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Make a Postcard

Students will learn about postcards. Then they will conduct research to learn about a place they'd like to visit. They will create their own postcards from this place and write a brief message to a friend.

PROCESS:

  1. Poll the class to see how many students have ever sent a postcard to a friend. Then discuss what a postcard is. If you wish, spend time reviewing the Smithsonian's online exhibit about the history of postcards to learn more.
  2. Point out that there are many differences between a postcard and a letter. These include size, cost to mail, number of sheets and the fact that letters are sent in envelopes while postcards are not. For more details, review the U.S. Postal Service's site on postcard size.
  3. Encourage students to think of someplace in the world they'd like to visit. Then have them conduct research to learn more about that place. 
  4. Give each student a blank 3 1/2-inch x 5-inch index card. Have students lay their cards horizontally on their desks. Give them time to decorate the front of their postcards. Drawings should show the place they'd like to visit. 
  5. Have students flip their cards over. Tell them to draw a vertical line down the middle of their cards and three short horizontal lines to the right of that center line. If you like, they can also draw a small square in the upper right corner for the stamp.
  6. Instruct students to write a brief message to a friend on the left side of the card. Have them write their friend's address on the right. If you plan to mail the cards, give each student a stamp. If not, encourage students to draw a stamp of their own.

ASSESSMENT: 

Invite students to share their postcards with the class. Discuss how the decorations on the front of each postcard reflect the places students would like to visit.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:

Grades 3-4:
Instruct students to draw a picture of something famous found in the place they'd like to visit. Have them write about that item in the message on the back of their postcards.
Grades 5-6:
Instruct students to draw a picture of something famous found in the place they'd like to visit. Have them write about that item in the message on the back of their postcards. Challenge students to be as descriptive as possible in the limited space available. 
Grades 7-8: 
Instruct students to draw a picture that reflects the landscape of the place they'd like to visit. Have them write about the landscape in the message on the back of their postcards. Challenge students to be descriptive and engaging in the limited space available.
Grades 9-10:
Instruct students to draw a picture that reflects the history of the place they'd like to visit. Have them write about the history in the message on the back of their postcards. Challenge students to be informative, descriptive and engaging in the limited space available.