e-Buddies in Action!
Each month, we are happy to take the time to highlight a school or agency that is involved in e-Buddies. Our hope is that this will be an opportunity to share some of the challenges and triumphs encountered through group participation in e-Buddies!
This month, we spoke with Rob McMahon from West Chester East High School in Pennsylvania.
How long has your group been involved in e-Buddies?
Our classroom has included the e-Buddies program for the past five years. The program was introduced to our group a year after our Best Buddies chapter was established. Several of the students have continued with their e-Buddy matches over a few years.
How many members are currently matched with e-Buddies?
We currently have nine matches.
What are some key challenges you have faced and overcome?
The key challenges our group works through include: reading/ comprehending what their e-Buddies have written them, writing, proofreading and typing their e-mail responses, and with what to do if an e-Buddy has not written. In regards to the reading and comprehending, the students have to paraphrase the e-mail details with assistance as needed. If there were any questions, we underline them, so we make sure a response is given. When a special topic is brought up in an e-mail such as a college/ university, an amusement park, or a movie, the students will look up the item on the internet to gain understanding. When the group responds to the e-mails, they first complete a written first draft. With the draft, the students will proofread and make changes with assistance/ guidance as needed. One of the biggest challenges involves when a student has not received an e-mail from an e-Buddy. During our last e-Buddy activity, one of the students did not receive an e-mail while most of his peers did. When asked how he felt, he replied that he was 'a little frustrated.' This student did send his e-Buddy another e-mail describing how his week was going. When I have contacted the e-Buddies staff in regards to a potential problem, the response has always been quick and effective.
How do you make e-Buddies work with your group?
Our group participates in the e-Buddies program on Wednesdays, which gives the students a week of activities or thoughts that can be included in the e-mails. If a student is absent or we have community-based trip scheduled, we will participate on the next available day. We are fortunate to have several computers in our classroom, but some of the students prefer to write their e-Buddies from the computer lab.
What have your group members gained by participating in e-Buddies?
The benefits of participating in the e-Buddies program are numerous. The students are developing their communication skills, their computer skills, developing friendships, and learning about other areas of our country. When I asked my students what they thought about the e-Buddies program the responses included 'fun,' 'makes me feel good inside,' 'I like sharing, and 'it's cool' to name a few.
Do you work with a group of e-Buddies participants? We'd love to feature your group here! Please contact us at email@example.com.
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