March 6, 1996 - San Diego State University: Julie Garrett, a Peace Corps volunteer in Botswana, organizes Pen Pal Program

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Botswana: Peace Corps Botswana : The Peace Corps in Botswana: March 6, 1996 - San Diego State University: Julie Garrett, a Peace Corps volunteer in Botswana, organizes Pen Pal Program

By Admin1 (admin) on Saturday, February 01, 2003 - 7:20 pm: Edit Post

Julie Garrett, a Peace Corps volunteer in Botswana, organizes Pen Pal Program

Julie Garrett, a Peace Corps volunteer in Botswana, organizes Pen Pal Program

Botswana Pen Pal Program

Unit Authors

This unit was developed by Debra Hake and Julie Garrett and delivered to 26 6th graders at O'Farrell Community School this school year.

Content Areas

The unit significantly involved social studies, language arts, and to a lesser extent math and environmental science.

Organizing Theme

Revolving around a pen pal program developed by Ms. Hake in San Diego, Ca. and Julie Garrett, a Peace Corps volunteer in Botswana, Africa, students in San Diego ranging from 11 to 12 years old, wrote to students in Botswana, Africa ranging from 12-15 years old. These letters introduce students to different cultures for social studies, writing and reading skills in language arts, the metric system in math, and environmental science for science.


Originated over the summer, Ms. Garrett contacted a school in Botswana, Africa, while doing her Peace Corps work on a game reserve in Gabarone. Because the school year in Botswana begins in January, the first letters were written by students in San Diego. The return letters were received in February. The writing and reading of letters were done in a half hour projects time with the same group of 26 children. All from the same homebase. The letters are an on-going year long project, dragged out by the international mail system.

Outline of Activities

* Introduction to Botswana through geography and discussion.

* Once class period was spent writing initial letters to students in Botswana.

* The letters were received in Botswana one week later.

* African students wrote back.

* After three weeks of waiting students received return letters.

* At this time, students were given a specific pen pal to write back to. Some of the Botswana students sent pictures and drawings, introducing students in San Diego to the many similarities of the two cultures. Ms. Garrett also wrote a letter of introduction, giving students a more in-depth look at life in Botswana. Students shared letters, converted metric measurements into standard, looked at books and pictures sent by Ms. Garrett on Botswana.

* Students wrote their pen pals back. Communication skills improved, because many of their African friends complained of poor penmanship.

* Students made cards for their friends out of American magazine clippings, construction paper and pens. They included pictures of themselves and families.

* Class is presently waiting for next batch of return letters.

Student Products

Students produced letters to pen pals, pictures, and drawings to share their culture with students in Africa.

Thinking Skills Engaged

Students engaged in several types of thinking during this unit. They were able to use creative production in that they wrote and produced art work comparing their culture with students in Africa. Students also had to implement creative problem solving, figuring out metric to standard measurements. Finally, they used comparisons because they had to compare and contrast their own lives with people in Botswana.

Lessons Learned

This is the best kind of lesson. It is on going, it covers a lot of different disciplines, and students are self motivated. Learning occurs with little or no effort from the teacher. Students asks questions about information you've been trying desperately for them to take interest in all year. The unit would be done again in a heart beat, and with out question.

This description was written by Debra Hake. Last updated on March 6, 1996.

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This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Botswana; World Wise Schools



By babbleszz on Friday, May 09, 2003 - 7:10 am: Edit Post

Could like to make peace corps pen friends in kenya!

By naseeb on Sunday, July 13, 2003 - 12:44 pm: Edit Post

my name is naseeb
i would like to make friends KENYA

By DIVA RAMIREZ ( - on Tuesday, October 07, 2003 - 5:47 pm: Edit Post

my name is Diva. I don't specifically know what this web site is about but it looks really rad so please send me some info. on it.

By Gilbert A. Oguro ( on Wednesday, October 11, 2006 - 10:07 am: Edit Post

Am Gilbert i would like to have very many female friends from Botswana , let me know more from you.

By Anonymous ( on Monday, December 04, 2006 - 3:23 am: Edit Post

am frank from kenya anyone who want to know more about kenya to contact me at

By Anonymous ( on Wednesday, January 31, 2007 - 5:02 am: Edit Post

I perfer to join the peace crops on line and contactthem always with communication with their thinking skill engaged
Thank you.

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