Collaborative idea generation for ELT


What would you do with these stamps in your classroom? You can make any assumptions you like about the context they are used in. Post your ideas in the comments below.

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Comments on: "Stamps" (6)

  1. Interesting, you could

    1. Compare and contrast – size, shape, appearance, colour, etc.

    2. Do an association exercise – what do sts associate with stamps – letters, post, bills, postacards, old-fashioned, junk mail etc.

    3. Differences to stamps in their own country – queens head etc.

    4. This could lead onto discussion on roles of heads of state, private – public sector postal services etc. for more advanced sts

    5. Good opener for discussion, written work, on communication methods past, present and future

    6. Story of the stamp maybe for more imaginative groups, tell the story from stamp’s perspective from manuafacturing to being in the classroom or on to being binned and recycled

    7. Preferences exercise – which do sts prefer, to get a handwritten letter or to get an email etc.

    Loads of interesting stuff to do with them I’m sure, I look forward to seeing other folks’ ideas. Thanks for this Sandy, it’s a fun question!

    All the best

    Andrew ( @efl101 )

  2. you never know what inspires a teacher 🙂 Fun!

    1. stamps storytelling: build a story using stamps as picture prompts.

    2. A traveller’s log/diary (completed, perhaps, over a series of lessons) – a new stamp – a new place visited, a new account at every lessons (kind of Around the world in 80… stamps).

  3. Tell the students a tale of letters lost on their way to the U.S.A from all over the world. These letters were recovered twenty years later.
    The students have to examine the stamps, figure out where they are from (not always simple) and mark on an “outline” map where they were mailed from. Then they have to see where they were supposed to go (many students today don’t knwo how to address a letter!).
    That can lead to writing an imaginary love letter and what happened when it arrived 20 years too late!

  4. […] my classroom into a learning center is certainly an ongoing long term project which I initiated), Sandy Millin’s post relating to stamps inspired me to take this post in another direction […]

  5. My first thought was almost exactly like Naomi’s – a man dies. His granddaughter discovers these two stamps next to the bed in an ornate jewelry box.

    Next to the stamps is a diamond ring – which she knows is not the ring her grandmother wore. She decides to pursue the story…

    Second thought: if you’re working in a room with internet access or you have students with mobile devices – beam the stamps on the board and type only two words:


    Put students in teams and tell them that they will be doing a presentation – they can use any search engine or any advanced function search (images/blogs/news), q&a site/ wikipedia – discovery channel – whatever – but their only requirements for the task is to do research based on these two words and they have to create a presentation based on what they discover.

    Bonus points awarded to the group who are most able to think outside the box.


  6. I would use the stamps (especially if I had more of them) to create a post office. Although most students don’t necessarily use snail mail any more, the thing they are most likely to do in a foreign country is send a postcard. We can practise asking for stamps in class, then if you’re in an English-speaking country they could go and buy a real stamp and send a postcard to someone they know. They could also go to Postcrossing, receive a randomly-generated address and send that person a postcard.

    Younger students could draw the own stamps, then say how they represent their country / themselves.

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