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Published: Wednesday, 3/14/2012

Perrysburg class widens its world

2nd graders write letters to counterparts around U.S.

BY GABRIELLE RUSSON
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Teacher Jennifer Powers pins a letter to the bulletin board as Aubrey Arndt, 8, and Kenneth Miles, 7, look on. Ms. Powers' Woodland Elementary School second graders have received replies from counterparts around the country. Teacher Jennifer Powers pins a letter to the bulletin board as Aubrey Arndt, 8, and Kenneth Miles, 7, look on. Ms. Powers' Woodland Elementary School second graders have received replies from counterparts around the country.
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In Jennifer Powers' classroom, the anticipation comes at the end of the day when the mail carrier arrives at Woodland Elementary School.

As part of a class project, the 23 Perrysburg second graders wrote letters to 50 other second-grade classes across the country.

"I feel really excited," said one of the children, Kenneth Miles, 7, of Perrysburg. "I got my first letter."

The Perrysburg students asked their second-grade counterparts what the weather was like in their home states, what the state capital is, and how many children are in the class.

Slowly, over the past month, the replies trickled in from as far away as Nevada, New Mexico, Florida, and Hawaii.

Some students who wrote back enclosed their school pictures and offered details of their lives -- such the as children from Washington state who told about dealing with snow or seeing moose.

"You get to hear from somebody else in a different state," said Olivia Achenbach, 8, of Perrysburg.

For the Perrysburg class, the letters are part of a larger lesson on how communication has changed over the decades, from smoke signals to beating drums to Skype. The students will use Skype to talk screen-to-screen with a class at Old Pointe Elementary School in Rock Hill, S.C., south of Charlotte, with whom they have interacted.

Lindsay Christmas, a teacher at Old Pointe, said she was confused at first when she received a letter from a student in Ohio.

"Do I know this person?" she said, recalling her reaction.

But her students, who are learning about the different regions in the United States, are thrilled to write back to the Ohio students.

They want to find out how the Ohioans, who don't live by the ocean, as the South Carolina students do, spend their vacations.

"They were super pumped, excited, thinking what could they put in the letter to show them more about South Carolina," Miss Christmas said.


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