"To me, clothing is a form of self-expression. There are hints about who you are in what you wear."
Clothing also reflects where you come from, who you surround yourself with, and what cultures you celebrate. Students can learn a lot about other countries and communities by exploring international clothing and fashion trends.
We’re excited to celebrate 18 PenPals of the Week who recently completed Clothing and Culture of the World: Mia and Anja from the United States Acozthavylla, Stephanie, and Siti from Malaysia, and Adis, Eimantas, Lukas, Aurimas, Rapolas, Ayda, Armina, Akvile, Marius, Dainora, Greta, Kazimieras, and Vilte from Lithuania.
The Chinese flag raised at a 2016 Rio Olympics medal ceremony had a major design flaw: the four small stars were aligned parallel to each other rather than rotated towards the larger star. Classrooms all around the world are learning more about flags to better understand the countries, values, and movements they represent. As a result, students develop international mindedness, empathy, and respect.
We’re excited to celebrate 12 PenPals of the Week who recently completed Flags of the World: Faith from the United States, Julia, Keira, Soleil, Summer, Alana, and Catherine from Canada, Ahmed and Hezha from Iraq, and Akshara, Auritro, and Amrutha from India.
Many students fear poetry because they expect it to to be stiff or confusing, not meant for mortal eyes. However, teachers can break down those preconceptions by sharing thought provoking poems that cover culturally relevant topics. Poetry can be puzzling at first, but it can also be personal, purposeful, provocative, anything but pointless.
This week, we're excited to celebrate eight American students who recently participated in A World of Poetry as PenPals of the Week: Olivia from Missouri, Kate from Ohio, and Taryn, Rianne, Sarah, Genevieve, Kayla, and Claire from Virginia. They read poems from the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Oceania. They discussed writing styles, cross-cultural themes, and shared original poems with each other.
Plastic clogs waste streams, poisons aquatic organisms, and litters landscapes. On April 22nd, 2018, more than one billion people from around the world will celebrate Earth Day and focus on reducing plastic pollution. Everyday citizens are taking action, and the majority of PenPals also believe that individuals are responsible for protecting the environment.
This week, we celebrate Ekaterina from Russia, Mauro from Italy, Hanisah, Magdalena, and Shamser from Malaysia, and Amani, Molly, and Mariam from the USA as our PenPals of the Week. They participated in Protecting the Planet with students from around the world to learn about environmental issues ranging from oil drilling to poaching. These PenPals took a deep dive on the topic of coral bleaching and surfaced with ideas to spread awareness and inspire action.
This week, meet one of our Global Ambassadors from India, Jalpa Sheth! She teaches English in an international school in India. Learn more about her and why she loves PenPal Schools!
The European Union is the most divided region in the world on the topic of immigration. Scores on the 9 point Migrant Acceptance Index range from a high of 7.92 in Sweden to a low of 1.69 in Hungary. Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump requested $25 billion to fund a US-Mexico border wall, even though a Quinnipiac University study found that the majority of Americans oppose the border wall, as do the majority of PenPals.
Students who empathize with immigrant experiences are better equipped with knowledge and social skills to engage in respectful conversations around policy. This week, we celebrate Nikki and Kye from an IB school in Thailand as PenPals of the Week. They participated in Immigration in the 21st Century to learn about how immigrants impact communities and shared their families’ immigration stories with their peers.
On February 14, 2018, 14 students and 3 teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida were killed in one of the deadliest school shootings in world history. Students from around the world have been watching the news and joining the conversation, organizing walk-outs and marches to demand change in their own communities. Keeping up with the news is not just a passive activity; it influences students’ understanding of current events and can influence national opinion and policy.
This week, we celebrate Ganessa from Florida, Shane, Marina, and Ty from New Jersey, and Victoria, Darnell, Sharon, and Naomi from Illinois as PenPals of the Week. They recently completed World News, where they discussed news stories pertaining to the environment, technology, war, government, and poverty with other PenPals from around the world. They shared statistics and opinions about the Parkland shooting, government responses, and how the tragedy has fostered a wider debate around gun ownership.
This week, meet one of our Global Ambassadors from Taiwan, Susan Tang! She teaches English to grades 2-4. Learn more about Susan and why she loves PenPal Schools!
The ability to identify credible news sources is a prerequisite for engaging in healthy online and offline discussions. The majority of PenPals get their news from the internet, but most of them are unsure if fake news is an issue.
In a recent study, researchers from Stanford were shocked to find that over 80% of high school students struggle to verify photographic evidence and over 80% of middle school students can’t tell the difference between a real news story and sponsored content on social media.
This week, we celebrate ten PenPals of the Week who learned how to identify and combat fake news by participating in Facts, Opinions, and Fake News: Robbie, Elsa, Disa, and Emma from Sweden; Aidan, Brienna, Vanessa, and Ava from the USA; and Akhtam and Darina from Russia.
“Tell me about yourself” is often the first question recruiters ask in job interviews, soon followed by “Tell me about how well you work with others.” Social and emotional learning is a priority in many classrooms since students will eventually work in very collaborative, cross-functional careers. Self-awareness is crucial to understanding oneself and other people. By sharing about their own communities, customs, and daily lives, PenPals are challenged to think about themselves from an outside perspective.
Avery O. from Springfield, Missouri did this when she recently participated in World Explorer. She was matched with four other PenPals and learned about food, art, daily life, history, and pop culture from communities around the world.