Learning to communicate the old fashioned way

May 29, 2009 3:35:02 PM PDT
Some Bucks County students have been writing letters to pen pals.

And today they met face-to-face.

"Dear Arpan, Welcome to Kutz. I'm glad you're here," wrote first grader Juliana Girdner to her pen pal Arpan Patel in anticipation of today's meeting. "I could not wait for you to get here."

Juliana and the rest of her first grade classmates at Kutz Elementary School in Doylestown have been writing back and forth all school year to their pen pals at Clara Barton School in Bristol Township. Their letters describe day-to-day activities, their likes and dislikes.

"On Thursday we had a field day," wrote Arpan in one letter. "Our color was black." Arpan is a second grader at Clara Barton.

"We learned about his hobbies, favorite foods and favorite sports," said Kutz first grader Kate Hasegawa.

Along the way, the students have really gotten to know each other. But nothing could beat the face-to-face interaction that happened today. As the kids got acquainted, the teachers spent some time together. Nancy Macneill teaches second grade at Clara Barton. Her daughter Michelle teaches first grade at Kutz.

"I've been doing this for a few years with my daughter," said Nancy. "Even when she was in 2nd grade I did this with her class."

Nancy is retiring at the end of this year. Michelle hopes the pen pal tradition will carry on, maybe with another school.

"It's so rewarding for the kids to write letters to each other all year and then actually meet the person they've been writing to," said Michelle. "You can just see it by the expressions on their faces."

Both mother and daughter hope the pen pals will become friends for life.

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