Having class pen pals is an incredible opportunity for students to learn about other people and places at the same time they practice their writing skills. There’s really no downside, except the coordination. So, how do you get a pen pal? Well, we’ve taken care of that for you. If you’re a 3rd-5th grade teacher, you can sign up today to take part in The USPS Pen Pal Project.
Here’s how easy it is
It’s super easy to sign up. Click here to fill out the form. We’ll send you a confirmation email and get you matched up with a partner class. In January, we’ll ship your free letter-writing kit. You’ll get:
- 26 student envelopes and cards.
- Four large teacher envelopes.
- One teaching poster.
- And one sheet of stickers.
You’ll send your first letters right away, and we’ll be in touch throughout the rest of the school year to support you in keeping the correspondence going. You’ll have access to:
- Letter and envelope templates.
- A guide to doing a video call with your pen pal class.
- Letter-writing ideas.
- And more!
What’s in it for your students
Builds empathy. Some of your students may have never traveled out of their state. This is a chance for them to get to know someone in another part of the country and to build connections with a person who has different viewpoints and lived experiences than their own.
Provides writing practice. The best writing assignments have an authentic audience. Enter pen pals! You need your best writing on display if you’re going to communicate clearly, so that’s some good motivation to check for clarity and, yes, spelling.
Boosts social skills. Having a pen pal promotes patience because you have to wait for that reciprocation. When students work on perspective-taking as well as look for common bonds, they can form true friendships. This is an especially great opportunity for our more introverted students to make connections.
What teachers are saying
“Our third graders are already asking so many questions about who their pals will be and the how-tos of letter-writing. As teachers, we recognized this project as an opportunity to engage our students in authentic writing tasks. Students will be able to develop and work on various writing skills such as editing, grammar, and language while learning about students in a different part of the country. We are ready to ‘meet’ our partner class!” —Allyson Caudill, 3rd Grade Teacher
“I am excited to use this program as a communication tool for my students to meet others they normally wouldn’t have! Plus, I’m not sure how many of them have much prior knowledge of the postal system in general! I hope to give them some history and background of how and why it was created at the start of our country.” —Yonina Lermer, 5th Grade Teacher