Last summer, I saw this post on Facebook about a Postcard Exchange. I had never done one before, but was instantly intrigued by the idea of my kiddos getting a postcard from each state around the US. I quickly signed us up for Oregon and then started to worry about what I had gotten myself into! Am I the only one around here who acts first and thinks second?!
I was grateful that my school was willing to cover the cost of the postcards and postage, because I definitely didn’t think about the cost of those before hand. I found a great deal on sets of 20 postcards from Amazon and had my class brainstorm what they would wand to tell others about our school and our state.
This is what they came up with:
“We are a second and third grade class from Turner, Oregon. Turner is a small town. There are a lot of farms here, and each day we can see deer, birds, cows, chickens, pigs, horses, goats, frogs, sheep, dogs, and cats. We even have buffalo, llamas, camel, and a zebra in our town! We have 31 students in our class. Our school motto is “Preparing, Caring, and Daring”. This means that we are respectful, responsible, and safe. We always try to do the right thing, and we don’t have bullies at our school. Our two favorite Oregon college sports teams are the Oregon Ducks and the Oregon State Beavers. We don’t argue about much, but we do argue about which team is better! We love living in Oregon because it is beautiful here. We have mountains that get snow in the winter, we have the coast, where we can play in the waves in the summer, and we have lots and lots of grass and flower that grow all around us. We believe that we have the best school in the world! We can’t wait to hear about your state and your school! Love, Mrs. Bates 2nd & 3rd grade class”
I was pretty proud of what all they thought to include. Our favorite postcards that we have received included more than just a few facts about the state, so I hope that other classes enjoy it too!
At first, I was just reading the postcards as they came, but felt like we could really amp up our learning and use these to create some authentic and awesome experiences. Once the idea came to mind, it was a pretty fast unit to throw together. It helps that I was really excited and motivated to bring it to life. 🙂
It started with this bulletin board. As postcards came in, we colored in the state they came from and pinned up the card for everyone to check out.
We discussed the facts on the postcards themselves, then did a quick webquest to search for a few more facts. Students glued these into their spiral interactive notebooks.
I have this dream that they will also do a state report, but in full disclosure, we have not gotten to it yet. I have it all set up and ready for when we do though! I tried to include a lot of options, but when I have them do the report, I definitely will not have them do all the pages, and will scaffold who does how many as well. I actually think that I might leave this as a project for my substitute to do when I go on maternity leave towards the end of the school year.
There you have it! I took a simple postcard exchange and we have made it into meaningful, authentic, engaging lessons that my kids are excited for!
Want to check out the unit and see if it’s right for you? You can find it here: