In this digital age, it´s very easy to stay in touch with people via internet and social media but nothing can beat the feeling when you find a postcard in your “snail” mail. It can truly brighten your day! I think postcard sending tradition is definitely worth fighting for, don’t you?
The following lesson idea aims at helping the students understand written messages and practise their postcard writing skills. It also encourages information gathering through a rather enjoyable class mingle where half of the students get a postcard message and have to find the person with a matching postcard.
Level(s): (B1+) Intermediate/(B2) Upper-Intermediate/C1 Pre-Advanced
Aimed at: Teenagers/young adults/adults
Aims: Speaking/ informal postcard writing – useful words and phrases/vocabulary in the context of travelling and postcard writing
Materials: Postcards and message cards
Time: 45 minutes
You need to have enough postcards for half the group (you can give out more postcards than messages to make the activity more challenging) and the same number of message cards for the other half. Make sure you include some subtle clues for the group to be able to find a match! You will also need some additional cards for the writing part of this lesson. If you don´t have any at home just use some online images to create them! I have prepared a set of four postcards and four matching message cards for a class of eight, intermediate students:
Praia da Rocha in Portugal:
Oxford in the UK:
Kazimierz Dolny in Poland:
Shanghai in China:
+/- 30 min (feel free to print my messages and cards to save you time)
2. Class mingle
Explain the students that half of them will get a postcard, and the other half will get a message card. Have the students with the message cards walk around the room and read out the messages to the other half of the students. They can´t show the postcards or the message cards to each other but they can make notes. Ask them to listen to their friends carefully and only at the end of the activity decide which message matches their postcard.
+/- 10 min
3. Postcard speaking time
Have the pairs of students read out their message and show the card to the rest of the group. Have them work in small groups and answer the following questions about the places from the postcards:
- Which is your favourite place?
- Have you visited any of the places?
- Which place would you like to visit the most? Why?
- Which place do you think would be the best to live in?
And some general questions:
- When was the last time you received a postcard? Where was it from? How did it make you feel?
- When was the last time you sent a postcard? Who did you send it to? Where did you send it from?
- Will you send a postcard next time you travel? Why?
- Why don´t people send postcards anymore?
- Think of 5 reasons you should send a postcard this year:
It´s personal/postcards are the best souvenirs/they´re cheap/you can send them from anywhere/they last a lifetime/everyone loves to get something in the mail/they inspire us to travel more/a photo is worth a thousand words/they will make you smile/they´re recyclable, etc.
Have a brief class feedback. You can choose to have a debate here on pros and cons of sending postcards! Check the below link for some useful debate phrases:
+/- 20 min
4. Postcard writing
Have the students work in pairs and give each pair a postcard. Ask them not to write on it (you can use the postcards with other classes). Have each pair write a short message, as in the previous activity, describing the card but not revealing too much. Monitor closely and help out with the language if necessary.
Once they have finished, shuffle the cards and have them displayed randomly around the room. The students then walk around the room and look for a match.
Have a brief class feedback.
+/- 15 min
5. Card presentation
Have each pair show their card and read out the message before creating a wall display! Have the students work in small groups and discuss the first four questions from point three above.
+/- 10 min