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“Pen Pal Project” Benefits First and Third Graders and Education Majors

During their junior year, College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions (ENHP) students in the Early Childhood, Elementary, and Integrated Elementary/Special Education programs correspond with school-aged children from the University of Hartford Magnet School (UHMS). The education majors are enrolled in literacy methods courses. As part of their coursework, they become pen pals with first and third graders. Throughout the spring semester, the college-age and elementary students write weekly letters to one another. At the end of the semester, the young pen pals come to the University to meet their grown-up counterparts.

As a partner school, UHMS is the setting for many collaborative efforts. The writing project is one example. It is implemented by students enrolled in EDR 345 Reading and Language Arts Instruction. The future teachers are also making visits to UHMS to work with first graders on reading assessment while enrolled in EDR 344 Reading and Literature in the Classroom: Language, Literacy, and Linguistic Diversity. Both UHMS and University of Hartford students benefit from these interactions. First grade teacher Sue Miller describes how her students become better readers and writers through the pen pal project. It helps them build fluency, understand questioning, and develop a better sense of narrative. The education majors benefit by seeing first-hand, how children’s language and writing develops over time. These are aspects of learning development that they are coming to understand conceptually in their literacy classes. The project gives them the opportunity to concretely apply their learning. The mutual benefit of the project also extends to faculty members in the College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions and teachers from UHMS. ENHP faculty members Lisa Zawilinski and Theresa Abodeeb-Gentile and UHMS teachers Sue Miller and Stacey McCorison are proposing future collaborative research that examines the mutual benefits of the pen pal project.

To discuss the class projects described above, contact: 

Theresa Abodeeb-Gentile
abodeebge@hartford.edu

Pen Pals Meet on the University of Hartford Campus - May 2013

Pen Pals

Pen Pals

Pen Pals

Pen Pals

Pen Pals