Introduction for Parents

In today’s world, fostering global citizenship in our youth is more important than ever. Penpal Pengyou – “pengyou” is “friend” in Mandarin – encourages American and Chinese students to get to know each other online through projects structured by their teachers, creating personal connections so that students can discover cultural similarities and appreciate differences about each other. Each student communicates with a similarly-aged student in a paired classroom through technology and these American and Chinese youths engage in opportunities to share, learn about, and appreciate each other’s culture, history, and traditions.

Program Description

1990 Institute will pair your student’s class with one in China by identifying teachers who have an interest in participating in Penpal Pengyou. The teachers—one in the U.S. and one in China– will work together to design projects for their students. The pen pal format is very flexible and teachers have the freedom to create collaborative activities specifically for their classes. Students will communicate with each other under their teachers’ supervision at least 4 times per year. Lessons may include letter writing, video recordings, art making, storytelling, local food, or writing biographies. Curriculum connections can be made to language arts, social studies, arts, environment, geography – every subject area!

Learning Outcomes

Students will practice 21st Century Skills of critical thinking, creative thinking, collaboration and communication while working on projects that might include performing, public speaking, collecting and analyzing data, exploring local habitats, creating artwork, or writing a biography. A key component of Common Core standards, as well as preparing students for success in college and their careers, is understanding diverse cultures and perspectives. Penpal Pengyou plays a vital role in widening students’ horizons and introducing them to a different culture.

Samples of activities will be posted from time to time to 1990 Institute’s website 1990institute.org in order to inspire other teachers and create an online community for participating teachers, classes, and schools. (Please be aware that not all work will be selected for posting.