Holiday Card Exchange
While I was in Michigan over Thanksgiving break, I signed my class up to participate in a winter card exchange. I heard about it while I was visiting my cooperating teacher (it was GREAT to see her). The card exchange is run by Jen Wagner, who organizes other projects for classrooms. From what I have experienced she is AMAZING!! So, onto the card exchange; I filled out some basic information and then viola, my class was in.
A week or so later, I received an email with the addresses of 28 schools (across the country and globe) to which we would be sending cards. Apparently there is a theme for the cards each year, this year its snow globes. Jen provided us with a template to use for our cards, but we were also free to create our own template/card design. Since, this was my first year participating, I use the template she provided. I shrunk the template to fit a quarter fold card and copied it onto white paper, so the kids could color the picture. We talked about things to write in the cards, and we focused on winter sayings like ‘Winter is snow much fun.’ The kids also drew their own pictures in the cards and signed their names. They LOVED this! They wanted to know where the cards were going and how long it would take them to be delivered. We also had a nice discussion about the Postal Service and how mail is sorted and travels by land, air, and sea. In total we sent cards to 21 different states (we had a few repeats) and 1 card to Australia!
They were excited to make the cards, but they were even MORE excited when we started to get cards in the mail! We got 8 cards Monday, but I didn’t check my mailbox until after the kids left. I had a hard time waiting to open the cards until Tuesday when the kids came back! When I told them that we had gotten some cards in the mail they let out a little cheerJ.
The card exchange has been a great vehicle for teaching social studies, especially because we have been learning about maps. I pulled out a smallish map of the U.S. and as we opened each card we found the state on the map. The kids enjoyed seeing how close or far the states were to Maryland. Then I gave each student a map of the U.S. and we colored the states we got cards from on Monday blue, Tuesday orange, Wednesday yellow, and today we got four more cards in the mail, but we didn't have time to add them to our map.