Ring Elementary School first graders in Lori Mazzurco’s and Kim Ognibene’s classes recently received a special visit from their pen pals – JHS Boys Varsity Basketball players. The students learned how to write friendly letters in class and the teachers used the opportunity to connect the first graders with high school students.
“Whenever you have the opportunity to make an assignment personal and meaningful in their lives, the children learn better and retain more information,” said the teachers.
The students wrote two letters with their activities and interests and learned to ask questions of the high school students who then responded in a letter back. Every time an envelope arrived in the classroom the students lit up with excitement. They could not wait to read the letters and write back.
“I like to play soccer so I told my pen pal,” said first grader Olivia Kubera. “It is fun to write because it helps us learn better in school. I found out that my pen pal really likes to play basketball.”
Meeting their pen pals was the highlight of the project. The classes have been keeping track of the JHS Boys Basketball games and the scores, which has incorporated math into the project. The players and students created pom-poms to use at the last home game. The students were also invited to attend the game with their teachers.
“It’s a great idea for high school students to participate in projects like this as it gives the kids a good role model,” said JHS senior Adam Cecchini who attended Ring Elementary School. “It also shows students that it is a good idea to be involved in extracurricular activities.”