A school librarian is using international postage stamps to teach children about world geography.

At Rivercrest Elementary in Bartlett, Tennessee, librarian Karla Norman has opened up the world to fifth graders showing them stamp collections donated by colleagues at Memphis Stamp Collectors. The small postage stamps tell a lot about countries and are a great teaching tool.

Using International Postage Stamps to Teach About World Geography“They are really thrilled I am using stamps to put ideas before kids in an interesting way,” said Norman.   Students had loads of questions about collecting and about the postage stamps themselves.

Students worked in pairs, examining eight stamps in an official glassine envelope. They had a handout to help identify the nation that issued the stamp, a magnifying glass and tweezers.

“Now, do all countries speak English?” Norman asked.


“Do they use our alphabet?”


She slid a stamp from the Repubique of  Côte d’Ivoire on the projector. “Now, we know it must be a country where they speak French.”

The children ventured guesses, such as Paris, France, and finally agreed it came from the Ivory Coast.  They then set about identifying the nation on their own stamps, placing the stamp on a map.

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