Collect and map postmarks students cut from holiday cards delivered to their families.
December is the busiest month of the year for mail carriers, who deliver millions of holiday cards and packages. Why not capitalize on that busy mailing time by asking students to collect legible postmarks from cards and packages their families receive? Have students attach the postmarks to a U.S. map to show the origins of the cards and letters.
If you're studying world geography, and your students are a multicultural mix, you might post around the U.S. map colorful cut-out shapes of the continents (see Continent Maps Source 1, Continent Maps Source 2, or Continent Maps Source 3) and add postmarks from places outside the United States too.
Post a large outline map of the United States on a bulletin board.
If you don't have a map to use for that purpose, copy onto a sheet of transparency film an outline map of the United States. (See U.S. Outline Map Source 1 or U.S. Outline Map Source 2.) Use an overhead projector to project the map image onto a bulletin board covered with white construction or mural paper. Trace the map onto the bulletin board.As students bring in postmarks collected from holiday mail, have them post the postmarks on the states they came from. Students might staple the postmarks or use common pins or pushpins to attach them to the bulletin board. If you teach students in grades 3 or above, students can attach the postmarks to the precise location of the correct city or town.
At the end of the month, have students create a chart to show which states the mail came from. They also might graph the data they collect.
Find more bulletin board ideas in our Bulletin Boards That Teach Archive.
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