Very overdue summary of the activity I shared at #PedagooLondon earlier this month.
A while ago I joked to a colleague that my year 11s knowledge of Animal Farm was just about enough to fill a stamp. Whilst I hope my hyperbolic tendencies are proven unfounded, this conversation also reminded me of a good friend from my university days. Pete was (and is) an artist. He delighted in being quirky and gauche, his best expression of this was the teeny-tiny notes left under my door, which needed a magnifying glass to be read.
This activity was inspired by Pete and his tiny writing ways.
The Postcard Essay
The idea is simple. Instead of writing an essay in their books, students write it on a postcard.
This activity started as a blatant gimmick to persuade exam prep exhausted students to write just one more paragraph on a Friday p5. It’s only a postcard, I encouraged positively, won’t take you 5 mins to fill it with a lovely, lovely essay on Of Mice and Men.
Just the activity of writing on something small was different enough to engage my weary students.
Then we started to play around with them. Student A would send Student B a postcard essay, which they would improve and send back. I even have a postcard postbox in my classroom now. With multiple exam classes, across different ability groups, Class A can send Class B postcard essays, commenting, improving, celebrating and then sending them back.
Any postcard will do, of course.
Here are the ones I use.