Links for Teachers
KDT! Overview   Planning Meeting Connecting Buddies Connecting with Families
Two Weeks Before A Few Days Before Ideas for Your Site Follow Up
KDT Books Additional Trips Liaisons Comments and Questions

Table of Contents

Connecting with buddies in partner classes before and 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, epals (electronic pen pals), SKYPE or via video chats. Also consider taking a buddy-up (additional trip) before or after your KDT! trip!

Pen Pals

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

My Life- My E-Mail mylifemyemail.jpg (activity from Marilyn Mayer and Janie Clark) based on an American Express Ad.
A fun ice breaker via email or snail mail!

Post Card Pal and Planning GuideThis two part activity includes planning for and then producing a post card that tells about oneself! Try it, this one is fun and can be adapted for all ages.

Video Chats

Many classes enjoy meeting on another via video chats. These are easy ways to have face to face conversations between buddies and buddy classes while still in your classrooms. For directions and beginning project ideas, see

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. That way you and the students will develop more comfort and have a more normalized view of the technology.
Some ideas:
• 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-Off_Model_#1.jpg
• Pre-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!
Monster writing activity
• Your thoughts?


Visits via video are fun and easy using Skype. Contact your technology support person if you need help with downloading the application.


Email as a method of exchanging pen pal letters holds some advantages, including speed of delivery, and exposure to computers and a chance to learn and practice information age skills. ePal accounts with teacher monitoring capability are available for free. We received feedback from a pair of teachers who suggested ePals was not a simple way to connect buddies. if you try ePals, please let us know how it goes.