Earlier this month, PenPals from around the world joined the PenPal Schools Fake News Contest to celebrate April Fools Day by helping prevent the spread of fake news.
Meet the winners from the Fake News Contest, Isaac, Yasmin, Isabella, and Paty from the Dominican Republic and Caydaruus from Somaliland! These students were recognized by their peers and the PenPal Schools team for their outstanding, informative projects!
Over 550 IB educators around the world signed up to learn more about global project-based learning with PenPal Schools!
During the webinar, educators had the chance to participate in a #GlobalPBL Twitter chat to connect and share resources. We discussed student agency, assessment, planning, and tips for teachers that are new to project-based learning.
Students often grow up hearing fables, folktales, and myths within their homes and communities, and now students can connect and share those local stories with their peers around the world!
This week, we’re excited to celebrate PenPal Star Elena B. from Russia! Elena recently participated in Fables, Folktales, and Mythology with PenPals from around the world.
Elena attends Secondary School #18 in Russia, and her school emphasizes global connections. Not only is her teacher a PenPal Schools Global Ambassador, but her principal, Nadezhda Yagodkina, is committed to developing international awareness.
"Helping our students be engaged in global dialogue and being engaged in it ourselves we spread international understanding and global friendship that are so valuable nowadays. We are sure now our students will never throw a stone onto each other."
In Fables, Folktales, and Mythology, Elena created some tales of her own that she shared with her global peers. Check out this fable that Elena wrote, and the meaning that she hopes others learn when they read her fable:
The monkey and the mouse. One evening met the monkey and mouse and they began to speak. "Monkey, have you seen the mousetrap? I can get the cheese off her without hitting her!" - Said the mouse. "You can't! You don't have the skills," - said the monkey. And the mouse ran to the mousetrap. Quickly she could remove the cheese and run out back. She was hoping what monkey praise her, but monkey just laughed. "I'm fast and strong,"- said the monkey. - "I can collect a whole box of apples with this rope." And the monkey went to collect apples, but nothing it did not work.The sad monkey came to the mouse, and mouse says her: - Do not laugh at the achievements of others until you try to do something good. Don't brag about anything until you prove it in practice.
Awesome writing, Elena! She made sure to write a fable that taught a moral lesson. Her fable also included animals as the main characters, and it is very short. These are all characteristics of fables that Elena learned about with her PenPals!
Here is the folktale that Elena wrote and shared with her peers:
Vasilisa in Wonderland. Little and proud Vasilisa lived alone in the forest. She had not friends and the family. Once a stranger came in that forest. He got lost there. Vasilisa found him near her house. She invited him to drink tea and to get warm, because it was very cold outside. They were talking and laughing. Stranger told her many wonderful stories about other countries and cities, he had ever been. Vasilisa was curious and asked many questions about the world outside the forest. Stranger invited her to visit other countries together. She had rejected the offer, because she was very proud. Stranger got upset, but did not insist on his offer. That night they were walking in the woods, and Vasilisa got attacked by huge and furious bear. That bear was the reason of that she had never tried to leave the forest, because of fear. Stranger take Vasilisa on hands and run into the house. He told her to close all doors, and went outside to fight with that animal. He had finally killed bear. Stranger fell down and did not breath. Vasilisa got afraid about his life, she took him inside of the house and cured him for a few months. When he wake up, she ceased to be proud and agreed to go with a stranger to wonderful countries... The lesson of this fairy tale: Guys! To the girl went with you to the wonderful country you need to make a feat for her! I hope you had a little fun with my fairy tale:)
Elena also wrote a myth that she shared with her peers! While she likes fables, folktales, and myths, Elena explained to her peers that she likes myths the best.
“I like to read fables, fairy tales and myths of all countries of the world! But most of all I like to read the myths of Ancient Greece, because my favorite book is Percy Jackson. I like to discuss culture and history of different countries.”
Read the creative myth that Elena wrote:
Mountain Ilek. Once upon a time, lived in the region of our city the owner of the forest - Ilek. Man smart and kind, he was a favorite of the gods. For his honesty, kindness to all living things, they put him to watch their territory. For many years he lived and protect the wealth of nature. He did not kill the animals, not to cut down trees and other. He tried to help animals. If evil was trying to get into his forest, he punished him. But He became old and soon died. The gods could not find another such man in the world and decided to turn Ilek into mountain for the protection of the forest. And now Ilek continues to protect the territory of our city. Ilek or White mountain is located near our city. And I decided to create a myth about how this mountain was create. I hope you liked my myth:)
Elena’s teacher, Lusine Jhangiryan, loves how global connections impact her students. She told us that global connections bring a lot more value than simply practicing English or writing to an authentic audience. "The impact global connections make on my students not only are about having an authentic atmosphere and getting over the language barrier, developing language skills and gaining knowledge. Human values and empathy gained in these global projects destroy stereotypes and barriers that prevented the formation of a real image of global, multicultural communities. My students learn to respect different aspects of other cultures, to build bridges towards them. That is what I aspire to as a teacher, a global educator, a human".
Congratulations and thanks for being such an outstanding writer! It’s no surprise that this 8th grader’s favorite subject is literature, “because it is very interesting and informative and I love reading books.” When she’s not learning with PenPals, Elena likes to draw - she is in art school!
We caught up with Elena to learn more about her experience learning with PenPals.
PENPAL SCHOOLS: What has been your favorite thing about learning with PenPals?
ELENA: I would like to learn a lot about our world and other people. It is very interesting!!! From my PenPals I learned a lot of interesting things. For example, I learned about the history of other countries, their myths and legends.
What was the most important lesson you learned in this project?
I read the works of other students. From these works, I learned a lot of important and useful. But the most important thing I learned is that we can easily communicate through Pen Pal Schools digital technologies and discuss some issues and maybe even find solution for them.
Among my works, I like my fairy tale the most. I think it is interesting. I came to this idea with the help of my friend on the internet. Together we came up with this wonderful fairy tale. It was originally called by me "Elena in Wonderland."
How has your project changed the way you think about the world?
Communicating with guys from other countries helped me to understand that we have the same values, that we value the good, honesty, justice, etc.
In such projects we learn to think globally. We start thinking not only about our country, but about the whole world.
What advice do you have about being a great PenPal?
To be able to listen attentively, to notice important things in communication, to be able to support, etc.
How did you feel when you found out you were going to be featured as a PenPal Star?
I was surprised and excited to learn I am a PenPal Star. I am happy my works are read and liked.
Why do you think it's important to learn with other students from around the world?
I think it's important to learn with other students from around the world because it is exciting and fun. You can learn a lot of new and useful information about life in other countries. Besides we develop our English and communicate with peers.
Congratulations again to Elena! Thank you for being such a great PenPal!
Your students can explore the differences between fables, folktales, and myths and write their own for a global audience, too! Simply sign up for Fables, Folktales, and Mythology to get started!
This month, celebrate Earth Day by inviting your students to join the PenPal Schools Earth Day Impact Challenge!
On March 21st, 600 students from 22 countries celebrated World Poetry Day by joining the PenPal Schools Global Poetry Contest. Students wrote and shared original poetry, then voted for their favorite poems written by their peers!
Celebrate April Fool’s Day by inviting your students to participate in the Fake News Contest!
The United States of America is often referred to as a “nation of immigrants,” however students in the USA aren’t always aware of the impact that immigration has had on their communities.
When this week’s PenPal Star, Victoria from the USA, explored the impact of immigration in Immigration in the 21st Century, she expressed that she had never met an immigrant before.
“I have never met an immigrant before but I believe that immigrants have a positive effect on our society.”
This month, celebrate World Poetry Day by inviting your students to join the PenPal Schools Global Poetry Contest!
The PenPal Schools team is excited to announce the addition of four new documentary films and companion lessons to one of our most popular PenPal Schools topics: The World Through My Eyes.
This month, thousands of students across Europe have been staging protests to demand action on climate change. By walking out of schools, students hope that politicians will start to take climate change seriously and take action to protect the environment.
Young people have a different sort of urgency when it comes to climate change. After all, they will be the generation who truly faces the effects and they know that they can’t afford another year of inaction. That’s why so many students around the world are staging protests and connecting with each other to begin to solve problems within their own communities.
One of those students is PenPal Star Raine from New Jersey, USA. She recently participated in Protecting the Planet and learned a lot about some of the biggest issues threatening our environment.