Pen Pal Program FAQ

The Discover Dairy Student Pen Pal Program is a free initiative to connect urban and regional classrooms.

The Discover Dairy Student Pen Pal Program – FAQ 

What is the Discover Dairy Student Pen Pal Program?

The Discover Dairy Student Pen Pal Program is a free initiative designed to connect urban and regional classrooms and encourage students to get the most from the learnings of the curriculum-linked Discover Dairy resources.

Participating teachers will be assigned a sister class in another part of the country and encourage their students to write regular letters to their individual pen pals, sharing details about life at their hometown, school, and what they’re learning about in class.

Do we write as a class or is each student assigned an individual pen pal?

It’s up to you, but we recommend working with your sister class teacher to assign individual pen pals for every student as this will encourage students to develop their own personal writing style, build relationships, identify commonality and see things from a perspective different to their own.

Do we have to participate in the Student Pen Pal Program to access the Discover Dairy resources?

No. You can still access the full suite of Discover Dairy free, curriculum-linked resources, regardless of your class’ involvement in the Program, which is completely optional. It is designed to strengthen the learnings and student engagement in the program, but is not mandatory.

How frequently are we expected to write to our sister class?

Again, this is up to you. The conversation topics schedule you will receive at the start of each term steps out a recommended letter-writing timetable of around five letter exchanges per term. If this is too much for your students to take on, or if you’d like to write to your sister class more frequently, that is completely up to you. We recommend advising your sister school teacher if you expect a delay in sending out letters or if you’d like to increase the volume, so he or she can prepare accordingly.

What if our sister classroom doesn’t reply to us?

We encourage all participating teachers to keep in regular contact with their sister class teacher to ensure everyone’s kept in the loop.. The conversation topics provided at the start of each term will also include tips for keeping in touch with your sister class. In the event you can’t reach your sister class teacher or a round of letters has gone unanswered, please let us know and we’ll make contact with the teacher on your behalf.

How will we know what to write about?

We will send you a conversation topics schedule at the start of each school term. These topics will align with the Discover Dairy learning modules of Unbeatable Bones, Fuel for Life and Farm to Plate. The schedule will step out a wide list of themes for discussion, linked to the corresponding Discover Dairy resource so you know exactly where to find it and can incorporate it into your lesson planning. Your class isn’t expected to cover all of the themes in the schedule, but you’re certainly welcome to give it a go!

What if my class hasn’t covered a particular Discover Dairy subject area listed in the topics schedule?

The topics schedules will include a wide array of themes, all linked to one or more Discover Dairy resource. If your class hasn’t covered any of the themes listed, thetopic schedule is a great place to start.

Is the topics schedule tailored by year level?

The content schedule serves as inspiration for all primary school year levels to adapt and adjust according to your students’ needs and abilities, just like the Discover Dairy resources. 

Do we have to stick to the conversation topics provided? 

As your students’ relationships with their pen pals grow, their correspondence will inevitably become more personal. We certainly welcome and encourage this. The conversation topics are a guide to ensure a tangible link between the Discover Dairy learnings and the Pen Pal Program activity and give structure to your students’ correspondence.     

What happens at the end of the year when the students move on to a new year level and classroom?

The beauty of the Student Pen Pal Program is that it has a life beyond your classroom and year level. We encourage all students to keep their pen pal relationships and correspondence going at their own discretion. You are welcome to encourage the teacher taking over your students to participate in the program next year too, if he or she isn’t already.

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