During the 2015-2016 school year, Kate Mantenieks and her third grade students at Emerson Magnet School enjoyed dozens of live interactions with their Global Pen Pals from Hangzhou, China. There is 12-hour time difference between the two locations, so throughout the school year, in order to make this happen, the dedicated Emerson students came to school early and the Chinese children stayed late. This year when school started, Emerson had an extra pupil for the first eight days of classes – one of their global pen pals from China! Sienna attended class, specials, lunch and recess, each day, providing great opportunities for the Emerson kids to learn more about their friend from across the world. Sienna’s mother, Mrs. Mo, is a teacher. She visited all of the classes at Emerson to learn about how we educate our students and teach language arts.
Big plans are in place for the Emerson Global Pen Pal project during the 2016-17 school year. Mantenieks’ third grade classroom will continue to communicate live, online, at least twice a month with their Chinese friends. In addition, once a week, a group of students who began to learn Chinese over the summer will continue their instruction, online. Lastly, Shannon Goebeler’s first grade classroom will begin online interactions with first graders from the same Chinese school. “The use of technology has truly helped make this a smaller world,” observed Emerson Principal Christine Doolittle.