized local non-profit Bookspring and their achievement in delivering one million books (and counting!) to children in Greater Austin. To celebrate schools across the city hosted "celebrity readers." These readers shared their favorite children’s books along with their love of reading.
PenPal Schools connects over 100,000 students in 170 countries to learn together.
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