Sunday, October 24, 2010
Thoughts About Starting a Stamp Club
We need more stamp clubs for beginners. There are plenty of stamp clubs out there for lifelong collectors that sub-categorize stamps down to "new zealand stamps of animals with cancellation marks." God bless these collectors and clubs but their singular passion excludes nearly the entire planet.
We need more stamp clubs for beginners. And guess what the folks whom sponsor these clubs need not to be experts on stamps. Ironically, most stamp clubs for beginners are started by stamp beginners. This is only fitting because everyone learns something new and the class do not have to be subjected to cookie-cutter lessons on stamp history.
I am always inspired by new stamp clubs simply due to the fact that most take on a unique angle on how to present stamps, how to speak out what stamps mean to them or how their students might explore what stamps could mean to them. These open-minded approaches are essential to keep stamp collecting alive and well in the 21st century. Where it is written that stamp collecting is supposed to contain dry speeches about ancient slips of colouful paper promising to cure insomina if not frighten kids into the digital arms of video games.
Here are some of the approaches I have noted across the world:
Cultural: class focuses on a certain language or country of origin
Historical: class studies various historical figures
Topical: class collects stamps on animals, fish, nature, etc.
Philatelic: class groups world countries and learns about each group
Here are some of the instruments or techniques used by new stamp clubs:
Projection: instructor places an interesting stamp in a projector and displays to entire class
Digital: instructor saves certain stamp images and enlarges them on a computer screen
Foreign Identification: Using translation lists, a class can learn how to identify world stamps
Soaking & Pressing: Donated stamps on paper are soaked by students, removed from paper, dried and pressed in books for collecting, trading or classroom presentation
Here are some useful tips:
Try and get the parents involved, if they are not willing to be supportive, it's truly hard to get kids to stick with stamps compared to all the other so-called exciting distractions out there
Don't get complicated. One stamp can have 15 different angles of discussion or interest. Pick one. Have fun. Move on.
Whenever possible keep the class size smaller rather than larger: Not more than 10 if possible. Remember your students will have geniune questions. Even 5 questions from 10 students is a time management killer. Time is important because most kids have attention span issues.
If you don't know an answer, jot down the question, research it later and make it a cool annoucement during next class. Don't waste time guessing or making stuff up. Kids can Google too.