Site hosted by Build your free website today!

What to do when Owney visits your school

Photo editing by Nanci Hamilton-Hoffman

The big day has come at last. Owney is at your school!

Mailing Owney

If you are a participating teacher, you will receive the list of e-mail and regular postal addresses. Make sure to address Owney to the next class and send him on his way right away. This year, we do not want to slow Owney's progress or he won't make it to all 50 states and the president. Please make sure to get Owney back on his journey as soon as possible.


When Owney comes to your class, you will send a picture postcard from your state to each of the other 49 classes. Postcards can be hand-made or store bought. You might ask parents at the beginning of the year to buy a few as well as postcard stamps. If students write interesting facts like special places to see, famous people that lived there, the current and typical weather, what Owney did at your school, or other interesting things, that would be great! We would all get the most benefit from this. It's so exciting to have a postcard from every state. Don't let your state be the only one that isn't represented on bulletin boards around the country.

It would probably be a good idea to have your 50 postcards almost ready to go when you get news from about 3 states before you on the list. That way you can just add what Owney did and then send the cards off when you mail Owney. If your postcards are not quite ready, send Owney anyway. The postcards can be sent later. We do not want to slow Owney's progress or he won't make it to all 50 states and the president.

You could copy the addresses to cut up and glue to the postcards or have students divide them up and address the postcards by hand. The teachers with younger students might want to print up information about your state to glue onto the postcards. Older students might do their own research and writing. We may be copying the backs of the postcards for bulletin boards. We should all write in black ink on the postcards so it shows up on a copy.


Send a paragraph or two in an e-mail message to Bev . The message could contain the same things on your postcard or a little more about what your class did when Owney visited. You could even send electronic photos or links to your school's web page. Please make sure you have parental permission for any students' photos.


Many classes have parties when Owney visits. News media have even been invited to Owney parties. Owney has met principals, mayors, and even a governor or two. Regional food is often served at the parties. One school had recipes sent from the other teachers in the group and then made distributed recipe books of regional favorites. This is a great time to read the story again.

Field Trips

One year we took a walking field trip to the post office to mail Owney. It was fun tour, and it helped the kids see that Owney actually was traveling with the mail. I don't know if a field trip with Owney would be feasible with this arrangement. Field trips take advance planning, and you wouldn't have a firm date for receiving Owney. You would probably have to have the permission slips all ready to go and make the last minute arrangements when Owney arrived. If you live near any interesting historical sites that would make a wonderful field trip, too. This year, we do not want to slow Owney's progress or he won't make it to all 50 states and the president.

Collector Pins

Many classes added treasures (rocks, souvenirs, etc.) to Owney's box. This adds a tremendous weight and adds to the postage costs to the teachers at the end of the journey. I don't want to create a financial burden for anyone. If you are going to add something, please keep it light - one small pin or something.

Did you notice the following sentence recurring on these pages?
This year, we do not want to slow Owney's progress or he won't make it to all 50 states and the president.
I hope so. A year seems like such a long time. Some schools end as early as May. It's really easy to think that a day or two delay won't make a difference. If it takes Owney just one week to visit your school and make it through the postal system to the next state. . .
Let's see. . . That sounds like a math problem. . .
(1 week x 50 states)+long delay at the White House. . .
Hmmm. . . I don't know about your school, but here in California
1 school year < 52 weeks
52 week journey for Owney = disappointed students in the last states and the states that finish school in May

I have figured out an itinerary for Owney that allows 4 day from one state to the next. That's not very long. The postal service often takes longer. I have allowed for week-ends, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and spring breaks when classes can't mail Owney. I have tried to check for other holidays that might interfere. I've tried to cut all the slack off the schedule without shorting anyone. If Owney stays on schedule, he will be mailed to the president at the end of the year. I will try to arrange for some politician to help us get Owney to the president.
Keeping Owney on a steady pace is probably the most important part of this project. If you want to keep Owney for one extra day, please mail him overnight delivery. It will cost more, but we do not want to slow Owney's progress or he won't make it to all 50 states and the president.

OK. That's the last time I'll say it. I hope we all have fun and learn a lot.

Back to the opening page