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Teacher: Allen Russell who teaches at Columbine Elementary School in Grand Junction, CO. Allen Russell can be contacted at acruss@mesa.k12.co.us.

Name of Best Practice: Travel Buddies

Rationale/Purpose of Event: To give our students the opportunity to interact with students all over the country and abroad using technology and integrating reading writing and geography into the program. Also, to share with each other program ideas and create a professional camaraderie amongst participants.

Suggested Grade Level: 3-5

Materials Needed: Travel buddie and memorabilia that is geographically specific.

Travel Buddies

Each travel buddy, which is some sort of animal or stuffed character, is started at a location (I started all of them from my school for the 98-99 school year) and follows a predetermined itinerary from school to school. At each school the students correspond with previous schools and future schools via postal mail and the Internet. The travel route is mapped at each school and students share their physical education activities and knowledge with each other. A journal accompanies the buddies and the students make journal entries as if they were written by the buddy. Also, the travel buddy gathers memorabilia at each site which it takes with it as it travels from school to school. The post cards and photos provide visual reinforcement of the many wonderful adventures the buddies take.This provides and ongoing account of the travels.

The travel buddy stays at a school for about 2 weeks, then it is mailed to the next school which is predetermined in advance. Some of the things that the buddy did were attend professional baseball games, class field trips, Jump Rope for Heart events, and they participated with the kids in lots of physical education classes. Photos of the buddy partaking in these activities added to photo albums (part of the memorabilia) which grew at each school. Looking at the wonderful and rich photo albums and journals reinforced the many great things the participating teachers do on a daily basis.

To gather more data and to promote discussion, A Listserv for this group was set up and we were able to keep up with the buddies daily adventures. The digest is a great chronicle and it allowed us to share a lot of information.

To learn more about this project visit the following Web site at:

Here you can see the travel routes, pictures of the buddies, and view the list of teachers who participated last year.

If you are interested in this years Travel Buddies adventure please e-mail Allen at his address listed above.

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Posted on PEC: 10/9/2001 and has received 79 votes.

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