Saturday, January 02, 2010

Flat Ryan

We're about to embark on a new homeschool project: Flat Ryan!

This project, based on the Flat Stanley books by Jim Brown, was conceived by a teacher named Dale Hubert, who has a website called The Official Flat Stanley Project. I haven't decided if we'll officially register at the website or not, but there's a lot of neat information there, and resources, too.

Flat Stanley, as you'll recall, was smushed flat in a horrific bulletin board accident, yet found ways to enjoy his new pancake shape by sliding under doors, taking trips via airmail, and turning himself into a kite. Talk about turning lemons into lemonade! Not to mention, how's that for a Free Range Kid? Taking a trip to California all by himself, tucked into an envelope with an egg salad sandwich!

The project idea is that an individual child (or whole class) sends out a picture of Flat Stanley (or a flat version of himself) to willing volunteers far and wide. These wonderful volunteers take the flattened friend around their part of the world, and take pictures of him, and write back to the child about their adventures.

We've volunteered ourselves, for one of my friends from high school, with her son (aka, "Flat J.") a couple of years ago, and this year with her daughter (aka, "Flat E."). It's fun. We've taken Flat J. and Flat E. to exotic locales in Georgia--the mountains, some Civil War battlefields, and other things that J. and E. will not find in their home state of Michigan. When Flat J. was here, it actually snowed, so we took a picture of him in our Georgia "blizzard" of two inches of snow. Very fun.

In order to make the Flat Ryan Project a success, we need volunteers to take him on adventures! I'm hopeful a couple of my readers will volunteer for the job. If you'd like to participate, here are the steps:

  • Send an email flatryan2010 AT gmail DOT com, indicating your interest, where you live, and a snail mail address to which we can send you your very own Flat Ryan.
  • When you receive Flat Ryan, take him on some adventures!
  • Take a few pictures of your adventures, and email (or mail) them back to us.
  • Write us an email and tell us a little bit about your adventures, so that Ryan can understand a little bit about your area of the world.

We're especially interested in learning about local landmarks, geography and weather, and--of course--peopleguys! We'd love to have participation from all around the country, and we'd even love some volunteers from outside the US. I'm planning to print out the stories and pictures and put them into a notebook so we can always have our Flat Ryan memories to look through. Really, isn't this a cool geography project?

This is a no-pressure low-stress project--no hurries, no worries. Do it when you can, if you can. If you can't do Flat Ryan, I suspect there will probably be Flat Morgan and Flat Sean projects at some point. Although Morgan was seriously traumatized by hearing the story of poor Stanley's flattening, so it'll definitely be a while before she'll want to do this project!

Thank you SO much!

17 comments:

Hanah said...

This sounds like so much fun, it makes me sad I live in the same city as you!

Andrea aka Heathen Mom said...

Flat projects are always fun. Would you like Flat Ryan to visit Missouri? If so, I'll send you our info.

Trey Givens said...

I AM SO DOWN FOR THIS!!!

Rational Jenn said...

Hanah, let me know if you go on vacation or something, and you can take him with!

Andrea, Flat Ryan would love to visit Missouri! The Real Ryan went to Lake of the Ozarks when he was two years old, but he doesn't remember it. Thanks!

Trey, I have to admit, I was honestly hoping you'd help us with this project! :o)

The first batch of Flat Ryans will go out early next week!

Lynne said...

If we got FlatRyan in April, we'd try to take him to the reenactment of the Battle of Lexington and Concord. At the very least we can take him to the Old North Bridge!

jody said...

When my niece was quite a bit younger, my husband received a "Flat Stanley," which he took with him to Kennebunkport, ME and mailed a picture of F.S. with the Atlantic at high tide behind him. This is a fun project and "Flat Ryan" is a great twist!!

Rational Jenn said...

Lynne, we'll take you up on that if you're serious! You know what a Revolutionary War buff he is. One of these days we'll take the 3D Ryan (et. al.) up there for Patriot's Day, since the 18th is his birthday. :o)

Humanist at Home said...

http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-33025-Portland-Homeschooling-Examiner~y2010m1d2-Travel-around-the-world-without-ever-leaving-the-house#

We're so in. And we might have to do a version of this too. :)

Ansley said...

We're sending an email so that we can join in! Woohoo!

Ansley said...

BTW, if you can send us a Flat Ryan in the mail by Tuesday, we can take him with us to the National Championship game in Pasadena. :o)

Mary said...

I've been reading your Positive Discipline posts since I saw a link in a post on the PD Network. Thanks for sharing your life. It really helps to see how PD works in specific situations.

I have 4 kids: 5,7,9 and 11. We love Flat Stanley. We would be glad to have Flat Ryan visit us in Colorado. I'll send an e mail with our personal info.

Lynne said...

Of course I'm serious. You're talking to a woman who photographed a Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain action figure on four Civil War battlefields (including little Round Top) in three days!

It will be fun.

Daniel said...

Can Flat Ryan be sent as a pdf file via email? I'm heading to Thailand later this week, and will be back in Hanoi, Vietnam on the 12th.

Rational Jenn said...

Lynne, I'm soooooo going to have to get that Chamberlain action figure. He's one of my favorite Civil War peopleguys. :) And Flat Ryan will arrive in a few days. Thanks!

Daniel, Wow! That would be so awesome! Brendan is finishing the photo this morning and tells me that a PDF is possible. Send me an email address (use the Flat Ryan email if you want) and hopefully we can send it today. I appreciate your willingness to print him out for us, and take him on your journeys!

I'm truly thrilled that we have so many volunteers! Ryan and I are PUMPED about this project! :o)

Mark Wickens said...

I’m in! Hopefully that adds another country to the list. I expect I'll learn a thing or two about Toronto myself in the process!

Gaia said...

If Flat Ryan is still traveling in May, I'll take him to Alaska. What a cool project! I'll send an email...

Tasha said...

Hey Jenn. We don't do much traveling, but if Flat Ryan wants to come visit Boston, go to Kindergarten with Addie, help me make cakes, take kickboxing, etc, we'd love to add him to the family for a week or so. It would even help Addie - she could write a journal for him and practice her spelling, reading and writing. They have a "Harley bear" at school that the kids take turns bringing home and have to record their activities in a journal. She eats it up! Flat Ryan would be a nice change!