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Shape Up Stanley

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Anita Furness and Patrick Jones from Aurora, New York submitted this good unit idea for grades K-5.  

Background: This is an interdisciplinary unit based on the book entitled Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown. We used this unit during the month of March to celebrate Wellness Week. Our main activities lasted a week, but the idea certainly lends itself to becoming something much bigger.

Collaborative Approach: Each of the support areas participated and hung a large puzzle piece with a healthy action written on it. Our large Physical Education bulletin board featured a giant puzzle of Flat Stanley with those same healthy actions written on each piece of that puzzle. Putting all the pieces together makes for a well and healthy Stanley who may then regain his shape. The word of the month for March was “tolerence,” so Physical Education and classrooms also used individual differences in body size and shape as a visual aide to demonstrate this character trait.

Our Partners: The following support areas each had puzzle pieces and here’s what they said:

1.) Nurse – Visit your Doctor or Dentist for regular checkups.
2.) Cafeteria – Eat a balanced diet everyday.
3.) Library – Relax with a good book.
4.) Art – Exercise your brain and hands.
5.) Music – Dance to music for exercise and relax to some music.
6.) Science – Take care of your environment.
7.) Physical Education – Exercise every day.

Here is how each participant contributed to “putting it all together”:

Classroom Teachers: The week before “Shape up Stanley” week, each teacher read Flat Stanley to their class. We created a journal page for each day of the week. They contained open statements to be filled in like: “For dinner I had…”, “For breakfast I ate…”, “I relaxed by…”, “At recess I…”, and “During Physical Education…”.

Art: During the week before “Shape up Stanley” week, the students drew their own Flat Stanley who would be worn around their neck as a necklace while in school. They also created a file portfolio where the cover was a “bed” for Stanley to slide into at the end of each day and a pocket to hold the journal pages.

Music: The students were working on the concept of “beat” and pretended to move like Flat Stanley to each beat pattern.

Physical Education: Activities in class carried on as normal for us. A little more emphasis was placed on checking pulse rates and what it means to elevate them. Next year we are going to incorporate the Food Guide Pyramid activity we got from Great Activities.

Media Center: Our librarian kept out sport books to keep physical activity in students” minds while encouraging more students to read their book and come back to Open Library the next day for another.

Closing: To conclude our wellness week and reemphasize the “putting all the pieces together” concept for a well and healthy lifestyle, the PTO generously purchased “Compose a Puzzles.” Each student received their own blank puzzle and drew themselves in the center and wrote around the perimeter the elements of a healthy lifestyle (exercise, relaxation, good diet, take care of the environment, regular check-ups). After drawing their pictures, the students could take apart their puzzle and make themselves “Shape Up!”

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