Flat Stanley returns from a visit to the White House 2011.02.23

Written by David Green.

flat_stanleyBy DAVID GREEN

Life wasn’t looking very good for Stanley Lambchop after a large bulletin board fell off the wall and onto his bed one night. He awakened as a very different person—as Flat Stanley.

In time, the character in author Jeff Brown’s book discovered that his new shape wasn’t so bad after all. He could slip under the door of a closed room. He could serve as a kite for his brother. Best of all, he could be folded up and travel by mail.

That’s the Flat Stanley that third grade students in Beth Schaffner’s Fayette classroom know. They’re sending him for visits around the country.

The Flat Stanley Project is a world-wide literacy effort that encourages reading and writing, and getting to know someone from far away. There’s also a geography component in which students learn about the city that Stanley visits, about how far away it is, and what there is to see there.

The students in Mrs. Schaffner’s who read the book created their own Flat Stanley’s and sent them off to locations ranging from California to Florida—and even a few closer to home in Ohio. The person receiving Stanley in the mail is encouraged to keep him around for a few days and fill out a journal that tells what he’s been doing as a guest at someone else’s house.

Zoee Keiser was the first student to have her Flat Stanley returned with a journal to read. Her uncle in California sent Stanley back to Fayette last month.

Gabe Maginn had his eyes on Washington, D.C., when he folded Stanley and addressed his envelope to President Barack Obama.

“On Wednesday we received an envelope from the White House,” Mrs. Schaffner said. “It was Gabe’s Flat Stanley returning back home.”

Pres. Obama not only send Flat Stanley back to Fayette, Mrs. Schaffner said, but he also included a letter describing the activities that Stanley took part in during his stay at the White House.

There was also a photo of the President, a photo of the Obama family, a photo of his dog, a map of the White House and various activity sheets.

The President described Gabe’s Flat Stanley as an engaging and interesting boy. He said the visitor showed up at the White House each morning with a pencil in hand, ready to learn.

Gabe learned that even the President of the United States can make some time for the famous Flat Stanley.

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