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Flat Stanley in the 21st Century

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Keywords: Cultural Diversity, Social Studies/Geography, Technology, Language Arts, Math
Subject(s): Spelling, English/Language Arts, Social Studies, Photography, Information Skills, Reading, Writing, Special Needs, Geography, Technology, Social Skills, Video, Grammar, Civics, Math, History
Grades 1 through 5
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Research and Information Fluency
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: Swift Creek Middle School, Clayton, NC
Planned By: Carolyn Kay
Original Author: Carolyn Kay, Clayton
After using language arts skills while reading the story and analyzing the author's purpose, the students will a) analyze how
individuals, families, and groups are similar and different by comparing and contrasting these similarities and differences, b)
explore the benefits of diversity in the United States, c) use geographic terminology and tools to compare and contrast
geographic features of places within various communities and throughout the world.
The students will then use technology skills to create digital images of themselves, learn to compose and send emails with
attachments to friends and family members, and create multimedia presentations from various digital responses from
around the world.
They will also participate in teleconferences with respondents via internet programs, allowing real-time discussions and
exchanging of information.
The project will give students added practice on skills in reading (fluency and comprehension), social studies (learning geographic terminology and map reading skills), math (organizing and graphing data) and technology (safe and responsible use and care of technology resources, keyboarding skills, and creation of multimedia projects).
Students will be given a solid foundation upon which to build skills in each area throughout elementary and secondary school.

Students read "Flat Stanley" as part of their reading instruction, and then create the body of their flat person. Digital pictures are taken and printed of their face, which is then added to the body. Each body is scanned so that it may be attached to an email (addresses provided by parents) and sent to friends and family,
and partner schools.
Responses are collected and sorted according to class and student, charted on classroom wall maps, and printed for
scrapbooks. Information about the communities (weather, geographical features, culture) is shared with other students and classes.

Students create their own multimedia project (PowerPoint Presentation, VoiceThread, Video, or Photostory) during computer lab as a culminating event.

By using digital photography, multimedia software, email, and voice over internet technology, students take control of their learning, and enhance their technological creativity and skills.
Through the use of email over the post office, and digital photographs rather than printed pictures, students are more likely to receive timely responses from participants. Participation is nearly 100%, as there is no cost for printing or mailing pictures and packages, it takes little effort to download and email pictures, and transmission is instantaneous.

By bringing "Flat Stanley" into the 21st century, we are able to recycle an old idea and breathe new life into the project.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
As listed in the grant proposal, the project covers Technology, Social Studies/Geography, Language Arts, and Math
Throughout the project, students are informally assessed by comparing and contrasting different schools, communities, states, and countries. The final project and student learning is assessed using an integrated curriculum rubric. Projects are shared with other students, staff, parents, and the community via Open House events, PTA meetings, and inclusion on school websites.
Materials: Point and Shoot, Digital Cameras, Portable, Microphones, DVD/VCR Players, Hard Drives, Flash/USB Drives, CDs and DVDs, Word Processor, Spreadsheet, Podcasting, Web Page, Slideshow, Video Tools
Other Items: 1 Tool Factory Movie Maker Network Site License, $699.95 each, total of $699.95