This is the second year that our 7th and 8th grade Spanish students have exchanged pen pal letters with Middle School students at Fundación Colegio Americano de Quito in Quito, Ecuador. Last year, Middle School Spanish teacher Alison Trujillo was introduced to Alexandra Colina, a Humanities teacher at FCAQ, by Mark Picketts, our Director of Educational Technology. Hamlin Spanish teachers and Alexandra are helping their students connect in an authentic and meaningful way.
Alison explains that personal connections with peers are of utmost importance to a Middle School student, especially when learning about one’s place in a global society. “Our pen pal exchange gives students an opportunity to connect and learn about one another’s lives: What is your partner’s daily life like? What music do they listen to? How did they spend their vacation? How do they describe their family and friends? This is the foundation upon which we, as global citizens, begin to develop empathy, understanding, and a genuine interest in the lives and well-being of other people around the world.”
This school year, students will exchange about 5 rounds of letters. All of the writing is in Spanish. This gives the students at FCAQ an opportunity to practice writing skills in their primary language, and Hamlin students the chance to write in Spanish for an audience. Hamlin girls say that they love hearing about popular music and movies in Quito. They visit YouTube immediately after hearing about a new singer or band to see what’s popular in Ecuador!
When asked about her students in Quito, Alexandra Colina says, “We are reading a book that takes place in San Francisco’s Chinatown, so our kids were thrilled to get the chance to talk with someone their own age from a place they have recently learned about. I find myself constantly answering the same question, ‘No guys, they haven’t responded just yet. Be patient!’ They eagerly await to hear back from their Californian friends!”
For more information about Fundacion Colegio Americano please visit:
To read Alison Trujillo’s engaging blog “Life Translated,” please visit: