February 7, 2014 by T. Gregory Argall
“We hosted Flat Josh (a 2nd grade Flat Stanley project) this week,” said the caption above the video on my friend Cheri’s Facebook page.
My first instinct was to say something along the lines of “Flat Josh is a Flat Stanley project? Well, that clears up that mystery,” mainly because I haven’t been needlessly sarcastic in a while and I was jonesing for a hit of snarky. But instead I took the high road and actually Googled “Flat Stanley project.”
Apparently, Flat Stanley projects are part of a learning initiative that was started twenty years ago by a Canadian from right here in Ontario. I’ve lived my whole life in Ontario and I’m shamed to admit that I’ve never heard of Flat Stanley. (There are many large rocks in Ontario and it seems that I’ve been living under one of them.) The project is based on a series of Flat Stanley books that have been around for fifty years. (Big rock. Me. Under it. No excuse.)
Flat Stanley, as it turns out, is a paper cutout kid who travels a lot because his family likes to mail him to places. I think. Something like that. What am I? Google? Anyway, the project encourages children to make their own paper cutout friends and mail them to family and friends, documenting their flat person’s travels. It’s actually kind of interesting and fun.
The video (remember the video I mentioned way back in the first sentence?) is about Flat Josh, who lives in Colorado, visiting my young friend Trace, who lives in Iowa. After the visit, Flat Josh is going back to Colorado to live with Trace’s cousin.
On a sidenote, Trace and his sisters are blessed with a wonderful mom whose many talents included awesome video-editing skills. Their dad’s kind of cool, too, and has an amazing singing voice. The whole family (including the kids and grandparents) is ridiculously talented and I’m proud to know them.
Anyway, here’s the video.
It’s inspired me to make a Flat Stanley project of my own.
My Flat Stanley project (Flat Arse) is looking for adventures and it up to you to help him find them. Click on the picture to embiggen it, print it and cut him out. You can colour him in if you want. The colour of his shirt might have an impact on the types of adventures he has. Then make a short video, or take some photos, or just write a brief paragraph or two about where Flat Arse has gone. The moon, Atlantis, Westeros, New Jersey. Wherever.
I’ll post as many as I can here on my blog.
At the very least, this will be a humbling lesson for me about just how much people really don’t care what I do here. Or maybe I’ll get some funny stories out of it. Who knows?
In the meantime, as always, try to be nice to each other.