Project – Based Learning

Flat Stanley Unit


This is a unit for second grade students.  In this unit, we will read and discuss different stories about mailing different or unusual items.  We will talk about typical mail (“snail mail”) and e-mail.  We will also discuss mailing packages.  We will discuss attachments to e-mail and how they can be thought of as packages.  The children will be writing their own stories and writing to a relative or friend using the both forms of mail we discuss.  This will include sending an attachment to the e-mail address each child has given me.


Parts of the Unit – Objectives included


Objective 1:  Language Arts Activities

          The children will listen to and discuss three (3) different stories about different kinds of mailings.  These stories will cover fiction and non-fiction books.  These stories are:


          1.  Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown (fiction)

          2.  Mailing May by Michael O. Tunnell (non-fiction)

          3.  Never Mail An Elephant by Mike Thaler (fiction)


We will be discussing the differences between fiction and non-fiction books.  The children will give their thought about the differences and the answers will be charted and then discussed.


Objective 2:  Math and Art Activities:  After listening to and discussing the stories, the children will create their own “Flat Stanley” person, naming it after themselves and then they will write their own adventure.  To make their own “Flat Stanley,” each child will choose a blank body form (to represent their skin color) and several pieces of colored construction paper.  They will be instructed to use the colored construction paper to make clothing to fit the blank body form.  We will review our math skills in measurement and then use these skills in measuring the body and in making the clothing.  After doing so, the children will cut and glue the pieces they have made onto the body form.  They will also use the colored construction paper to create hair for their person.  The only parts they will be allowed to color will be the face and the hands of the person.  They may, if they wish to, cut out hands from the construction paper and glue them on or they may cut out the fingers on the form.  I will be checking to see how well they follow the directions for this part but there will not be a rubric for this.


Objective 3:  Language Arts and Social Studies Activities

          Upon completing the person, each child will work on writing an adventure story about how they became flat, one thing they did after becoming flat and how they became full again.  The children will follow the writing process checking for sentence structure (capital letters, punctuation marks, and complete sentences.)  The children will complete a first draft and then read it to a peer editor before presenting it to me for checking.  After completing this portion of the writing process, each child will work on a final draft.  They will need to have the peer editor check it over again before presenting it to me for final approval.  Each child will use the WRITING/SPEAKING CHECKLIST (attached sheets) to check their first and final drafts before having me check their story and before writing their final copy.  Once all corrections have been made and checked over by both the peer editor and myself, the final copies will be worked on and completed, including all of the illustrations. 


          After the books have been completed and bound (“published”) the children will share their stories with their fourth grade buddies that they have been working with during the year.  An additional project will be a PowerPoint Presentation using the children’s “Flat Stanley” figures and their stories.  Download time may be long when using a dial-up service.


Objective 4:  Language Arts Activities

          The children will have to share with their own class their completed “Flat Stanley” person, tell the class how they became flat and how they became full again.  They will be using the speaking skill as listed on the rubric sheet entitled ORAL PRESENTATION RUBRIC.


          The children will be given a week to ten (10) days to complete their stories using the writing process.  This will include going from first drafts to the final publications.  The following week each child will share their stories with their fourth grade buddy as the fourth grade teacher has time.  The children will not be reading their whole story to the whole fourth grade class.


          The children will be marked using the WRITING RUBRIC (sheet attached.)  They will be marked in how their stories are written and how their oral presentations went (sharing with their own class – not with their fourth grade buddy.)


          When the children have finished sharing their stories, they will be discussing ways to mail their created “Flat Stanley” person to a relative or friend that does not live in their own city or town.  I will be asking the children to choose a relative or friend who lives in another state (if possible.)  We will review our discussions about different ways to mail letters and/or packages to people.  They will collect from their parents the e-mail address of a relative or friend and that person’ mailing address.  A database will be created using the mailing address and the e-mail address of those people the children will be “sending themselves” to.  The children will work at writing and sending an e-mail message to the person they chose along with a scanned image of their “Flat Stanley” person (this is sent as an attachment.)  In their

e-mail, each child will need to explain how “they got flat.”  A cover letter explaining the project will also be included with each message.  Then, each child will put the “Flat Stanley” person in an envelope, along with a copy of the cover letter (as explained above) and a written explanation of how “they became flat.”  The people receiving the project will be instructed how to fill out a form stating when the package was received and when it is being returned.  This is to chart how long the “snail mail” takes as compared to e-mailing the messages and attachments.  An attachment to an e-mail will be discussed as if it were a package being sent.  The projects will be mailed before the April vacation and I will check after the vacation to find out when (if any) responses were sent to the children from the person they sent the project to.   These activities are Social Studies Activities.


Anticipated Length of Unit


          This whole unit may take a month to complete, depending on how long it takes for each child’s “Flat Stanley” to be returned.  We will chart how long it takes for each one to be returned.  The children will be marked using rubrics for their creative writing stories.  They will also be marked using rubrics on how the present their project to the class (attached rubric sheets following the WRITING CHECKLIST sheets.)


          I used the following websites to create the WRITING CHECKLIST and the Rubric sheets in this unit.  The sites used were:  (Writing Checklist)  (Speaking Checklist)


To create a 6 + 1 Trait Writing Model Rubric and a Oral Presentation Rubric click on the following link:


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