Flat Stanley is a wonderful way to connect students with people and places around the world. The project has been around for 20 years! Recently, my global teaching partners and I found a new twist for using Flat Stanley in a project! Classes in Australia, Lebanon, South Africa, Finland, and the Untied States wanted to complete a project that involved a Staley FROM each location being present AT each location… at the SAME TIME! If you have used the postal service to send items to schools in faraway places, you know how long that can take, expecially considering how many locations we were using.
Imagination is a powerful tool in young children, and our students had no problem using their vivid imaginations to devise a simpler way to allow our Flat Stanley characters to travel the globe. Here is a step by step explanation of how it worked:
In each classroom, each student created a Flat Stanley holding the flag of his or her country. Those would be the characters meeting the traveling Stanleys as they arrived.
Students voted on one Stanley to represent their class by traveling to the other locations.
Each class selected a travel portal in their classroom, into which the traveling Stanley was placed. (My class chose a Cat in the Hat hat, for example. Another class chose a windowsill.) A photo of the Stanley and a message was sent by the class to faraway classrooms via email, letting them know the character was on his or her way.
Unknown to the students, the teacher scanned the paper figure and emailed it to the other teachers.
When the scanned Stanley arrived, the teachers made a color copy and placed the traveling Stanley in the portal of the receiving classroom.
The next day, the arriving Stanley was discovered in each classroom and a photo was sent to the originating school letting them know their Flat Stanley had arrived.
In a very short time, all of the Stanleys had completed their journeys! Each class had a visiting Stanley from four other countries at the same time.
Once all of the travelers were in place, the classes were given an assignment. They were to create a story telling about where they live to share with their friends in faraway places. Each class handled that differently. One teacher created an iTunes U course explaining the assignment. Her students used BookCreator on their iPads to make an iBook about their country. In another, the class divided into groups and created presentations about different regions of their country. My class created a fictional story about the visit to the United States with a problem arising when they wanted to go home. They created photographs of the Stanleys in a variety of locations around our country. The photographs were created by using a photocopier to shrink the paper characters. The tiny images were cut out and placed on images printed from the internet.
Mount Rushmore, the Statue of Liberty, the White House, and other locations were used to illustrate the story. Once they had placed the tiny Stanleys on the full page photos, they used iPads to take pictures of the pictures. The story itself was written in small groups and combined for the finished product:
All of the stories were shared on group wikispaces pages called Faraway Pals. As the project was completed, we sent the Stanleys back to their original classes via the portals in our roooms. How excited the kids were when they discovered their own Stanley (who had, of course, been absent while traveling) back in the portal! Great fun, delightful imagination, and new knowledge of faraway places for all! (Geography standards, literacy standards, collaboration and media standards covered in an innovative manner making learning fun once again!)
(Full Disclosure: I have not received compensation of any kind for mentioning the products or services mentioned in this post. I was not solicited to write this post and I have no relationship with any of the companies mentioned.)