Sunday, March 20, 2011

Flat Stanley Connections

A few weeks ago someone on Twitter mentioned doing a Flat Stanley project with their own kids - one of the teachers I used to teach with at another school used to do a Flat Stanley project every year and the kids loved it. I started thinking about how I could use some web 2.0 tools to do a Flat Stanley project with a twist. I was thinking out loud on twitter (I do that a lot) and another media specialist that I follow, Jennifer (@Jmalphy on twitter) from Wisconsin responded to me that she would love to do something. So a few emails later we had a plan - we would each choose a first grade class to work with. We would read some Flat Stanley books with them and have the students color their own Flat Stanley. We both scanned in our students Stanley's and put them up on a Picasa web album so that we could each access the Flat Stanley's to print them out and not have our tech. people screaming at us for emailing HUGE files to each other.

Before I gave my students the Flat Stanley's from our friends in Wisconsin, I showed them on a Google map WHERE Wisconsin is, how far away from Georgia it is and what the difference in our weather is (I think the day I showed them the high in WI was 40 and our high was 65!). Once I gave them to the students they went back to their class and brainstormed where they should take pictures of Stanley in our school to share with our new friends. Our school is VERY different from Jennifer's school in Wisconsin, for one her school is K-12 and about 450 students and our school is K-5 and about 950 students!

The class took their Flat Stanley's and a camera around the school for a week. After they took pictures, we had a writing session where the students, their teacher, Mrs. Archibald and I helped them to caption the pictures they took. We then did something pretty cool, we put the photos up on the Mimio board and we had the kids write on the picture who was in the picture. We were then able to save the pictures as jpegs to add to our Animoto video. It added another special touch to our project.

I took one of the Flat Stanley's to Chicago with me and he seemed to have a great time at the Follett Software user conference and at the ST. Patrick's day Parade with me!

Our finished product was an Animoto video that I produced. I just finished it tonight and sent it on to Jennifer in Wisconsin. She will be sending to us in a week or so a Smilebox presentation of her students' experience with our Flat Stanley's. My students can't WAIT to see where their Flat Stanley's went!

This was my first experience of collaborating with another school and with a teacher in my building and it was such a GREAT experience. I can't wait to do more collaborating between my school and other schools near and far. Next up, hopefully a Skype visit with our new friends in Wisconsin!

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