The author’s Flat Stanleys ready for their adventures!
Flat Stanley is on his way! I love doing this project for so many reasons, the first being that it is a great way to introduce geography to young elementary kids. I also tie in letter writing and re-introduce the kids to the old-fashioned way of sending mail- through the ACTUAL MAIL. And the kids love getting Stanley back through the mail addressed to them at school.
Before Parent Orientation I drew Flat Stanley off of one of the pictures in Jeff Brown’s book on a piece of construction paper. He is about 8” tall and 6” wide. I then colored him, front and back, according to the front cover and laminated him. He is just the right size to fit into a 9” X 12” envelope. At Parent Orientation I introduced him and I sent home a letter asking my grown-ups to go through their contacts and send me names and addresses of family and friends who lived outside our state of Oklahoma and outside of the United States. The response was overwhelming. When I’ve done this project before I have gotten at most 20 states, which is good; it gets the point across to the kids and still gets them excited. This year however I received addresses for 39 states and 15 COUNTRIES! I am so excited about this! It opens up a new realm for geography for my little ones!
On the first day of school, I started reading Flat Stanley, by Jeff Brown to my class on Monday. We finished the read aloud on Wednesday. In the book there is a part where Stanley is mailed off to visit a friend in California. I then presented them with our Flat Stanley and told them that he jumped out of the book and wants to spend the year with us visiting different places. On the map I showed the kids the locations of all of the different states and countries that we would be sending Stanley. Since we ended up with so many places, I ended up cloning four more Stanleys, knowing that with international travel there was no way to hit all of our destinations with just one.
We mailed out the five Flat Stanleys on Friday. One went to Missouri, the second went to Hawaii, the third went to California, the fourth went to Panama and the fifth is traveling around Europe, including, Rome, Italy and France.
We included a letter that we had written in class (perfect time to introduce letter writing) with Stanley that asked the recipient to either return a postcard from their state or country, or take a picture with Stanley at a landmark of their state or country, and to sign the name, state and date on the back of Stanley with a sharpie. We also asked for the recipient to return him within a few days of receiving him since the kids were so excited to see where he had been. Whichever family had turned in the address of where he was going, that child got to sign the letter. I also showed the kids how to address an envelope, and on the return address, I put the child’s name so the specific child will get Stanley mailed back to him or her.
Once we start receiving Stanley back from being mailed out, we will stick pins in the map and tie thread around the pins and track his travels. We will also display the postcards and pictures, which will allow me to introduce individual states and countries to the kids. The kids will also keep a travel journal of where Stanley has been, so this will also implement more writing instruction and practice for my students.
There are so many different activities that can be done with Flat Stanley!
Has your class ever done an traveling project like this?