- Distribute a copy of the V-Mail stationery to each student.
- Allow time for the students to examine the stationery.
- Engage students in discussion about what they think these sheets may have been used for.
- Allow students to try to fold the stationery according to the printed direction on the stationery.
- Next give a brief introduction to Victory Mail (as per Background Information provided at the beginning of these materials and/or research on the online exhibition) and show them the illustration of the relative sizes of each stage of the V-Mail process.
Using a copy of the downloadable V-Mail stationery, have students write and send a letter (100-300 words) to a US service person currently living overseas. Letters must be written legibly, in black ink. Letters must include details of daily life. (A folded sheet can be mailed at regular first class rates if it measures at least 3 1/2”w x 5”h and is sealed on two sides with tape or glue (no staples). DC standards of learning for Language Arts, grades 2-4 give specific instructions for letter content and form for each grade level.
District of Columbia Standards of Learning:
- 2.W-E.2. – Write or dictate letters or short accounts of personal experiences in a logical order.
- 2.W.-R.3. – After writing or dictating a composition, identify words and phrases that could be added to make the thought clearer, more logical, or more expressive.
- 3W-E.3. – Write a friendly letter complete with date, salutation, body, closing, and signature.
- 3.W-R.5. - Improve word choice (in letter) by using dictionaries and thesauri.
- 4W-E.6. – Write personal and formal letters
- 4W-R.7. - Revise writing (letter) to improve word choice (using dictionaries, thesauri) and level of detail after determining what could be added or deleted.
National Standards (National Council for Teachers of English)
- NL-ENG.K-12.4 – Students adjust their use of spoken, written and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
- NL-ENG.K-12.5 – Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.
Using the same introduction provided in Part I, proceed with the activity as follows:
- Present the students with example of preprinted, cartoon versions of V-Mail stationery (see below).
- Explain that information and ideas can be conveyed using drawing or other visual methods.
- Have the students use the designated space for messages to make a drawing for the recipient to tell them about a person, place, thing or activity that they most enjoy.
NOTE: In depth discussion about V-Mail and its importance during WWII may not be appropriate for elementary school students. However, presenting an abbreviated description about the unique mailing process can be used as an introduction to letter writing activities. Students will most likely find writing on the specialized V-Mail stationery fun and useful motivation for the lesson.
Likewise, a discussion about WWII or any U.S. conflict is not applicable to the Standards of Learning for the elementary level. Therefore, a simple discussion about the meaning of patriotism and how different means of support to U.S. military service people can qualify as a patriotic act would be sufficient.
Preprinted, cartoon versions of V-Mail stationery: