Great Mail Race Cover Letter

Brief Description

Students write friendly letters, mail them to random schools -- and wait to see who responds -- in this lesson combining language arts and geography.


Students will
  • learn to write a friendly letter.
  • select a state and town to which to mail the letter.
  • record responses on a map as they are received.


friendly, letter, geography, state, community

Materials Needed

  • paper and pencils/pens
  • a U.S. map to display on a bulletin board
  • yarn
  • stamps

Lesson Plan

In this lesson, students write friendly letters and wait to see who gets the first response.

Review the friendly letter format with students. Inform students that they are going to write a friendly letter that tells about themselves, their school, and the community they live in. Encourage students to brainstorm what information they might include in such a letter, write their responses on a chart, and post the chart so students can use as they write their letters.

Invite each student to choose a state (or territory or province) and a town within that state. Have them address their letters to the principal of an elementary school in that town, asking the principal to pass the letter along to a responsible student who would be willing to reply to it. (Students can use a search engine to find schools in the community they select, or you might provide addresses for students). As much as possible, direct students selections so letters are mailed to a wide variety of states.

Students should mention in their letters that the letter is part of a contest. Following is a sample paragraph that all students might include in their letters:

We are having a contest in our class to see whose letters get the quickest response. Could you write back to me soon? In your letter, tell me a little about yourself, your school, and your community. I would really appreciate it. Thank you!

As students receive replies to their letters, post the letters around a U.S. map on a classroom bulletin board. Extend yarn from each letter to the location on the map from which the letter was sent.

Note: This is a "contest only in the loosest sense of the word. It is really unfair to announce a winner based on the quickest reply because it will take some letters longer that others to get to their destinations and back. The excitement really will come as students mark places on the map as responses arrive in the mail.

Activity Options

  • Instead of having students mention the contest in their letters, create a separate page explaining the contest and have students insert that page in their letters.
  • Instead of asking recipients to respond in letter format, provide a form for them to fill out. The form could include general questions about their schools. See a sample questionnaire that your students can adapt for this activity. (Note: This questionnaire is an archived copy for information/model purposes only; the page is no longer being updated.)
  • Students can double their chances for a response by writing two letters and sending them to schools in different states.
  • Students might create a timeline on which they record the dates responses are received.
  • Do you know other teachers from around your state or the U.S.? Do you belong to a teacher listserv? Recruit other teachers to join you in the mail race.


Use or adapt one of the rubrics below to assess students adherence to the correct Format for a Friendly Letter.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Gary Hopkins

National Standards


    GRADES K - 12
    NT.K-12.5 Technology Research tools

See more language arts lessons from Education World.

Return to the letter-writing lesson plan page.

Education World®
Copyright © 2010 Education World

Originally published 09/27/2002
Last updated 06/02/2010

A winning cover letter is a golden passport to that much-desired job. 

Indeed, as Jake Bradley, Associate Director of Michael Page Human Resources, explains: 'Cover letters that are well-written demonstrate to employers that you are a unique, literate and enthusiastic candidate. 

'They give you a chance to put forward your most relevant experience and achievements, and this really goes a long way in terms of grabbing the employers’ attention.'

But having just one sheet of paper upon which to sell yourself and everything you can do is no mean feat. Here, Jake shares the perfect cover letter, as well as his golden rules for curating one that will land you your dream job.

Jake Bradley, Associate Director of Michael Page Human Resources, shares the perfect cover letter, as well as his golden rules for curating one


Dear Mr Company,

In response to your recent advertisement for the 'Human Resources Recruitment Specialist - MP123456' on, please find attached my curriculum vitae for your consideration.

I have the following experience which is well aligned to the requirements of the role.

• Successful human resources recruitment specialist with four years’ experience.

• Experience gained in leading FTSE 25O global recruitment company.

• Thorough understanding of the human resources market having worked on both specialist and generalist roles.

• Multiple sector experience having worked with both the private and public sector.

In my current role as a human resources recruitment specialist I have achieved the following.

• Established relationships with the human resources functions of two leading retail banks and as a result now have preferred supplier status not only for HR, but the wider business.

• Diversified client base by 20% YOY.

• Increased job numbers across client base by 45% YOY.

• Increased productivity and revenue by 30% YOY.

• Requested to be account director by one of the 'Big Four' and have successfully performed in the role.

• Managed multiple projects alongside day to day activity; organising CSR day, charity quiz which raised £6,000 for charity, client and candidate entertainment event.

I believe that my experience to date is very well aligned to the requirements of this role, and I am confident that I will be a valuable asset to your organisation.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me via the contact details provided on my CV. I am available for an interview at your convenience and I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind Regards,

Job Seeker

1. Address the contact: Firstly, don’t forget to address the contact mentioned in the job advert and to quote the reference. This will ensure that your application is processed by the right person and increases your chance of capturing their attention.

2. Outline your current role: It’s important to outline your current job situation and why you are searching for new opportunities as this will provide context to the employer but also give you a chance to demonstrate ambition. 

However, it’s really important not to be negative about your current or past employers or job situation as this will reflect poorly on your attitude towards work.

3. Prove you've done your research: Showing that you’ve done your research about the company is always beneficial but stating why you are interested in them as an employer is particularly important. This is also a good time to tell them why they should also be interested in you as a potential employee and what you can bring to the business.

4. Highlight your transferable skills: Tailoring the information you share in this cover letter will avoid repetition and ensure that you present yourself in the best possible way and match the skills you put forward with the job description. Make sure you highlight your transferable skills, achievements and versatility.

5. Check, check, check: Finally, make sure your letter is neat, brief, and check it for typos. End your cover letter by politely expressing interest in further dialogue in order to keep the discussion open.  

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