Confession: I LOVE POSTCARDS! I have a wall of postcards in my house that I have collected while traveling. For our wedding, both the save the dates and the guestbook were postcards.
And I always use postcards with my students. For years I have included postcards as a part of my writing center. Both my kindergarteners and first graders have loved them! They are the most popular writing activity for the year!
Students pick a postcard and pretend they are on a trip. They then write a letter explaining what they see and what they are doing!
This is a great way to encourage imagination, explore new places and practice many writing skills! Postcards are awesome for teaching letter writing and including descriptive vocabulary in one's writing.
I always make sure to have a writing checklist available for students as they work on their postcards. This reminds them to include finger spaces, punctuation, correct capitalization, sound out words, and spell sight words.
Building your postcard collection:
I have a collection of postcards that I have accrued over the years. Some are from places I have been but many have been given to me by friends. We purchased some in bulk at flea markets!
People love the idea of sending postcards to your students! My dad flies often for work and he will send blank postcards from his destination, or the airport if he has a long layover. I have successfully had friends collect postcards by asking friends on Facebook to send them to my class. Most of the postcards in my collection are blank on the back, although my sister always includes some kid friendly facts about the location! Use your network to build a postcard collection!
Send me an email, and I would love to send you a postcard!
Don't have postcards? No problem! A quick google image search shows lots of postcard images that can be printed out or projected on the board!
Postcards as a center:
Depending on your classroom setup, you can present this center in different ways!
One year I had a dedicated Writing Center. Every week I would post three or four postcards on the wall. Students would look at one of the posted cards and write about it on the postcard template.
Another year I did centers at tables. I put postcards in a box along with the postcard template. Students would pick one of my postcards and put it in front of them while they wrote on the template. Tip: If your students have the postcards in hand make sure to be explicit that they should only write on the template, never the actual postcard.
I helped a friend set up postcards in her classroom as well. She did not have a center rotation so we decided to use the postcards as a Morning Work activity. She projected the postcard image on her board and had her students write on the template from their seat. This was an easy way for her to squeeze in a little extra writing in a fun and engaging, low-prep way!
The postcard center is a fun (and low prep) way to practice many Common Core Standards including:
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Miriam taught kindergarten and first grade for 5+ years in New Orleans.