Mary Kelm Holmberg first tried the idea of a paper pen pal while subbing long-term last year for Jane Ruprecht. She read the story ďFlat StanleyĒ to her second grade class. It is the story of a little boy whose big bulletin board had fallen on top of him while he was asleep. Stanley wasnít hurt, but it left him flat. He was four feet tall, about a foot wide, and half an inch thick. Stanley could go in and out of rooms with the door closed, slide through cracks, fly like a kite, be mailed to friends instead of taking a bus like normal children.
While listening to the story, the students created their own construction paper likeness of Flat Stanley. The students were next asked to write a letter to a friend or relative who lives out of state. They introduced Stanley and requested that Stanley be taken on an adventure, then be returned with a letter explaining what Stanley did during his visit.
Madonna Leimer said Stanley traveled all over the country and even to Mexico. Among the places he visited were Orondo, Wash.; Paw Paw, Mich.; Muscatine, Iowa; Fort Worth, Texas; Mesa, Ariz.; Marstons Mills, Mass.; Walnut Creek, Calif.; Sun Prairie, Wis.; Aberdeen, S.D.; Mellette, S.D.; Brownsburg, Ind.; and Branson, Mo.
Dugan Flanders sent Flat Stanley to his aunt, Angie Bruntlett, in Lafayette, Ind., who in turn took him to Mexico on vacation with them. They even sent Dugan a photo album of things Flat Stanley did while on vacation.
Leimer said really neat things came back to the class as 100 percent of the students pen pals responded to Flat Stanley.
Return to Archives