02/28/11 — Spring Creek Elementary caricatures travel country

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Spring Creek Elementary caricatures travel country

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on February 28, 2011 1:46 PM

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Ian Burchette, a fifth-grader at Spring Creek Elementary School, holds up his "Flat Ian" caricature.

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Guy Harvey, a wildlife conservationist and artist, was in Florida recently for an autograph signing and signed "Flat Annette," a drawing by Annette Smith, fifth-grader at Spring Creek Elementary.

Students at Spring Creek Elementary School got to live vicariously through caricatures of themselves recently, inspired by a book about a boy who mailed himself in an envelope after being accidentally flattened in his sleep by a bulletin board.

The story of "Flat Stanley" by Jeff Brown turned into a five-month project for the 90 fifth-graders, who created drawings of themselves, which were then mailed to family members or friends outside of the area.

What started out as a lesson in creative letter writing turned into a travelogue of epidemic proportion, said Carla Kincaid, social studies/language arts teacher at the school.

"This project exceeded my expectations," she said. "Not only did students have fun creating silhouettes of themselves, but they were also able to study about the places they 'visited.'

"Students received responses back from 18 states, including Texas, Florida, Minnesota and Illinois, with some letters being returned from as far away as Alaska, Hawaii and Guatemala.

Some students even received photos back depicting their "visits" that became instant classroom hits, Ms. Kincaid said -- "Flat Michael" in front of the Sears Tower, "Flat Chloe" in front of a bald eagle in Wasilla, Alaska, "Flat Alexa" at the Titanic Memorial, "Flat Casey" in front of the Hollywood sign and "Flat Lillian" at Niagara Falls.

One student, Annette Smith, sent her "Flat Annette" to Florida to visit an aunt. To her surprise, her drawing was later returned with a detailed letter describing an array of adventures.

"'Flat Annette' danced with a belly dancer, went to a movie, went shopping and played video games," Annette said. "My aunt works at a hospital and once when 'Flat Annette' got her arm torn in my aunt's purse, she took her to get an X-ray."

But the best part, the student said, was getting to "meet" Guy Harvey, a nationally known wildlife conservationist and artist.

When Annette's aunt learned that Harvey would be in Florida for an autograph signing, she traveled there, shared "Flat Annette's" story and obtained his autograph.

"This was an exciting project," said Ms. Kincaid. "(It) integrated several learning components, such as writing, art, social studies, public speaking and Accelerated Reader.

"I am very appreciative of the many parents who helped make this interactive learning project a success, and look forward to engaging students again with the project next school year."