Information on Travel Buddies can be found at::
Oz Travel Buddies Home Page
Australian Travel Buddy Resource
In the fall of 1996, Mrs T's 4th grade began a collection of Travel Buddies. We applied for any offering that seemed reasonable. Our first acceptance was for "Al E. Gator" from Maitland Fl. We were still waiting for his arrival nine months later. Throughout the wait, we have watched and worried about him, charted his progress on a world map, read and sent much e-mail, tracked him through the floods of the West Coast and worried about the US Postal service, and his slow progress.
While we waited for Al, we have hosted COCO 2, a delightful bear; Flat Stanley - who led us through the book and much journaling; Kimberly, a Koala from Tolga, Queensland, Australia; Anthony, a lion from Secunda, South Africa and a wonderful project that centered around a wooden canoe instead of a stuffed animal.
A Travel Buddy is a stuffed animal that acts as your class representative to the world. Your students should give him a name, assemble some items to travel with him - a journal, a photo album or a disposable camera, postcards of your town, possibly a local newspaper; everyone should join in readying your Buddy for the trip.
Locate a partner school (0r schools) - more about that later - and compose a letter to go with him to explain what your expectations for the trip are. You may just want journal entries of typical days at the host school. On the other hand, you might want him to visit points of interest or certain geographic features. You decide, and plan on keeping touch with the host school by e-mail while your Buddy is away.
You can send a request through the oz-teachers link(above), Kidsphere or an educator's newsgroup.
Our class found it a natural process to go from hosting to sending a Travel Buddy. After we had received four or five, we knew what we should include, how many stops we wanted him to make, what Buddy we wanted to send (See Hinton's Homepage), and were able to efficiently plan our project.
You may find that hosting is a great way to get your feet wet. If you are a host, remember :
Enjoy the experience; expand the borders of your classroom!
Have fun! (Let us know about your adventures!)