Welcome to The USPS Pen Pal Project FAQs! Sponsored by the U.S. Postal Service, The USPS Pen Pal Project will connect 25,000 classrooms across the United States for the 2021-2022 school year. Teachers enrolled in the program will receive a gift package of student stationery and the A Friendly Guide to Writing a Friendly Letter! poster (plus activities!) to get started. Third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade classrooms in public, private, and charter schools within the United States are invited to sign up.

What is The USPS Pen Pal Project?

The USPS Pen Pal Project matches third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade classrooms across the United States to act as pen pals for the entirety of the 2021-2022 school year. Teachers will be provided with a package including a poster to teach writing a friendly letter, 26 student cards and envelopes for their first letter, and four large teacher envelopes for teachers to use to send student letters to their partner teacher.

What will I receive in my classroom kit?

Your teacher kit comes complete with 26 student envelopes and cards, four large teacher envelopes, one teaching poster, and one sheet of stickers.

Will there be a digital version of the kit?

Yes! The A Friendly Guide to Writing A Friendly Letter digital kit will be available soon. Come back to WeAreTeachers for more information in the coming weeks.

How will The USPS Pen Pal Project work?

Each classroom will be matched with another Pen Pal classroom in the U.S. Letters will be sent four times throughout the school year using the materials provided.

When will we receive our partner class match?

In late December or early January, you will receive the name and school contact information of the teacher with whom you have been matched.

The USPS Pen Pal Project Timeline

January 

  • Your Pen Pal kit arrives
  • Teach the Friendly Letter lesson and share the video
  • Invite your students to write their first pen pal letters

February

  • Students write second letters
  • February writing prompts:
    • Winter hobbies
    • My favorite books and movies
    • The best part about where I live

March 

  • Do a video call with your partner class

April

  • Invite your students to write their third letters
  • April writing prompts:
    • My favorite thing about spring
    • Summer plans
    • My family

May/June 

  • Have your students write their final letters thanking their pen pals for a great year of fun and friendship

When will The USPS Pen Pal Project kit arrive?

Your Pen Pal kit with teaching poster and stationery will be shipped to your school in January.

When should we send our first letters?

First pen pal letters are scheduled to be mailed in January.

What are some great ways to build friendships with our partner class?

Throughout the year, we’ll be updating this site and sending out the Pen Pal Partner newsletter packed with letter-writing prompts and ideas for creating connections between your class and your partner class. A great way to start is with a video call between your classes!

Who is eligible to join?

Teachers of third-, fourth-, or fifth-grade classrooms in public, private, or charter schools within the United States are invited to join the program.

How can I sign up?

Sign up here!

Where will our pen pal matches be located?

All classrooms are located within the United States. We will do our best to match classrooms from different regions to facilitate cross-country connections.

What grade will my class be matched with?

We’ll do our best to match you with your same grade level, but depending on sign-ups, you may be paired with a grade level above or below. We will not, however, match a third grade class with a fifth grade class.

How do I match up my students with their pen pals in the partner class?

We will connect classrooms, but partner teachers will need to connect with one another if they want to match up individual students within their classrooms. If there are uneven numbers, a student can volunteer to have two pen pals.

What if I teach a grade other than third, fourth, or fifth?

At this time, only grades 3-5 are eligible to participate. We will keep you in mind for the next program!

Are stamps included?

While we are able to provide the poster, envelopes, lessons, and activities, stamps are not included. You can view current postage rates here.

How often should my class write to their pen pals?

Each student will send a letter to their pen pal four times throughout the year. You’re welcome to do more as long as you provide your own mailing envelopes!

What are the benefits of having students write to pen pals?

This program will help students practice writing and learn how to compose a friendly letter. They will also have the opportunity to learn from other students located in different areas of the United States, building empathy as they make connections across the country.

How can I protect the privacy of my students?

Please use the school mailing address on the letters as shown on the poster example. We also recommend only using students’ first names and including a number after their name in the case of students sharing the same name.

What if I have more students than resources provided in the package?

Card, letter, and envelope templates will be available for download on our website to accommodate the entire class.

What if I need to change my address or grade level?

Email us at penpalproject@weareteachers.com to make any changes. If your grade level changes and is ineligible for the program, please see if another teacher will take your spot!

What if I need to drop out of The USPS Pen Pal Project?

We’re sorry to see you go. Please try to find another teacher and class to take your spot and email us at penpalproject@weareteachers.com.

What if my classroom is located outside of the United States?

We’re sorry, but only U.S.-based classrooms are eligible to participate at this time.

Can homeschooled students participate?

Unfortunately, this program is set up for classrooms of students, and we cannot accommodate homeschoolers. However, the A Friendly Guide to Writing A Friendly Letter digital kit will be available soon. Come back to WeAreTeachers for more information in the coming weeks.

Are private-school classrooms eligible to join?

Yes! Classrooms in private, public, and charter schools are invited to sign up.

Have another question not answered here? Email us at penpalproject@weareteachers.com.

Read the full guidelines for The USPS Pen Pal Project.