Cyber Correspondents

Student pen pals go high-tech

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The old-fashioned art of correspondence is enjoying a high-tech revival on the Internet. Trevor Creighton's fifth-grade students at Julia Randall Elementary School are learning about Canada and Canadian culture by corresponding with e-pals -- Internet pen pals.


Creighton said he found www.epals.com on an Internet clearing house for teachers.


"It's an exchange classroom for students interested in e-mailing to students around the world," Creighton said Thursday.

Connected to Canada

As he explained the program, computer screens lit up, connecting many of the students in the school's computer lab with their peers in Winnepeg, Manitoba, Canada.


"We're about to send community information," student Katie Jo Gyring said. "It's 30-below zero there and they build snow forts at recess. They say it sounds warm here and they'd like to be swimming."


Katie Jo had just sent e-mail to Air and Water Boy, two students in Winnepeg. All the students in the program, which Creighton's students joined in January, use pseudonyms, Katie Jo said.

Sharing sports interests

Jenna Howe, another JRE student, said her Internet name is "Tiger" and she writes to Monika and Mario.


Jenna has an interest in sports and she shares that interest with her e-pals.


"I like football and baseball and basketball and they do, too," she said. "I also like playing street hockey and so do they."


Jenna said she has a lot of interests and she's looking forward to telling her e-pals about all the things she does.


"There's a lot of stuff I haven't told them," she said. "But I e-mailed them just one real long letter. I'm sure they've had enough of me for awhile."


Katie Jo said her pen pals write about movies and school. She said she's going to write to them about her school's "Young Authors' Day" March 10, a literature event that she looks forward to every year.


Creighton said he picked Canadian students to be his students' e-pals because he's a Canadian native.


"It's cool to write to people in Canada," Katie Jo said, "'cause they're like out of the United States."

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