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'Flat Stanley' embarks on global adventure

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Kayla Bunge
February 20, 2008
— Stanley Lambchop is on a tour of the world.

He didn’t take a swimsuit for his stop in Hawaii or skis for his visit to Colorado. He didn’t even book a seat on a plane.


But Stanley Lambchop is different than other boys because he’s flat.


The second-graders at Woods School met Stanley a few weeks ago when they read the book that tells the story of how he became flattened when a bulletin board fell on him.


His squashed state allows him to travel easily, the students discovered.


“They thought this was really neat that they could put him in an envelope ... and send him off somewhere,” said teacher Judy Kyle.


The students have sent Flat Stanley to relatives and friends across the country and overseas. They have asked that Stanley be treated as a visiting guest and that his adventures be documented in words and pictures.


The students’ Flat Stanleys are headed to Texas, where he’ll encounter prickly cacti; Colorado, where he’ll see the Rocky Mountains; China, where he’ll climb the Great Wall; and Iraq, where he’ll spend time with servicemen and women.


“I think it’s going to be quite a record to send this guy all the way to an island,” said 8-year-old Corbin Larkin, who is sending his Flat Stanley to Hawaii, where his grandparents spend the winter.


This is the second year Kyle’s second-graders are sending Flat Stanley packing and eagerly awaiting his return.


The project integrates geography and map skills as well as letter writing, spelling, reading and penmanship.


“(The students) aren’t going to realize they’re learning something,” Kyle said. “We’re covering a lot of areas ... and that’s a good thing.”


The second-graders have just sent Stanley off and they already can’t wait for him to come back—but not without pictures and a journal full of stores, of course.


Donaven Jacques, 7, said he thinks Stanley is in for quite an adventure.


“He’ll be happier instead of sitting on a piece of paper,” he said.


FLAT STANLEY FACTS

WHO IS FLAT STANLEY?


Flat Stanley is the title character of a 1964 children’s book by Jeff Brown. Stanley Lambchop is flattened when a bulletin board falls on him. He soon discovers advantages to being flat: he can slide under doors, slip through sidewalk grates and even fold himself into an envelope to be mailed across the country.


WHAT IS THE FLAT STANLEY PROJECT?

The project was started in 1995 by a third-grade teacher in Ontario, Canada. It provides students an opportunity to make connections with students all over the world. Students first read the book and make paper Flat Stanleys. They keep a journal for a few days, documenting the places and activities in which Flat Stanley is involved. The Flat Stanley and the journal are then mailed to people, who are asked to treat the paper person as a visiting guest and add to his journal.


FAMOUS FLAT STANLEYS

-- Clint Eastwood took his daughter’s Flat Stanley to the 2005 Academy Awards.


-- Athletes took Flat Stanleys to the 2006 Olympic Games in Torino, Italy.


-- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger took his son’s Flat Stanley on the campaign trail in 2006, including to the “Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”


SAMPLE FLAT STANLEY JOURNAL ENTRIES

-- Uncle Bob took me to a Beijing Temple Fair. They are a little like the fairs in Wisconsin, but without all the big, fancy rides.


-- This is Chang the camel. I got to take him for a ride around the park. He was pretty nice, but did smell a little, and he likes to spit!


-- I got to watch a Chinese lion dance. It was one of the coolest things I have ever seen. They jumped and tumbled and did all kinds of dancing and tricks. They were also very friendly; all the children that watched them.


ABOUT STANLEY LAMBCHOP

How his travels started: Jonathan Duggan, 9, mailed Flat Stanley from Lake Geneva to his uncle, who teaches at Wuhan University in China.


Where he went: Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing and many other cities.


What he saw: Great Wall of China, Forbidden City, Shaolin Temple and the panda research center in Chengdu.


What he did: Ate traditional Chinese dinner, bought a kite, learned a Chinese dance, marched in a parade, rode on a camel, attended a Chinese wedding and napped on the plane ride home.



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