Flat Stanley and Greywolf Elementary School principal Patty Grenquist catch a game in Peoria, Ariz. Photo courtesy of Patty Grenquist
No carry-ons for this little traveler. He is a carry-on.
Flat Stanley, the worldwide children's book character sensation that has inspired students to connect with one another, has made a pit stop in Sequim.
Students in first-grade teacher Cathy Green's class at Greywolf Elementary School took part in a Flat Stanley Project, an activity based upon the 1964 children's book by Jeff Brown that gets youths sending the paper-thin character across the country and writing about his travels.
Green's students in the 2008-2009 school year did the same project and she read the story to her current students this January.
"Of course, they wanted to do the project, too," Green said.
The students created their own versions of Flat Stanley and brought to class an address they'd send him to.
Off Stanley would go and then come back with postcards from across the nation.
"My students love getting postcards from all over the United States and from other countries; when we get a postcard, I pull down the map and show the students where it came from," Green says.
In the process, students learn about geography.
"It also allows them to talk about personal connections," Green said. "Some students have been to the places that we get postcards from and they are able to share their memories with the class."
Green's class got a package from Germany after one of the students sent Flat Stanley to a military family stationed there.
"Some of my students were confused when I said that Flat Stanley flew across the Atlantic Ocean to get to Germany," Green said. "They told me that that was impossible because Amelia Earhart was the only one ever to do that. When I asked them how they knew that, they said, 'We watched the movie.' That led to a discussion on history and movie making, which brought out 'Nights at the Museum,' which led to another discussion of how movies are created to entertain and a lot of the time are not true."
The family in Germany took Flat Stanley to the Haribo Candy factory in Bonn, where the original Gummi Bears were created in 1920. The box was full of all kinds of different kinds of Gummi candy.
The students wanted to eat them right away but Green said they would have a gummy snack every Friday.
"I think we have enough to run us to the end of the school year," Green said.
One of the students created a "Mariner Stanley" that school principal Patti Grenquist took with her to Peoria, Ariz., to see the Seattle Mariners' spring training.
Grenquist joined other autograph seekers at a gate while the Mariners got a break from games.
Matt Tuisosopo, now a Mariners regular, recognized the character and signed it, along with Kanekoa Texeira and Andy Stankiewicz.
The project culminates near the beginning of June.
"When they (the Stanleys) come back, the student takes him home, along with all of the postcards that were sent for that Flat Stanley," Green said. "If Flat Stanley doesn't come back, the students just take home the postcards to show their families."
Green said that like last year's Flat Stanley efforts, this one was a success.
"I love this project," she said. "I am just excited to see where Flat Stanley has visited as the children are."
Flat Stanley facts
Origin: Based on the 1964 children's book by Jeff Brown, illustrated by Tomi Ungerer
Who he is: Fictional character named Stanley Lambchop who gets flattened by a big bulletin board and makes the best of his fate by slipping into places he couldn't before, being used as a kite and visiting friends through the mail (literally)
The project: In 1995, teacher Dale Hubert, a third-grade teacher in London, started the Flat Stanley Project, sending a Flat Stanley to other schools. The project was meant to encourage letter writing between school-age children.