|A simple yet powerful writing programme: the Pen Pal Project.|
I spent my early teaching years pondering & experimenting to pique my students' interest in writing & motivate them to write more. I started by asking what would motivate ME to write?
1) An authentic audience
2) Social interaction
3) Novel experience
With these 3 factors, I experimented with all sorts of programmes like getting my students to make their own big books because we didn't have big books at that time, getting students to tell stories to other students, & show & tell. None worked as well as the Pen Pal Project which I started experimenting with since 2010 & recently found out that I've only blogged about it once in 2011.
What is the Pen Pal Project?Connecting a group of students from my school with another group of students from another school somewhere in Malaysia & exchanging letters once a month. Over the years, my students have exchanged letters with students from all over Malaysia!
What is the Outcome of the Programme?If you've never seen a student light up at a writing assignment, you've got to try this one. This is when many of my students first discover that they can write for school AND enjoy it at the same time. Also, over time I've had students surprise me with beautifully decorated letters & also letters which are longer & more elaborate than I'd usually get from a regular assignment. Which is why this is one of my staple programmes run every year.
Not convinced? Read the following feedback from teachers I've collaborated with.