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Go: JHS GrammarJ-E Penpal Exchange


SUBMITTED BY: D. Justin R. Moriarty II 





DATE ADDED: Dec 24, 2010 


    Small Classes (1-15 Students)ÒLarge Classes (16-39 Students)Ó


45-50 min.

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BRIEF OUTLINE: Japanese HS students exchange emails with students in other countries who are studying Japanese.



  • Dictionaries
  • Picture of self (optional)
  • Stickers and/or small gifts (optional)



  1. INTRODUCTION: If you were one of the lucky few like me that went to a high school that offered Japanese courses and continue to have an on-going relationship with the teacher, then the other participants in addition to your own students are set in motion if you can arrange this. This pen-pal program I started while teaching senior high school was the perfect opportunity for my students to of course practice their English and share their community with high school students in my home state studying Japanese. Of course in turn, the American students would write their replies in Japanese. If you can find communities in other countries that have Japanese courses for high school and/or junior high students, try an establish contact with them and see if they would be interested.
  2. PREPARATION: Make a worksheet (not included) that explains and demonstrates the format of writing a letter. Also, indicate that the students are writing to students in America studying Japanese, and that they will receive their replies in Japanese. The thought of my students getting letters from American students studying Japanese really excited and motivated them to do their best. Along with the explanation worksheet, write your own sample letter to your students to accompany it so they have a more direct understanding of what to write. Show them that they can introduce themselves and sharing what their personal interests are. Also, tell them they should write about their home country and community, and what it is famous for. Last few things students might be able to share with a sample letter to the students what high school and life is like in your home country. Along with the sample letter, encourage them to draw some cute pictures, or include some print club stickers, or even a small gift.
    1. Give students the two handouts (not included) that you prepared that explain the formatting and the sample letter to the students to accompany it. Announce to the students that they are going to write make new friends with foreigners their age that are studying Japanese. Address any questions and concerns they may have.
    2. Tell students to take out a piece of paper and have them write their letters until the end of the period. The instructor should walk around and help the students with their letters.
    3. Collect letters at the end of the period and mail them. Wait for replies. After receiving replies keep the process on-going.



  • With technology today, we all understand that we should use e-mail instead. However, due to privacy and other safety concerns, I was not able to achieve the program in this manner so my students did this project the old fashioned way. I say with actual writing, letters can be more expressive, and when the replies come in, the Japanese students can experience how foreigners their age are able to write in their language. Hopefully if a time comes when an instructor who starts a program at their school and has to depart, the friendship between the students can continue on.



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