Lynn Handshy
Apple This is Lynn Handshy. Lynn teaches first grade at Tularcitos Elementary School in Carmel Valley, California. She has written about the major activities and projects of her classroom. We feature those projects here on Leslie's website.

Post Cards Around the World

By Lynn Handshy

As part of our 1st grade curriculum we learn about the seven continents. We locate each continent on a globe and wall map. We explore the physical features, climate, ecosystems and animals peculiar to each continent. What children are most interested in however, is what children do in the countries of the world. At this time in history, it is particularly relevant to examine those things that are different and the same with children around the world. Ah ha! Another teachable moment. How can we possibly find answers if we don't write questions? So we write postcards.
Here's how we do it:
First: Children brainstorm things they want to know: what kids eat, favorite games, what their schools are like, etc. Then they list major countries (or cities in the case of Australia). Each child chooses a question and a place.
Second: Trace the outline of North America on one side of an 8" X 5" piece of white construction paper and title: North America (1 for each child in your class). On the opposite side draw a line down the center creating 1 side for the message and the other side for the address.
Third: On the map, children circle an X where they live in North America. Then they draw a picture of what they do here to match their question about children in the country of their choice. For example, a cereal box and carton of milk to illustrate a favorite American breakfast if their question is about what children eat for breakfast in China.
Fourth: They write their question on the other side of the "postcard". Finally they address the card and draw a stamp.

NOTE: It takes far too long to send a postcard to China and expect an answer within a year, let alone the duration of a four week unit of study, so we address our questions to the school librarian and send the cards to her.
The kids love this project. I hope you have fun with it too.