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Mail Time! An Integrated Postcard and Geography Study
|Grades||K – 2|
|Lesson Plan Type||Standard Lesson|
|Estimated Time||Six 30-minute sessions|
Grand Island, Nebraska
Receiving mail is exciting, especially when it is delivered to school! In this activity, students write to friends and family asking them to send postcards. This activity provides motivation for writing and reading and provides a wonderful opportunity to learn about maps as students discover where their family members and friends live. Students first read and discuss a book with correspondence as the focus. Judith Caseley's Dear Annie is used in the lesson and a list of other books is included. Next, students arrange to have penpals by writing to family members and friends, asking them to send back postcards of the places where they live. Once letters are mailed, students share the postcards they receive with the class as they arrive. Graphs can be constructed to record how many towns, states and countries the postcards come from. In addition, students can research the places where the postcards came from.
Letter Generator: This online tool allows students to read about the parts of a letter. They can then write and print their own friendly or business letter.
Postcard Creator: Students use this online tool to learn about the parts of a postcard and then create and print their own.
Picture Books That Feature Letters: This booklist offers titles of children's books that focus on letters and letter-writing.
When Elizabeth Quintero speaks of her research, she states: "Family stories and identity issues were an integral part of young children's literacy as they began to understand and take part in their world."(22) When she discusses her beliefs about how to best educate young children, she says: "I believe that educators must create venues for personal and cultural connections by bringing children's experiences, identity issues, family stories, and cultural artifacts into the classroom."(24)
How can we do this? This lesson suggests that sharing correspondence between young children and their extended families is one way. Through the exchange of letters and postcards, students get excited about reading and writing, as well as geography and math. What better way to learn about our world than to connect with our own families and the places where they live?
Quintero, Elizabeth. "Personalizing Literacy: Listening to Voices of Experience." Talking Points 15.2 (May 2004): 21-25.