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Monday, April 1, 2013

Cool Website Spotlight -- Flat Stanley Project


In a previous entry, I highlighted iEARN as a useful tool to connect your students to the world. Online collaboration networks are not just for high school students, but many sites exist for elementary aged student collaboration. Although the type of collaboration does look different than the high school, students are able to interact in a meaningful way. For example, the Flat Stanley Project focuses on literacy and intercultural interactions. 

After reading the book, Flat Stanley, students are asked to make their own versions of the character Flat Stanley. Students are then required to keep a journal detailing his adventures. As opposed to a first person interaction, early educators believe that the third person focus improves the quality of the writing and encourages the creative of their students as opposed to the traditional first person approach. The student’s Flat Stanley character and journal will then be sent to a pen pal or classroom somewhere around the world where another student will receive it. This student is asked to treat Flat Stanley and similarly document his travels. On the Flat Stanley Project website, students can track the travels of their own Flat Stanley. A similar project, Monster Exchange features a comparable theme and focus on reading and literacy.
How would I use this in a math classroom? If you are going to do it, tracking Flat Stanley's journey and calculating miles traveled could be interesting. Perhaps extending it to suppose that the student was going to take the trip themselves... how much would it cost? This is more geared toward late elementary grades / early middle grades, but could be an interesting cross curricular, cross cultural collaboration. 

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