Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Post Office Stamps

Michaél Dunnivant


Each student creates a commemorative stamp to show how people communicated long ago, now, and in the future. Students plot their stamps on a timeline and explain when the communication depicted on the stamps was common and why.


The student understands broad categories of time (e.g., past, present, and future: yesterday, today, and tomorrow) and calendar time (days, weeks, months, and years).

The student knows methods of communication from long ago and the technological developments that facilitated communications (e.g., speaking by gestures; transmitting stories orally; the use of pictographs, hieroglyphics and different alphabets; writing by hand and printing with machines).


-Kid Pix or another computer drawing program
-Pictures depicting different forms of communication over broad categories of time
-Books about how communication has changed over time
-Teacher-made timeline for students to display their stamps
-Materials (books, pictures, etc.) to research communication from broad categories of time


The teacher needs to:
1. Prepare timeline on which to post pictures divided into broad categories of time (years ago, now, and future) from chart paper or sentence strip.
2. Load Kid Pix or other drawing program and double check operational readiness. If computers are unavailable, students may draw the pictures or find the pictures in magazines.
3. Collect pictures of forms of communication from broad categories of time. These can be found in your school or local library in the children's nonfiction section. Look for books that have lots of pictures and large text, if available. You may need to use pictures from several different texts to develop your timeline.
4. Locate books and pictures about how communication has changed over time. You can collect these from advertisements or magazines or newspapers. Students can also involve their parents in their search for appropriate pictures.


1. Read a book to the students about how communication has changed over time. (Nonfiction books are a good resource, and the pictures can serve as a springboard for a storytelling narrative.)

2. Intersperse the pictures of communication while sharing the text.

3. During the reading, have students chart the pictures of communication on a timeline divided into broad categories of time. (For example,-A long, long, time ago, centuries ago, people used to communicate with the spoken word and tell stories to communicate with others.- A picture of people from a long, long time ago talking to each other would be placed on the timeline by a student.)

4. Discuss the technological developments that facilitated communications for each time period. (For example, people developed new tools and ways of communicating in order to solve problems such as distance, insufficient communication, or in response to other developments occuring in the society.)

5. Continue this modeling process until the class has three dates on the class timeline.

6. Show a picture of a non-example, for instance a car or a Martian. Ask students where this would fit on the communication timeline. Discuss and review what communication is.

7. Instruct students to research other forms of communication using available resources, such as books and pictures.

8. Students then choose a form of communication from a broad category of time of their choice (long ago, now, future) on which to conduct simple research.

9. Model on Kid Pix or another drawing program how to use the tools to create a commemorative stamp.

10. Students conduct research, create a commemorative stamp to sell at the post office, display it on the timeline at the post office, and share what they have learned during station work.

11. At one of the stations, students share their commemorative stamps and explain where they fit on the post office timeline. They explain why their stamps fit where they fit in the correct broad category of time (long ago, now, future) and what technological developments led to this chosen form of communication.


Assess students' explanation of their commemorative stamps and where they fit on the timeline. Students should be able to place each stamp in the correct category of time (long ago, now, future) and explain where that category of time is in relation to the other forms of communication on the timeline. Students should use the correct language to distinguish between the broad categories of time and explain why communication existed in that form at that time. Teacher observes students at stations while working and records understanding of broad categories of time (long ago, now, future) based upon conversations and interviews.


This lesson takes place after students have learned about different forms of communication and what communication means. This lesson is part of a unit on communication that also includes how we communicate with others and how our community uses the post office to send communication.
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