House Creek students develop holiday pen pals
Special to Leader-Press
The old tradition of sending Christmas cards and writing letters with a pen pal have long fallen to the wayside with today’s technology of texting and social media posting. But, House Creek special education students have resurrected the past time this holiday season by exchanging letters with students in other classes.
Special Education teacher Jessica Smith teaches students in the Language Enriched Academic Education Program.
“Our December unit explores holidays, traditions, and geography in different countries around the world through the writing of letters between pen pals,” Smith said. “Students developed an appreciation for diversity in traditions through stories and hands-on activities. They also learned about different places and features of a map.”
Students in the special education LEAP classes of Smith, paraprofessional Maria Langford and paraprofessional Thelma Jesus began exchanging hand-written letters the second week of December with special education students in the LEAP at other CCISD schools. Once the student received a letter, he had two to four days to respond. In the first set of letters, students introduced themselves by sharing their names, their hobbies and the school they attend.
“The most rewarding thing about this lesson was seeing the students recalling their personal information to fill in the blanks in their letters,” Smith said. “The most challenging thing was ensuring their handwriting remained legible throughout the letter as their hands grew tired from the fine motor work.”
With the second set of letters exchanged, students included what they wanted for Christmas, asked what their pen pal wanted for Christmas, and shared their favorite holiday song. In the final set of letters exchanged earlier this week, students became more detailed in their writing sharing where they planned to go on Christmas break, what they wanted to eat and what kind of cookie they planned to leave Santa Claus.
“The curriculum has helped our students progress from needing hand over hand support in order to trace to writing independently, non-vocal to talking, beginning to copy notes from the board, and communicate through choice boards,” Smith said. “They can now write letters to Santa as well as to family members in other states. They could also find pen pals across the world and begin writing to them.”