Students send Flat Staley to travel world

Courtesy photo James Bickley Elementary School fourth-grader Jonathon Jovett sent his Flat Stanley to his grandfather in Guam who took Flat Stanley scuba diving.

By Liliana Castillo: Cannon Connections

He went scuba diving in Guam and to the opera in England.

His name is Flat Stanley.

He is a creation of third, fourth and fifth graders at James Bickley Elementary School led by librarian

Danielle Defibaugh.

The Flat Stanley project involves students cutting out and coloring in their Flat Stanley — an outline of a person — writing letters to family and friends across the nation and the world and asking them to take Flat Stanley with them to the store or on a walk.

The students ask their friends and family to take photos with Flat Stanley wherever they took him and to write a letter back telling the class what Flat Stanley did while visiting them.

Defibaugh said she first heard about Flat Stanley when her niece asked if she could send Flat Stanley to her husband, Staff Sgt. Matthew Defibaugh, who was then deployed in Iraq.

“I hadn’t heard about it and I found out we had a few Flat Stanley books in our library,” she said. “I thought it would be really neat for the kids to do that.”

Defibaugh said the Flat Stanley project teaches students how to write a letter, grammar, how to calculate distances and exposes them to places they wouldn’t usually see.

The Flat Stanley sent to Guam traveled the furthest, Defibaugh said. That Flat Stanley belonged to fourth-grader Jonathon Jovett. He said he sent Flat Stanley to his grandfather, who lives in Guam.

“I was excited,” he said. “I couldn’t wait for all the pictures to come back.”

Jovett said he wants to go scuba diving now and visit Guam.

“I want to go now,” he said.

Fourth-grader Alexis Romero sent her Flat Stanley to her uncle in England. He made a tuxedo for Flat Stanley to wear to the opera and a casual outfit for him to wear shopping.

“My mom thought it would be an adventure,” Romero said. “I thought he had fun and a great time. I want to go to England now.”

Defibaugh said the group got about 15 Flat Stanleys back. She said Jovett’s grandpa sent the group key chains from Guam and Romero’s uncle sent back English candy.

“It was a really neat experience,” Defibaugh said.

Each Flat Stanley and his trip photos are posted in the hall next to the library at James Bickley.