Pen Pal Project

To heighten students awareness and interest in a different culture. To learn, practice and use English in a real world situation with the excitement of making new international friends.

This Pen Pal project is designed to teach your students how to adapt their own Jico-Shoukai (Self introduction) into a more intersting and full description of themselves, their lives, and the culture they live in.  Using this more in depth portrait of themselves they will learn how to talk to people from other countries about themselves in a more interestsing way, whilst learning about the fascinating differences between their two cultures.  To compliment this, new devices and expressions in English regarding sending and recieving letters and understanding foreign addresses will be learned.


  • Class 1 – Introduction:

(Show last year’s video of students receiving letters.)

-Explain the concept of Pen Pals

– Ask students to write one line to say on camera

– Take video of all the students in your class BRIEFLY saying “Hello, I’m ~ I like ~” to send to your other school.


  • Class 2 – Show video made in class

– Introduce schools in your country (How are they different // How are they similar?).  Use pictures, music, video. Make it interesting

– Students write a comparison of Japanese schools. (Worksheet A)


  • Class 3 – Make your own example Profile Card.  The students fill out their own Profile Card. (Worksheet B)

– Write a simple self-introduction based on profile card.

– Teachers collect, mark, and return.


  • Class 4 – Detailed self-introduction

 – Brainstorming in groups

– Write draft inculding:

Family, hobbies & free time, interests.  Describe one interesting part of Japanese culture.


  • Class 5 – Continue writing draft (Homework A)

– Teachers collect, mark, return


  • Class 6 – Put letter together (Self introduction, family, hobbies & interests, Japanese culture).

Teacher’s collect, mark, return. (Homework B)

[Tell students to bring any special stationary, purikura, they want to include on their actual letter in the next class.]


  • Class 7 – Explain letter format. Give example. (Worksheet C)

– Write full letter.  Using letter format; self introduction, family, hobbies & interests, Japanese culture. 


  • Class 8 -Teach about addresses in English. (Worksheet D)

– Write their own addresses in English format.

– Address their envelopes.

– Tell students to bring any omiyage they want to include in the box (use a shoebox). Pictures, Japanese sweets, manga, newspaper, keyrings, stationary, toys are all great things to send.


  • Allow students to put omiyage and letters in box. Wrap the box and ask one student to address it.
  • Send it, and wait to reap the rewards of your hard work!

This project lasts for around 10 weeks.  The first few lessons are pretty full on, however from around lesson 5 onwards it is possible to use half the class time for the project and get on with other work for the remainder of the class.

Lesson Topics
High School
a school to exchange letters with, writing materials, presentation on school in a different culture, profile card