Thursday, January 14, 2016

Pen Pal Blog Update and Moeno's Gift

The students have continued blogging with their pen pal. Students have posted about their Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and Winter break plans. Many of the pen pals have similar equivalents in their countries that are celebrated in a different way.

  One of the pen pals, Moeno (from Japan), recently sent our class a box of Japanese food to try. The kids were delighted! We shared it with both third grade classes, sampling different Japanese goodies. The box was huge and filled with a variety of snacks: flavored gummies, green tea Kit Kats, spicy crackers, and Pocky. She even added little items to show Japanese culture, like a bottle of soy sauce with Japanese characters and a fan. We all had so much fun trying everything. The gummies had to consistency of an eyeball, and were cloyingly sweet. The spicy crackers were deceivingly hot: they grew in heat as I chewed. Oddly enough, the Monday class couldn’t stand them, while the Tuesday class ate an entire package. The pocky was a favorite all around, which isn’t surprising.

Both the Monday class and the Tuesday class have students who are studying Japan for their topic study, and they talked to us while we ate.  The Tuesday student noted the packaging on the box: it is meticulously decorated. In addition, each package of food had the English name of it, in addition to a description. She made a connection between the box of food and the Bento boxes the Japanese serve food in. In both cases, great care was given to appearance. She guessed that the Japanese care about fine details. I was super impressed, and excited. It was what I hoped for when the pen pal project started; students being able to take the read in their books and connect it to real world experience. As a thank you to Moeno, we are going to write thank you notes to send in a box back to her, along with each of the student’s favorite candy.

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