Writing to PenPals is fun and motivating for all students, but it can be deflating when PenPals don’t respond or don’t show the same level of effort. That’s why we’ve introduced new features to encourage better quality responses from all students and to ensure that students who put in the most effort are matched together
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.
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):
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.
We know that technology in our schools and classrooms is here to stay. But with new tools coming out every year, how will you choose the right tech for your students this school year? Our Head of Learning, Mark Danforth (@MarkDDanforth), shares five questions that every teacher and school administrator should ask before deciding to bring tech into the classroom.
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.
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!
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!
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:
How can educators inspire students and prepare them for their future education and careers? By teaching 21st century skills! Watch this Google Hangout broadcast to learn more about what these skills are, why they are important, and what technology tools/resources can help.
Many teachers aim to be learner-centered. To be learner-centered means putting the focus on the student. The teacher's primary role is as facilitator to that learning experience. We at PenPal Schools are fans of learner-centered teaching strategies and are passionate about sharing how pen pal exchanges can help make creating a learner-centered classroom fun and easy.
Educators, we are excited to present you with our official PenPal Schools resource kit! We hope these tools help you and your students...whether you’ve just heard about us, want to share PenPal Schools with your fellow teachers or administrators, or are looking to get your students learning with pen pals as fast as possible.
Recently I spoke about technology in the classroom with a group of young teachers at the University of Texas School of Education. Edtech is a hot topic right now and a growing number of universities are adding technology specific courses to the core requirements for any aspiring teacher. Young teachers use technology every day but they are still unsure how to best use technology in the classroom.
The PenPal exchange is alive and well, and this fall, students around the world will build friendships with their peers half a world away! From learning foreign languages with native speakers to exploring current events with students close to the story, there’s a whole lot to look forward to when it comes to having a penpal! While programs like PenPal Schools, it is easier than ever before to get started with a PenPal many learners hunger for more!
Meet the 2015 cohort of Global Ambassadors! PenPal Schools Global Ambassadors are passionate educators dedicated to providing excellent educational opportunities for learners everywhere while breaking down cultural barriers.
PenPal Schools connects over a quarter million students in 150 countries to learn together.
Connect with other PenPal Schools educators in our Facebook community.