My students have been penpaling with a group of students in the U.S. Before the break they wrote their second penpal letters and I got some good laughs from them. It’s important to edit these works just in case you run in to blatant misinformation like the student who wrote in response to the question “Does it snow in Niger?” :
“It does snow in Niger.”
When asked about the source of her information, she claimed to have consulted the only Nigerien in the class. Bonus points for choosing the one most familiar with Niger…only problem is said source has never seen snow and yet claims it as her favorite type of weather. “Hmmm, why don’t we change that to: It never snows in Africa.”
Then there was the student who got excited about listing the animals that live in Niger:
“I can see many animals in Africa like camels, donkeys, sheep goats, chickens, ducks, hippos, birds, fish, sharks, stingrays, lions, elephants and giraffes.”
Uhhh, landlocked mean anything to you? “Let’s just remove the sharks and stingrays from the list okay, honey.”
So now that we have saved our penpals from misinformation, what in the world do we tell them?
You definitely want to mention how many loose teeth you have, you might also want to talk about what kind of meats are available here in Niger and of course, you could always try listing the names of your cousins. But if you have seventeen of them, well, your teacher might steer you in another direction.
Then there are the comments that are just so true of Niger. Such as:
“Do you bring a water bottle to school?” or “I went on a trip to Defa. It took 36 hours. We got to see dinosaur’s bones. But I did not see any animals except the cows.”
Or the comments that show what children think happened:
“Our librarian is gone to work in a restaurant so another Librarian took her place.”
Wonder how LaRae is doing in that restaurant of hers?
Or the just plain funny and yet insightful comments:
“Have you ever gone to Turkey? I did. If you are wondering if there is turkey in Turkey the answer is not so much.”
And there you have it - the world according to the little people.