Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Postcards from the Past

Kim Forgione


Students create postcards of historical events.


The student clarifies understanding by rereading, self-correction, summarizing, checking other sources, and class or group discussion.

The student writes for a variety of occasions, audiences, and purposes.


--Sample postcards
--Chart paper and markers (optional)
--Tagboard, cardstock, or 5- x 7- index cards unlined
--Colored pencils and/or crayons
--Timeline or list of historical events previously studied in your class (optional)
--Resources for students to use to read more about the historical events; i.e., encyclopedias, social studies text, nonfiction books, etc.
--Assessment checklist (see File)


1) Create or review a list of historical events studied in your class so far.
2) Cut tagboard, cardstock or provide index cards for postcards.
3) Collect examples of postcards.
4) Gather resources students may use to read more about the historical events they will be summarizing.
5) Gather colored pencils and/or crayons as needed.


Day 1

1) Ask students if they have ever received or sent a postcard. Discuss the format of postcards. Show examples at this point.
2) Announce to students they are to create -Postcards from the Past- by summarizing historical events and illustrating them on postcards.
3) Brainstorm and record events studied on chart paper or simply provide students with a list or timeline of events studied so far in class.
4) Allow each student to choose an event, or assign events to each student.
5) Guide students to review and read more about the event to be featured using the available resources. Have them write reference sources for the information they gather.
6) Instruct students to summarize their events on notebook paper first so they can edit before transferring the information to their postcards. Be sure they include reference sources on their rough drafts.

Day 2

1) Assist students to complete the editing process of their summaries.
2) Provide postcard paper for each student.
3) Review and/or display examples of postcards that you provide or students bring in.
4) Allow students ample time to write their summaries and create illustrations on their postcards.
5) Instruct them to address the postcard and its message to you or to another teacher at your school.
6) Students who finish early may work together to create a bulletin board to display the finished postcards.


The student summaries and rough drafts will be assessed using the checklist attached to this lesson.


Students should have some prior experiences with summarizing information. Special needs students can be guided to rephrase each paragraph or even each sentence telling about a specific historical event in their own words. Some students may help create a bulletin board to display the finished postcards.

Attached Files

Assessment checklist for grading student summaries.     File Extension: pdf

Return to the Beacon Lesson Plan Library.