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Want to contact other classrooms easily and turn those contacts into a multifaceted project? Try a postcard exchange with other classrooms. The following ideas might help you with your own postcard project.

Build 'Em Like An Automobile
If it worked for Henry Ford, it can work for your class. Brainstorm an idea for the look of your card, then set up an assembly line to build them. Use rubber stamps, photocopiers, potato prints, stickers, markers, collage, photos, computer prints and even plain old pencil techniques to make a really visually interesting card where each student has one job to do. This works especially well if you choose to send lots of cards.

Free is Good
Some quick math will reveal the cost of a postcard project, which will include postage, postcards and the other materials to create the cards (if you make them). A free outlet for postcards is your local chamber of commerce or other promotional group for your city or state. If their supply is limited, they may only supply you with 10-20 cards, so check ahead if this is your only source of postcards.

Avoid the Surcharge
Make a card too small or too large, and the post office will hit you with a surcharge due to the extra handling your card may require. Call the post office to find out the minimum and maximum dimensions cards can be, then stay within those guidelines to keep the cost down.

Beware the Barcode
Ever receive a post card from someone and couldn't read the whole message because the post office put a bar code sticker on it? The sticker is attached to help move the card through the system faster, and your cards will likely have one attached after you mail them. To help avoid having part of your artwork covered, make a single card as a trial run, then mail it to yourself to see where the sticker gets placed. Allow for the sticker when you make or write on your cards.

Beg for Postage
If you have a supportive business nearby, ask if they will help out with postage. They may donate enough stamps to do your mailing, or might run the cards through their postage machine.

Teach your class about the sorting process by looking up ZIP+4 numbers for your U.S. addresses. Your postcards will move faster and are less likely to be lost, and you can use the U.S. Post Office Webpage for looking up the numbers.

Map It
A map with round, colored pushpins can be used to show where all your postcards have come from. Use this as the starting point for looking up more information on the various locations in the library, assigning each student one postcard location.

Other Post Card Displays
In addition to mapping your received post cards:
  • punch a hole in one corner, and use a metal snap ring or yarn to connect them into a flip book, then hang it on a bulletin board
  • hang cards from the ceiling with fishing line or yarn
  • display in a photo album
  • laminate and tie them together to make a post card "chain" to hang on the wall
  • make a "connected class of the week" display for your door or hallway, and change cards each week
  • Visit Olivier P. Colas's page to view an example display from France.

And Say "Hi" Again
Once every week or two, pick a class to receive a "Hi Again" package from your class. These could be letters, pictures or other goodies, and can be sent in a box or just a large envelope. Do it without expecting anything in return...just use the opportunity to say "hi" again and brighten the day of another class.


Sign up now to participate in the Teachnet 100 Days Postcard Exchange.

Size Regulations:

The SMALLEST mailable postcard size is 3 inches high, 5 inches long and must be rectangular in shape.

The LARGEST mailable size is 4 inches high, 6 inches long. Postcards exceeding these dimensions are charged the letter rate of 33 cents. The postage rate for a postcard is 20 cents.

Hello from France!
"A year ago, I took part in the 9/9/99 postcard exchange organised. It was a very good way to kick off the school year, an excellent way to motivate French students to learn English: to write English, to read English, etc. After the project I organised two webquests for my pupils, an exhibition on line and an exhibition in the school library. [Visit the site for an] example of what really happened once I decided to send the subscription email a year ago." -Olivier P. Colas, English teacher. CLG du Parc aux Charrettes, Pontoise (95), France.