About 18 months ago, my class and I sent Pompey Pete, a little bear dressed in holiday gear with a camera etc., on a world tour. Being Portsmouth-based and Pompey being the local name for our football team, we decided he had to be called Pompey Pete!
Pete went accompanied by letters from all my Year 4/5 children, a photograph of the class, some maps, postcards and info about our school and Portsmouth etc. in a journal. I did a cover letter explaining the idea behind Pete’s trip and asking for a postcard to be sent from his holiday destination with some info about the weather etc. Further info, postcards, sweet wrappers or anything to do with his holiday destination that was easy to stick in or include with his journal was requested.
Some friends brought back bits so that the children could try them out first-hand. The recipients started off as friends, and a list of worldwide addresses for willing participants was added to the journal so that nobody was stuck for passing on Pete.
His first trip was to Abu Dhabi, and within about ten days, we had a postcard back. We tracked his journey on a world map and blu-tacked the postcards around the map, having taken a photocopy of the text so that both picture and text could be viewed together. Next was a trip to the States and Christmas in New York. A trip to Macy’s and the Christmas Parade etc., followed, details briefly sent on a postcard, from cold NY to hot and blistering Texas next. The journeys continued – Canada, the far east, Spain, France etc. and very conveniently to Amsterdam when we did work on Anne Frank!
The journal has come back full of photos of Pete and his holiday companions etc. He is off again in September to destinations unknown. Have you ever tasted Banana Catsup from Abu Dhabi? My class did – banana ketchup to you and me! Kit-Kats with Arabic writing as well as English. You name it, they’ve picked up lots of geography about real live people, food, weather etc. and got photos too.
Pete’s cousin, Sailor Sam (the naval connection), is currently doing a tour of local schools in Portsmouth. He should have come back to St. Swithun’s last month but is probably lurking in a cupboard somewhere! We were more adventurous this time and made a class video too.