My daughter's second grade class is exchanging letters with a class on the opposite coast. Her excitement over receiving a reply from her new pen pal brought back my own wonderful pen pal memories. Of course, nowadays pen pals aren't limited to pen and paper. Here are five worthy resources to help you connect safely with email pals from around the world.
"ePALS Classroom Exchange connects 1.6 million students and teachers from 24,923 registered classrooms in 130 countries." Although ePals does not provide pen pals for individuals, they shine at providing pen pals for classrooms. In addition to the basics of matching classrooms by country, language, or other criteria, their free service includes instant language translation, curriculum guides, world maps, world weather, and Web-based teacher-monitored email accounts for students. Wow!
The Kid Space Connection Pen Pal site includes both individual and classroom entries. If your class or club wants to correspond with another class, click on "Class Box" to choose a classroom that has already posted or create a new entry for your group. Personal entries are sorted into five boxes by age (from Box One for six and under to Box Five for thirteen to sixteen). The graphics really enhance this site, as each entry displays a country flag and a color-coded computer icon -- green for boys and yellow for girls. Well, I didn't get it either, but I suppose pick and blue are just too passï¿½.