This year it has taken a while to open our classroom post office. I think the two weeks lost to the snow storm took it toll on several projects. Nevertheless, yesterday the post office officially opened. Every year this becomes one of the favorite spots in the classroom.
I made my post office boxes out of a shoe organizer from Target. I use the little photos that the school picture company gives us with their name. One year I used file labels and they did not stay down. Packing tape is the best method.
I put a shelf of writing materials next to the post office boxes. Each week I will add new items to expand the writing experience. Week one I just put out markers, pencils, pens, white paper and envelopes. I will gradually add stickers, stampers, colored paper, a class address book, little pockets, card making materials – to name a few.
Each week I introduce a new form of writing to friends. Writing lessons encourage and extend the student's writing – how to write a thank you note, how to write a compliment, how to write a note of appreciation, how to write a secret code message (they love this!) and more. I post a large model of the writing lesson in the Post Office center.
There is something about putting a note in an envelope that delights the child's soul! I have to limit how many they can use a day. Last year they would go through a box of a hundred in one day. I did ask parents to donate envelopes and had a huge back stock but I think it is important that there is respect for the materials. When they were using such a large quantity I noticed there was a lack of respect present. So I limit it to three a day the first week. I eventually expand that to 5 or 6 but that is the maximum.
The children put the mail they have written in the appropriate box. I have delivered mail in several ways in the past. One year, I had a special mail delivery person – this method takes a good chunk of time and I found it hard to fit in. My favorite way is that the student's check their boxes as they go to pack up for the day. I tell my students that if they want to be sure they have mail – they can send a letter to a family member and put it in their box.