Connecting with buddies in partner classes before and/or after visits to Discovery Trail Sites is an important component of the KDT! experience. It is a way of building excitement about buddies and enthusiasm for the trip. It is also a way to continue relationship building after the trip. Classes can connect as pen pals, SKYPE or via video chats. Also consider taking a Buddy-Up (additional trip) before or after your KDT! trip!
Classic pen pal exchanges can be a wonderful way to get acquainted, as well as a way to use budding literacy skills. Adding children's photos to each letter allows the children to recognize one another when they meet! An alternative is to write a group letter to your buddy class. Many classes write follow up letters to their partners. Send pronunciations of names when necessary.
Many classes enjoy meeting one another via video chats. These are easy ways to have face to face conversations between buddies and buddy classes while still in your classrooms.
Ideas for Chats
You may set up a whole class chat ,where classes have one big visit, but it may be more effective to set up a few student-to-student chats per day over a week or more. .
Have each student make a “gingerbread person” to introduce to their partner, the person representing that student’s characteristics and interests (idea from Janie Clark) Character Show-Offs!
Plan self introductions on paper divided into quadrants: in school, family and at home, dreams for the future, a positive memory
Connect with experts. If your trip involves a visit from a Discovery Trail Educator, set up a video chat with your buddy class during the visit!