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December 1995 - Issue No. #21 (p. 15)
The Partnership Stories Project is an international network of teachers interested in building life-long bridges among cultures through international collaborative story writing. The process, briefly, is that students in one country write half of a story which is then completed by students of another country. The project began in 1988 when an American elementary school class in Vermont sent off a story which was completed by Russian school children in Simferopol. Since then, partnership stories have been co-written by classes in countries as varied as Kenya, Korea, Mexico, Iceland, China, Sweden and Sri Lanka.
Each project story starts with a class of students in one country who write the first part of the story, choosing a problem or conflict which will later be resolved by their partner class in another country. In addition to writing half of a story, participants often draw pictures to accompany the story and sometimes choose to send photos of themselves, cassette tapes with their voices and brief auto-biographies. The project can be adapted to any age or grade.
The partnership stories which students produce are delightful to read and a joy to share. More importantly, however, they are vehicles through which children and young people can learn of other lands, other peoples, other values and other interests. The project aims to achieve 5 key educational objectives: to enhance cultural and geographical awareness, to explore important social, economic, environmental questions, to engage young people's imagination, cooperation and problem-solving, to empower individuals through tapping their talents, skills and leadership abilities, and to encourage international friendships that lead to global good.
An International Directory of Story Partners has already been compiled which explains the project in detail, gives guidelines for writing stories and lists the names and addresses of over 100 teachers and groups in 30 countries who are involved in the project.
If you'd like to learn more about the project, get a copy of the directory, read some of the stories children round the world have written or join the project with your class, contact the project coordinator Jean Eisele at the address below in Washington, USA.
Anyone ready to jump right in to the project should contact Liz Sipprell, an American teacher who has some stories already written by her elementary & junior high school students which she is ready to send to Japan by email (or regular mail) for a class to complete.
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