Friday, April 17, 2009

Flat Stanley Project

I've been busy with personal projects, one of which was responding to the request for help with her Flat Stanley Project from a daughter of my friend, Roxie. The stated purpose for the students of Kathryn's class was for them to learn how to write friendly letters by asking the recipient to take Flat Stanley on an adventure. The result is that family and friends help teach the children by returning a letter and photos of Flat Stanley enjoying his adventure with them that are then shared with other students by reading the letters and posting them and the photos on a bulletin board.

Excited about the fun I could have playing with the paper doll and what knowledge I might convey to the youngsters, I settled on the concept of geographic antipodes inspired by an HBO documentary about the making of "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency," a show set in Botswana that reminded me that Botswana is the antipode for the Big Island in Hawai`i.

If you are a resident of the U.S., do you remember thinking or hearing someone else say that if you dig a hole straight through the center of the earth, you'd come out in China? Well, it isn't possible because vast majority of places in the U.S. have antipodes in an ocean.

The following are exceptions:

1. A place in northern Alaska has an antipode in Antarctica.

2. A place near the border of Montana and Saskatchewan in Canada has an antipode on Kerguelen Island in the south Indian Ocean.

3. The eastern part of Colorado is antipodal with St. Paul Island and Amsterdam Island, also in the south Indian Ocean.

4. The Big Island in Hawai`i and the Okavango Delta in Botswana.

The highlight of Flat Stanley's visit was when it snowed overnight. We rushed out the next morning to play in the snow before it melted and Stanley made a snow angel.

After mailing the letter that was hand-printed with Noodler's Baystate Blue fountain pen ink on Crane's stationery, I realized that the paper itself was educational and sent another letter:

"Dear Kathryn,

Since I already mailed Flat Stanley back to you yesterday morning, this is a second letter to share with your classmates. Flat Stanley watched me write my first letter, but I didn't remember to tell him the following information that's neat for everyone to know about paper and U.S. paper money in particular.

For hundreds of years, cotton was used to make paper. In the late 1860s, wood pulp from trees began to be used and, today, over 95% of paper is made from wood pulp.

The lowest grades of paper are used for paper such as newsprint. Better grades of paper use a combination of wood pulp and plant fibers. The best grades of paper use only plant fibers such as cotton and linen.

Fine writing paper is watermarked by the company that makes the paper. You can see a watermark by holding the paper up to the light. This paper has 'CRANE & CO.' with '100% cotton' underneath. Do you see it? Lesser grade paper will have a smaller percentage such as '25% cotton' in the watermark while the majority of paper won't have any watermark at all because it's made of wood pulp only.

Where my stationery is 100% cotton, U.S. paper money is 75% cotton and 25% linen. That's why it doesn't come apart when it's accidentally washed like other paper that's made from wood pulp. Crane & Co. has been making the paper used by the U.S. Treasury Department for our paper currency since 1879.

I hope you and your classmates enjoy knowing this because you'll be using paper in one form or another for the rest of your lives."

Please feel free to visit my website for more information about paper for social correspondence and for links to other manufacturers of fine writing paper.

1 comment:

gwadzilla said...

I just met Flat Stanley...

he is so cool!