Monday, May 14, 2012

Have you checked your mail today?

Have you gone to check your mailbox today?

Not your inbox for email but your mailbox for mail from the postal service ....

Did you know that on May 15, 1918, US airmail began service?

I did not know that but I will tell you how I learned it .... I went to Thinkfinity's Today In History calendar.  On the page above the calendar, you can find information about some of the special things we celebrate. Then there are tabs for you to choose which type of calendar you would like to look at: Year, Month, Week, Day.

For each day, there is a small piece of interesting information linked to a page full of resources from Thinkfinity's Content Partners where you can investigate the topic even more.

Here are the Thinkfinity resources related to the even that happened May 15, 1918 (I think the comparison of writing emails and writing letters adds a modern twist):

The first airmail route in the United States was over the 200 mile distance between New York and Washington, D.C., with a stop in Philadelphia. One round-trip flight was flown each day except Sunday. For the first few months, the airmail service was a joint effort of the War Department, which provided the planes and pilots, and the Post Office Department, which handled the mail.

By September of 1920, airmail service routes existed from New York all the way to San Francisco. The airmail system that developed was far different from the first attempts at delivering mail by air, which occurred in France in 1870 when letters were sent skyward attached to balloons. 


Who’s Got Mail? Using Literature to Promote Authentic Letter Writing (3–5) uses literature and shared writing to teach letter-writing format and promote authentic letter writing. 

In Mail Time! An Integrated Postcard and Geography Study (K–2), students write to friends and family asking them to send picture postcards. This activity provides motivation for writing and reading and provides a wonderful opportunity to learn about maps as students discover where their family members and friends live.

Students learn to think about and question texts in ways that develop their analytical capacities and critical reading practices by investigating junk mail in Investigating Junk Mail: Negotiating Critical Literacy at the Mailbox (3–5).

In Exploring Literature through Letter Writing Groups (9–12), students discuss literature through a series of letter exchanges.

Airmail significantly increased the speed with which long distance communication could occur. Today, e-mail has further revolutionized written long-distance communication. In What's the Difference? Beginning Writers Compare E-mail with Letter Writing (K–2), students explore the differences between e-mail and letter writing by contrasting and identifying different forms, and experimenting with their own e-mail and letter compositions.

Smithsonian's History Explorer

Write a letter and then take it to the post office using helpful advice in Send Lincoln a Letter (K-4), an activity based on the children's book Mr. Lincoln's Whiskers.

Science NetLinks

E-mail communication is also the subject of the Science Update Lying on Email (6–12), which discusses a new study examining how to detect lies in e-mail.


In the unit I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Someone a Letter (3–5), students use historical letters as a starting point for discussion of and practice in the conventions and purposes of letter writing.

photo credit: Today is a good day via photo pin cc

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