Foreign students help teach AP human geography

Students+in+the+AP+Human+Geography+class+with+teacher+Homa+Lewis+have+pen+pals+in+Griesheim%2C+Germany.
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Foreign students help teach AP human geography

Students in the AP Human Geography class with teacher Homa Lewis have pen pals in Griesheim, Germany.

Students in the AP Human Geography class with teacher Homa Lewis have pen pals in Griesheim, Germany.

Ian Raybon

Students in the AP Human Geography class with teacher Homa Lewis have pen pals in Griesheim, Germany.

Ian Raybon

Ian Raybon

Students in the AP Human Geography class with teacher Homa Lewis have pen pals in Griesheim, Germany.

Mary Catherine Wells, Staff Reporter

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Somebody can be more than 5000 miles away and instantaneous communication is still possible thanks to technology. This semester, freshmen students in AP Human Geography classes are putting this to practice as they participate in a “Life of an American Teenager” project that is taking place across the ocean in Griesheim, Germany. It started as a result of two foreign exchange teachers having spent some time at the high school last year.

“Last spring Lovejoy had two young German women that came over to do their student teaching,” AP Human Geography teacher Homa Lewis said. “I had asked them to speak to my classes so they knew me. I think it was about November when I got an email from one asking if I thought my students would be interested in being pen pals. I asked two of my classes, because she doesn’t have very many students, and it started that way.”

The exchanges have already opened the eyes of some students.

“My pen pal has really good English skills,” freshman Katarina Mapes said. “His typing is a lot more proper than most people here. So it kind of makes me feel stupid emailing him.”

Although it is nothing more than something extra for the students here, it is a school project to the students in Germany.

“I find this project interesting,” German student Lukas Dammkoehler said. “I get to know other countries and people.”

The majority of the students communicate through email but some decide to find other ways to talk.

As part of a AP Human Geography project, the students were paired with students from Germany. The students email back and forth about their lives in different countries.

Courtesy of German student Lukas Dammkoehles
As part of a AP Human Geography project, the students were paired with students from Germany. The students email back and forth about their lives in different countries.

“I love my pen pal because she is so great, nice, and sweet,” freshman Katie Bardwell said. “This weekend we are Skyping and it should be fun. She does not speak fluent

English because English is her second language but she is having her twin sister Skype with us who is fluent in English.”

For Lewis, the chance to have her students work with their peers in Germany made perfect sense.

“This is a project for her students but I thought my students would be willing to help out,” Lewis said. “I think they are studying American culture, like a cultural comparison. It is kind of like one of the projects that we did. Since [my students] just finished the project I thought they would be good people for them to talk to.”

The students in AP Human Geography aren’t receiving a grade for the German pen pal exchanges, but Lewis thinks it’s a valuable learning experience.

“I think there is always an advantage that you are going to learn something when you deal with people from another country because they do things differently, “ Lewis said. “It is just an exposure to a different way of education, thinking, or technology. I did more or less to help out her students and that was my main goal.”

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