Thursday November 17, 2011
At Orchard Elementary School, throughout the fall, the second grade classes of Mr. Schmidt and Mrs. Gurwicz have been engaged in a special project called Global Read Aloud. Our students have participated in exciting learning opportunities involving the books and characters of the Flat Stanley Worldwide Adventure Series. What has made this exciting and engaging you may wonder?
“I found out that Flat Stanley is popular all over the country…the world!” one student shared. We found this out by using technology to collaborate and connect with students around the United States. After joining our two classes for our twice weekly Flat Stanley interactive read aloud times where students discussed predictions and key story points, our second graders formed story questions to pose to other second graders participating in the Flat Stanley Global Read Aloud. We came together using Skype to participate in book discussions with new friends in Ohio, Georgia, and New York. Skype is used to connect with others on a global scale. We used this video phone call service to interact with other classrooms in an effort to learn about each other, our local environments and our thoughts about these great stories.
Our classes have created two large child-size characters, Flat Stanley and Flat Stephanie (a new character created by our students), using a paper collage technique, as well as smaller Flat Stanley characters to be taken home and given opportunities to have adventures with our students. We sent Big Flat Stanley to New York City where he is a guest of our friends at the Leman Manhattan Preparatory School. He will soon be traveling to Staten Island on the ferry and will see the Statue of Liberty firsthand. We included brochures, photos, a letter, and maple candies to give them a taste of Vermont. They, in turn, have sent us their Flat Stanley as well as wonderful photos of Flat Stanley’s adventures around the city: Flat Stanley in Brooklyn, one of the five boroughs in New York City; Flat Stanley in front of the Red Cube sculpture created by Isamu Noguchi on Broadway; Flat Stanley in front of the Unisphere in Corona Park, built in 1964 for the World’s Fair; Flat Stanley on the subway. What a great way for us to “see” this part of New York. Of course, our students are showing Flat Stanley around Vermont, as well as places as far away as London, England. He even accompanied us on a hike to celebrate reaching our first school wide behavioral goal.
We plan on reading more of the Flat Stanley World Adventure Series. We’ll be discussing and writing our thoughts and plans for new story ideas so that we may create new chapters and books. Our classes have all sorts of ideas for sharing our stories online with our friends. Who knows who will see our stories? People in the U.S., Europe? Asia? We will see. Maybe Flat Stanley will go for a visit and have a new adventure.
SOURCE: Deb Gurwicz & Steven Schmidt, Orchard School, 2nd Grade Teachers