Pen Pals Through the Year

Several years ago, Sarah and I were classroom pen pals with Aylin and Amanda from Learning to the Core!  Every month we would exchange letters.  Our kiddos LOVED it!  Our students were happy to write letters to their pen pals and were THRILLED when a new package arrived.  We saw some of our most reluctant readers and writers try their hardest....and enjoy it.  

Pen pals can be whatever you'd like to make them - pen pals can be across the country or across the hall!  We wrote our pen pals once a month - but this is obviously not required either!  

We created our Pen Pal Through the Year product to make pen pals a reality for teachers that want to give it a try!  Below is what Pen Pal Through the Year looks like in pictures - we completed an example of each template to give you an idea of what the monthly activities look like.    

SEPTEMBER // Intro Letter 
Students will get a chance to share about themselves to their new pen pal!

OCTOBER // Postcard 
Students can make the postcard be about any topic - in this example, I made it about a field trip to the zoo.  On the back side of the postcard, kiddos draw a picture of what they wrote about.

NOVEMBER // Puzzle 
Students create a puzzle for their pen pal.  If this is done in November, the topic can be "I am thankful for ____,"  like the example I made below.  Once students draw on their puzzle, they cut it out, put it back together to give it a try, and put it in a Ziploc bag for their pen pal.

DECEMBER // Gift Tag 
Students will make a very small gift for their pen pal.  In this example, a friendship bracelet was made.  Students make a gift tag to go along with the gift.

JANUARY // Text Message
This template is made to resemble a text message and coordinating picture. The text starts with the prompt, "My favorite part of break was_____," so that students can write about their winter break.  

FEBRUARY // Greeting Card
Students have a chance to make a Valentine's Day card for their pen pal.  You can add a pencil or small treat if you want! 

MARCH  // Book Recommendation 
Students get a chance to share about a favorite book they think their pen pal would love to read.  There is also a template to make a bookmark to send along as well.

APRIL  // Email 
This template is made to resemble an email message. The email starts with the prompt, "This weekend I _____," so that students can write about their weekend.  

MAY // End of Year Reflection 
Students can share a reflection about their school year and then share plans for the summer on this template.

Any Time // Friendly Letter Template 
Students can write a friendly letter.  This template can be used any time!

The ideas above are only suggestions for how to use each month's template, you can ultimately pick when / how you use of the activities included.