I have been in an online pen pal program for 3 years now. The program offers 5 free books to each of my students. They are linked up with adult pen pals from across the country (they have background checks). The adults and students read the same books and write letters back and forth to each other over the course of the year. Obviously, it enhances their writing skills, but honestly, it does so much more. The kids begin to see that there is a whole country out there, off their reservation. There are a myriad of professions and careers. My pen pals have been the best this year. Yes, they have sent gifts and cards, but more than that, they have sent extra letters of encouragement. The kids feel connected to their adult pen pal and usually can't wait to write them a letter.
Why am I telling you all this? Well, for one, I encourage you to consider signing up your class for next year. The program is free to classrooms. Again, they learn invaluable lessons. If you are not in a classroom, I encourage you to sign up as an adult pen pal. I have a few personal friends who signed up and I think they would attest to the connection they feel.
I am so honored to announce that In2Books has asked me to pilot an online magazine component. My students will receive a digital copy of Appleseeds Magazine.
"APPLESEEDS magazine is an award-winning kid's magazine of adventure and exploration for curious children ages 7 to 10. Nine times a year, APPLESEEDS magazine provides kids with themed issues that explore a different single topic with insightful articles, cool photographs, and a unique you-are-there perspective on culture and history. APPLESEEDS magazine deals with everything from daily life in ancient Egypt to Beijing the Forbidden City. Kids will read about Jane Goodall, what it was like growing up on the Oregon Trail, even about trekking in the River basin. A mountain climber? What was it like to be a kid during the Industrial Revolution? How does democracy work? Give your children APPLESEEDS magazine and they’ll find out.
In addition to fascinating stories and interviews, kids get activities, maps, puzzles, recipes, and games that are related to the theme. Each 36-page issue helps kids do further research on a topic by giving them recommended books to read and Web sites to visit. A perfect gift for all kids looking for an adventure magazine that explores all the great things about our world! Appleseeds, along with all of our kid's magazines, is advertising free."
I am so honored and excited. I still have a few pen pal spots open for next year if you are interested in being linked up with my class. Just drop me an email or leave a comment. Onward and upward!