According to the delightful book Flat Stanley: His Own Adventure by Jeff Brown, "Stanley" was an ordinary little boy who was accidentally flattened by a bulletin board that happened to fall on him while he was lying in his bed. He was okay though, and found that his two dimensional state made him just right for traveling by mail. His family began sending him via envelop to different parts of the world. Stanley had extraordinary adventures and then was mailed home after each trip to share them with his family.
Kindergartners were strategically introduced to Flat Stanley right before the holiday break with the hope of Stanley traveling with them to create some new adventures. Stanley was also sent to loved ones and friends with the hope that they would be sent back to SK so that adventures could be shared with the class on his/her return. We were thrilled when Stanley showed up in our mailbox within just a few weeks after having some amazing times.
Our first Stanley came from Daniel's family and friends in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, Boston Massachusetts, North East England and Cincinnati, Ohio. This Stanley shopped for Pittsburgh Steeler's football gear, visited Daniel's cousin Nate on the campus of Harvard University, and scaled New England's Roman Wall. Stanley also stopped at Gateshead (above) to see an angel on the way
The next Stanley traveled to Burt Lake, MI (considered a part of the connecting waters of Northern Michigan's "Inland Waterway") to visit Andrew's family. This Stanley spied Chickadees at a bird feeder, admired authentic American Indian regalia for Pow Wow dancing and even adorned a smudge of sage as a part of honoring the ancestors while sitting with Andrew's uncle enjoying a campfire. We also received gorgeous postcards that depicted a 'creek that never freezes' and a stunning sunset on the lake.
Our next "Stanley" adventure, however, contained a bit of serendipity! While reading our collection of trickster tales by Gerald McDermott (see previous post) we came across his book called Pig-Boy: A Trickster Tale from Hawai'i. This book mentioned landmarks, traditional dress, and of course, Hawaiian folklore. Oddly enough, we also received mail in that same week from, where else? Hawaii! Edison's Grandmother sent a bundle containing a "Stanley" adorned with a traditional flowered shirt, a ukulele (our instrument of choice in Music class lately, by the way) and a necklace made of cola beans. Other sent items included postcards, much desired Hawaiian clad Lego figures, a scrapbook, and even a Hawaiian newspaper article about our President and Mrs. Obama on a visit to his hometown! (Above right) Edison adorns a flowery Hawaiian shirt from Grandma! His Flat Stanley returned from Hawaiian wearing one as well!)
Our class created folders, are scouring the classroom's globe and collecting various maps depicting our Stanley's adventure spots. We are learning about the different continents, the proximity of various U.S. states to one another, and investigating more about our wonderful state of Michigan. We will also be practicing directions using a compass rose and other map symbols.
The Flat Stanley project is a great way to extend our learning about each other, our families, our country and world. This activity is perfectly suited to our weekly "Global Experiences" activities and gives us an opportunity to increase our understanding and mutual respect for ourselves and each other. It allows us to explore our differences and increases our understanding of how much we are actually alike. It also allows us to have adventures that may not otherwise be possible! Kindergartners can not wait to see where Stanley visits next!