Pen Pal Project Connects Third GradeRS
By Erin Pant
Right before Christmas break, Saint Peter’s third graders were busy reading and replying to the latest letters from their pen pals. With each letter that arrives, they learn a little more about their pen pals, who are third grade students at Saint Elizabeth School in Rockville.
Saint Peter’s third grade teachers, Ms. Deoudes and Mrs. Bieberich introduced the pen pal project last year when Ms. Deoudes, who previously taught at Saint Elizabeth School, saw an opportunity to keep in touch with former students while providing an engaging way for the students to enhance their writing skills.
Throughout the school year the students exchange letters with their pen pals a total of four or five times.
“The letters are usually centered around the upcoming holidays. We encourage students to ask a lot of questions, so they get to know their pen pals. We also encourage describing fun events we have here at Saint Peter’s,” said Deoudes.
The project allows the students to practice writing skills, particularly letter writing, while also improving their communication skills.
“Letter writing opens up a dialogue between students and allows students to get to know someone they’ve never seen or met. Our hope is for the students to develop friendships with students at other Catholic schools,” said Bieberich.
“I like being able to communicate with friends without having to go to their school. My favorite part is receiving notes because you get to learn about your pen pan and you can answer your pen pal’s questions,” said third grader Gabriella.
The pen pal project would not be possible without the cooperation of the third grade teachers at Saint Elizabeth, Mrs. Gardner and Ms. Haddad.
“We are very appreciative of the time and support that Mrs. Gardner and Ms. Haddad give toward this endeavor,” said Deoudes.
Saint Peter’s third graders anxiously await replies to their December letters to learn how their pen pals spent winter break and they look forward to several more months of letter exchanges as they continue to hone their writing skills and build deeper friendships with their pen pals.