RSVP Pen Pal Program
What is this program?The RSVP Intergenerational Pen Pal Program is a program in which the 5th grade students at West Penn Elementary correspond through old fashioned letter writing and mail with senior citizens. This program not only helps our students improve on their writing, but they learn through the experiences of their more seasoned pals. Through this program, I have found that the students will improve on their writing skills, especially in descriptions, as well as learn how to express themselves to someone who may not have the same experiences. It is also so neat to see how much our students teach the senior citizens through their writing and sharing of things that are "happening" today. Through this program, seniors and children alike gain an understanding of the challenges children face in school and society. It is a program that hits the heart and provides a pathway for learning that cannot always occur in the classroom!
How does the program works?
The students will first be introduced to the program by a representative from the Senior Citizens Corp. Through this introduction, the students share their likes and dislikes and are then paired with a compatible senior citizen. Immediately following the introduction, the students begin writing their first letter. At this point, they do not know if they who they are writing to or if it is a male or female. A list of possible topics is given to the students as a reference along with guidance from the teachers.
Then, we wait. We wait for the letters to be returned to us. It is so exciting getting the letters each and every time they come in. The students will see a stack of envelopes on my desk, and they go crazy. After the initial letter, students are expected to write the letters within a week to be sent to their pen pals. The students do most of this on their own time or during class time when they are finished the classwork. This process repeats until the end of the year.
At the end of the year, we have our annual Meet & Greet luncheon. This is a time when the students get to meet their pen pals and have lunch with them! So many wonderful memories come out of our Meet & Greet and this program for both the children and the seniors.Below are links to information that will help the students write their letters.