The school-wide postal service is a favorite tradition of the NWAIS elementary school where I am serving as an intern. The second and third graders orchestrate the whole month-long operation, from creating stamps, letters, postcards to sell to ensuring all our precious correspondence makes it from their homemade cardboard mailboxes in the hallway into the hands of a smiling member of our school community. One-hundred percent of the profit earned by these hard-working students goes to the charity of their choosing. Not only is this unit of integrated study richly rewarding for the 2/3 students, it provides a healthy diversion for students as the busyness of a highly commercialized holiday season spins uncontrollably outside of the sanctity of our school. And yet it is an opportunity for our students, teachers, administration and staff to articulate to each other in written correspondence the gift of admiration and gratitude. This compassionate, reciprocal acknowledgement of the people in our day-to-day life, in my opinion, is the most valuable skill we can teach our students to give during the holiday season.
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