Friday, June 19, 2015

Postcard Exchange Launch

Last year I took part in a class postcard exchange, and I cannot tell you how much both my students and I LOVED it! What is a postcard exchange you ask? Well, keep reading to find out!

What supplies do I need?

50 postcards, 50 stamps, and 50 labels. It may seem like a lot, but it's well worth it, plus sometimes the school secretary will provide you with the stamps since it is a class project. You will receive 50 postcards in exchange!! My kids were beyond excited every time I told them that we had mail.

What do I do with these postcards that I'm supposed to send out?

You may choose to purchase or create your postcards you have signed up for the exchange. I sent a design off to Vista Print since I'm from Las Vegas and all the postcards I found just had to do with gambling or the strip and I didn't think those were too kid friendly. However, it's completely up to you. Some teachers in the past have even purchased the cards and then split them among the students so the students can each personally handwrite some of the postcards. There are so many possibilities for how you can decide to do the cards!

I will prepare a label template with all of the participants addresses so you can easily print and stick them on to the postcards to make addressing them easier for you. I'll email the file to all participants in mid to late August.

Your students should have ownership of the exchange by being responsible for creating the message that will go on your postcard. This will help the exchange be more meaningful when your students receive their cards. Students should put facts about their school and class as well as info about their state in the message.

All cards should be mailed by October 31st. I know we all start our school year at different times, so hopefully this gives you a little cushion to fulfill your commitment to the exchange. Please remember that the students do get very excited about this project, so please only sign up if you know you can commit to participating. My kiddos looked forward to getting all the postcards and were disappointed when a few were never sent to us, and I'd hate for any other kiddos to feel that disappointment too.

What do I do with these postcards that I receive?

As the postcards come in, I usually will use my document camera so the kiddos can see the front and then I'll flip it over and we'll read the message as a class. Afterwards, we will add information we learned about the state into our state notebook, locate the state the postcard came from on our class map, and then add the postcard to it so it is displayed for the rest of the year.
Here is an early picture from last year as our postcards started coming in.
In terms of the state notebooks, there are several good ones on Teacher Pay Teacher that you can find, and some of them are even free. This whole project was a great way for my kiddos to learn about the other states in the US, which tied in nicely as in 4th grade we do Nevada state history so these postcards allowed us opportunities to compare other states with our own.

I love this idea! How do I sign up?

Click this link: Postcard Exchange Sign Up. It will take you to the sign up genius for this exchange! Deadline for signing up is August 15th. Please understand that ideally, all 51 slots (all 50 states plus Washington DC) will be filled, however, we will still continue ahead with the exchange even if not every slot is filled, so try to wait until after August 15 to buy or order your postcards.


  1. Perhaps I am just a little slow due to sleep deprivation (packing up and moving classroom) but why the need for 50 post cards if it is one class to one class? Or is it that everyone that is involved sends to everyone involved? Also, (and I will try to make this the last one) is it possible for those of us who teach on military bases overseas to be involved? (We are technically American schools)

    1. There is a need for 50 as this exchange is for the 50 states plus Washington DC, so even with subtracting your own state from the number of postcards being sent, it would still be 49 states plus Washington DC. This is not a one to one class exchange. You would be sending postcards to every state (other than your own) that has signed up as a participant. Since I won't know the exact final number of participants until sign ups close on August 15th, there is a chance that the exchange could end up not getting someone for every state, if that happens, then teachers wouldn't need 50 postcards, they would only need just enough for all the states that have signed up.

      While I do understand that the schools located on military bases overseas are considered American schools, this exchange is only for teachers located at schools in the US.


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