Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Flat Stanley, my traveling buddy!

Stanley's Official Site:

I received the following E-mail this morning:

Those of you "in the know", I have been sent a Stanley from a school in Florida. Last spring I was able to get him on the ISS, but I think a trip to Japan is just as cool.

We took him to Trinity Site here in New Mexico last month and I am hoping that someone who is day-tripping to Hiroshima might take him along and grap a few shots. The students who sent him will be reading Sadako and learning how to fold cranes. I will also get him to the Tokyo station to meet the statue of Hachiko, the loyal dog who waited for his master at the Tokyo station, even after his master had died at work which I learned about from the book Taka-chan and I, A dog’s Journey to Japan. I will take him to Okinowa, all around Tokyo (but maybe not where you go), to Nikko, and Kamakura.

Please think about taking a Stanley Clone (copy) on your journies to/around Japan so he can have the most adventures ever! This is a great interactive with students and a great icebreaker.

I will take Stanley to Yanagawa, Fukuoka. I will also take Stanley to meet my friends in Tokyo and the interesting places they will take me during my two free days. He will be with my host families in Japan.

I was not aware of Stanley until I received this e-mail. I contacted my lower Division principal, Mrs. France and much to my surprise, this is what she said: "We have a Flat Stanley book club after school, Mrs. Lamb and Mrs. Thielke are in charge." Now, I have another reason to take Stanley!

Flat Stanley is a delightful book by Jeff Brown that is about a little boy who is flattened when a bulletin board falls on him. He wants to visit his friends in California, but it’s too expensive to go by plane or train. Since Stanley is so flat, his family mails him to visit his friends! A teacher in the mid-90’s decided to use this book as a catalyst for what has become a favorite writing activity for grade school teachers everywhere! Dale Hubert of Ontario, Canada thought that mailing (or e-mailing) Flat Stanleys around the country/world would be an excellent way to develop student’s writing and communication skills. (Visit this official Flat Stanley site here). Students write letters and color personalized Stanleys to send to schools and people, and learn about new countries and cultures, as well as make new friends!
I first heard about this project in early October from a former Suder School teacher, Alice King, who now teaches in Naples, FL. I adapted the project by using my family and friends as contacts since our students’ outside resources are limited. Letters that are mailed out include Stanley (a colored-in version), a letter from a student, and helpful ideas from me on how to ‘play host’ during Stanley’s visit. As the host, pen pals are asked to take Stanley around their city, take pictures at famous landmarks, and then write a letter back sharing Stanley’s visit. We keep track of where Stanley’s have been mailed on a chart and on two large maps in the hallway (click here to see an example). It has become a smash hit at our school! We’ve sent over fifty Flat Stanley letters to all corners of the United States and overseas to three continents! Every child has enjoyed seeing one or more of his/her Flat Stanleys safely return to Suder. This is a phenomenal feat considering that some Stanleys returned all the way from Serbia, London, Zurich, and Sydney. (Take a tour of our Flat Stanley Gallery). We even had one come back from the White House, which features President Bush holding our Stanley in the Oval Office!
There are many variations of the Stanley project, and dozens of websites that share Stanley success stories. From:

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