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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
“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!
A Girl’s World: Free Pen Pal Spectacular
“Welcome to our free Pen Pal Spectacular! Girls! Don’t just read about the world! Make friends with it! Show your parents these pages. Get a pen pal without publishing your email address! It’s fun! It’s free! For girls only, 7-17!” I really like this safe pen pal system that assigns a number to each girl, instead of publishing email addresses. Each pen pal has quite an extensive entry that includes likes, dislikes and their view of the future — so in order to register, you’ll need to answer more than forty questions. But don’t fret, they are all multiple choice.
“By registering for the KeyPals Club, you will be able to use the network as a teacher or student to find other people to communicate with around the world. Also, other people will be able to find you, based on basic information you provide about yourself.” After you register, you can decide if you want your entry published, or if you’d rather just peruse other’s listings. Although students can register individually, parents will need to snail mail a permission slip for kids under thirteen.
Pen Pal Box
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 passÃ©.
Tips for Pen Pal Beginners
“New to the pen pal scene? Need help getting started and keeping your new friendships? Then let me share these twelve tips for pen pal beginners.” From what to write (“Let your potential pen pal know your hobbies and interests. This opens the flood gates to communication and lets them see if you have similar interests. “) to safety lessons (“If you tell your new friend your real name, address and phone number in your first email, you are not playing it safe.”) Shauna Lee De Feyter covers a lot of ground.