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Learning through Letters

Mr. Stoll and Mr. Hendricks give their students real world connections through letters

Hailey+Peterson+with+her+letter+from+President+Trump.+
Hailey Peterson with her letter from President Trump.

Hailey Peterson with her letter from President Trump.

Lauren Polydys

Lauren Polydys

Hailey Peterson with her letter from President Trump.

Lauren Polydys, Reporter

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Today when people want to contact someone they send them an email or a text. Writing handwritten letters has almost gone extinct, but Mr. Stoll and Mr. Hendricks try to incorporate the skill in their classes.

Stoll assigns his students to pick a city they are interested in and have them find six cool places in the city. He then has them pick one to write a letter to. They have to ask questions and talk about themselves in German.

“They get that actual connection to the country versus just learning verbs and adverbs. They actually get to interact with authentic Germans,” Stoll said.

The assignment also teaches his students how to write letters, which he thinks everyone should know how to do. He has been doing this project for three years and students have received balloons, pencils, pictures and posters from people as well as their written responses.

Lauren Polydys
The President took a month to respond to Hailey’s letter.

One student in Stoll’s contemporary issues class, junior Hailey Peterson, wrote a letter to Donald Trump about the hurricanes that hit the U.S. in the fall. In the letter she asked about his thoughts on the tragedies that were happening and what he was going to do to help those affected. She ended up getting a response back from him.

“He talked about how he wants to make America great and he wants more young people to stand out in their community and help out,” Peterson said.

With her response letter, she also got a signed picture of Trump and his vice president Mike Pence. She says if she were to write another letter she would either write to Pence or another letter to Trump. Her favorite thing about this assignment was seeing the responses other people got from elected officials and she hopes they continuing doing it in the future.

But Mr. Stoll isn’t the only teacher incorporating letters.

Mr. Hendricks has his students choose a Spanish speaking city. They then make a tourist brochure and write a letter. He hopes his students get to experience real-world connections with people in Spanish speaking countries that ties into what they are learning in the classroom. This is his first year doing it. He got the idea from Stoll and his German class.

“I heard about how exciting it was for the kids,” Hendricks said. “I can picture myself being a high school kid getting something back from a foreign country in response to something I did. I think it would be pretty sweet.”

Stoll and Hendricks both plan on continuing this assignment for the years to come. They love the joy their students get when they receive a response back.

Lauren Polydys
A signed picture of President Trump and Vice President Pence.

“The more I do it the more I will refine it,” Hendricks said.

Letters reach people on a more personal level. It shows you took the time and effort to handwrite and send it to them. Stoll and Hendricks are trying to bring that connection into their classrooms one year at a time.

2 Comments

2 Responses to “Learning through Letters”

  1. Carol Wilje on December 1st, 2017 8:54 pm

    Very well written, so much depth in your description.

    [Reply]

  2. Stacy on December 15th, 2017 9:26 am

    Great article!

    [Reply]

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




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Learning through Letters