Long before e-mails zipped across the oceans in seconds, there were more traditional forms of written communication. One favorite that remains is writing postcards. With thousands of designs conveying the beauties and wonders of places near and far, postcards are excellent mediums for encouraging writing and exploring geography.
National Postcard Week is acknowledged during the first week of May. While the postcard revelry of May 1-7th is most widely participated in by deltiologists, or post card collectors, it also lends itself to integrated classroom learning experiences.
Postcard Classroom Activities
Observing National Postcard Week is a wonderful way to revisit friendly letter writing and communication skills. There is a multitude of activities to entertain and inspire learners.
- Local landmark postcards: Many local sites of note will provide free postcards for educators to use with their students. I always begin by checking with the local visitors center, chamber of commerce, and museums. Once a nice selection of local landmark postcards has been collected, they can be distributed amongst the class. Reviewing friendly letter writing and postcard layout sets the stage for young writers to choose a family member or friend to mail their postcard to. I like to require that each postcard include a line asking for a local landmark postcard from their recipient in return.
- Postcard mapping: As the class receives postcards, they can be charted geographically. They can also be used as a starting point for researching landmarks across the United States.
- Famous figures postcard: Many authors, leaders, and other famous figures accept and respond to letters and postcards received. Two of my class’ favorite recipients in past years have been The White House and Jan Brett.
Post Office Box 366
Norwell, Massachusetts 02061
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20500
School Wide Postcard Celebrations Ideas
Organizing the whole school to participate in an event or week-long themed celebration promotes school spirit while facilitating content connections in meaningful ways. Students, parents, teachers, school administrators, and other school stakeholders can use the event as a means to develop rapport and extend on current learning objectives.
- Postcard design: A school-wide postcard design contest can provide a creative outlet that celebrates the history, motto, and culture of the school. Criteria and guidelines might include incorporating a specific tagline or school logo.
- Postcards of appreciation: Postcards can be a fun medium to facilitate sharing kudos amongst all school members. A bulletin board can be set up with pushpins so new notes of thanks and shout-outs for tasks well done can be placed.
- Postcard Swap: Everyone can bring unused postcards from their adventures local and abroad to trade and share. This can also provide an opportunity to hold discussions and get to know school members better.
No matter the way you choose to share and celebrate National Postcard Week, it’s sure to spark a new perspective on an old, favorite communication method.
More great postcard resources:
Postcards from the Net
Utilizing desktop publishing software, kids create and print postcards depicting landmarks from their hometown. Web resources, rubrics, and work samples are included.
Postcard Black Line Master
Developed by the Commonwealth of Australia this simplistic postcard worksheet includes a prompt directing young writers to decorate and share an original postcard. This template could be easily printed on card stock and then cut out to create mail-ready end products.
Postcards from Pluto
Dreaming up messages from another planet, second graders craft postcards sharing details of their new home with family back on Earth. While designed for 2nd grade, this activity could be easily modified for other ages to connect science, art, and language arts.