Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Cultural Exchange, Stamp Collecting, Letter Writing, and More...

Hello There,

Have you ever wanted to receive a package or letter filled with goodies, or something just fun.  Well, think of how fun it would be for your kids at home, or for you classroom. After looking into many (MANY) sites and exchange groups, I've decide to go ahead and set one up myself.  I'm not quite sure what I'm getting into and from the activity level on the Facebook posts, it's likely not much.  I'm hoping it's mostly due to lack of clarification on my part.  So, let's get into the details.

How will it work: 
Each month or quarter, we can come up with themes.  Based on this, individuals will exchange their home or school mailing address (get permission) and send appropriate items keeping a budget in mind.  We do not want anyone to feel burdened or feel that this is costing them an expense in participating.  The wider the reach the better- think global.

We can start with something basic like post cards or a simple letter with a unique stamp.  This will encourage children to write, keep a small journal of stamps, and track where the letters are coming from and going to.  This is a wonderful geography and culture lesson.  I'm really hoping to enhance my geography folders in the classroom through this.  Teachers, this is an ideal way to ask for something specific like photographs of monuments, or other cultural landmarks, costumes, food, native plants and animal, etc.  The sky is the limit.

As we grow and have a group we can figure it out better.  You will not be sending letters and packages to everyone.  Instead it would be one or two, and you would receive the same.

For international packages, you will need to check what is allowed as certain items are not allowed to be mailed (seeds, meats, cheeses, and such). But, we have time to get there.

If you are interested, please comment here, but be sure to join us on Facebook as that may be our fastest way of communicating for now. In your comment let us know where you're from, and if you hope to join as a family or as a school.  This way, it will help with whom to partner or exchange with.

Once a "session" or exchange is open, comment on there saying you're interested.  You will then contact the person before you and get their contact details.  You will send them the item of the session.  When the session ends, I will send the last person on the list an item. This way, everyone is covered and relatively in the order that you signed up.  Please ask questions if this is all unclear.  This is new to me as well, so we're working it out as we go.

As I said, for now, I'm going slow, so if you think you'd like a post card leave a comment here with your location.  Hopefully, we can get everyone mixed up and get a variety of postcards sent out.  Ideally, a PC from your city showcasing it's beauty would be best.  If your children can write, have them do it, if not, have them narrate it.

For stamp collecting:
Have a small blank or ruled notebook and divide it into continents.  This way you can put the stamps on the appropriate section.  If you want to be more organized, you can sub-divide, or for the US or your own country, you can divide into States.

Theme ideas:
Local Post Cards
Unique stamps, with a simple letter and photo of your city, school, local building, etc
Pressed leaves or flowers unique to your region (photo if not)
Flag of your country - and anything else you'd like to add
Buttons or pins
Songs sung at home or in classroom
handmade craft
yarn, felt, fabric, or something to create
Favorite recipe
Local Sweets, or Chocolates (keep in mind allergies)

So, I open this up for your comments, suggestions, feedback, finger-wagging, nods of approval or disapproval (negativity shall remain in your own domain).

I hope to have at least 1 successful and fun run with this.  If it doesn't work then at least we tried.  No one says you need to do such a thing for life, even if a child recalls the 1 time he/she received a postcard or package from someone, it will remain with them forever.  Even if it's a notebook of 10 stamps, well then it's 10 more than he will ever collect again.  Trying is half the fun. 

Thank you,
Home Grown Crew

P.S. No weirdos allowed.  Nothing graphic or inappropriate for children.

Note:  See above page tab for "details".  The first exchange has begun and runs through Sept 30th.  Join us on Facebook to sign up.  If you are a teacher and would like to participate as a class do let it be known. 

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  1. We are a Montessori school in Cairo, Egypt and would love to join this wonderful project.

  2. Inas,
    Thank you so much. I'm so thrilled at your response. Do you have a Facebook account? If so, please join us on there, and we will get started. Our school does not start for a few more weeks, but if you're up to it, we can do a test run with post cards and then hopefully the more people and classes that join, the more exchanges we can have. Thanks again, and please share with anyone else you think would like to participate.

  3. I think it would be fun to join! I am getting the continent boxes ready!! I need things from Europe, Asia, Australia and Antartica! LEt me know how to sign up! Thank you!! Monica

    1. Hi Monica,
      Do you have a facebook account? For now, we're hoping to get organized through there. I'm not all that tech savvy to know how to do it through blogger. FB is a bit faster and contacting each other through their is also easier. Thanks for you interest.


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