Tried it Tuesday - Flat Stanley Exchange Program

Sending thoughts and prayers out to all of those affected by the tragic events in Boston. Today in class we focused on those who acted in positive ways during the tragedy - first responders, citizens and runners who ran directly to the hospital to donate blood. Tried really hard to focus on the bravery and kindness that was shown by many rather than the violence of a few.

I am joining up with the fabulous Holly from Fourth Grade Flippers for her Tried it Tuesday linky. This week I am going to share something that I think is a fantastic program that I loved but had a few problems with - I am sharing my mistakes (yikes) in the hopes that you won't have to make the same ones (you probably wouldn't anyways!).


I tried the Flat Stanley Exchange Program - which is a GREAT program, a FANTASTIC program.

 If you have not heard about the Flat Stanley Exchange program you can check it out here and here. The project is based on the Flat Stanley series of books in which the title character becomes, that's right flat!

The project entails you using the Flat Stanley template to create your own Flat Stanley, finding other participating schools/groups on the website and sending off your Flat Stanley for exciting adventures and hosting Flat Stanleys from around the world. The websites have tons of information and photos and student stories  - it is fantastic! When looking at the sites for this post I noticed a "Tips" section - I highly recommend reading the tips!!

Here is what I did:
*first we did a class example - focusing on using our pictures and writing a retell of Stanley's day using transition words

*then students took a Flat Skippy (our class mascot a stuffed alligator) home and took pictures and wrote a retell - this was the work I assessed for our writing but a step I would skip next time as it was a lot of extra work

*next we made Flat Stanleys and the students took them home, took pictures and wrote retells - next time I would do this completely at school. I would take pictures with each Stanley, I would even take them out into the community and take pictures and then upload them into a writing template for the kids but a lot less work for parents

*then we mailed them off - I wanted to send our Stanleys to each one of the provinces in Canada and to each continent (of course not Antarctica!) - this was a little too ambitious!

*I did ask parents if they had family anywhere in the world that would be happy to host - this worked out well

*then our visiting Stanleys began to show up (this is when things got a little wonky) - next time I would be sure to have a chart recording when and where I sent each of ours and when and where each one came from - my system was lets say a little too "scattered"

*I sent Stanleys home again (see too much for parents to do - some parents just took pics and sent them in and we wrote it up together)

*we got some fantastic responses from around the world and our Stanleys had some amazing adventures

*the students were always super excited to gather around and open packages and see photos and read about children around the world - I totally recommend this program - just take it slow, keep it simple and stay organized


  1. This is a pretty awesome concept. I'd never heard of it before. I'm in New Zealand and my sister is a teacher in Mongolia so there are already some strange links around the world I could think of. I think I'll need to investigate this further.

    Thanks for sharing!

    x Serena x
    Magic Mistakes & Mayhem

  2. That is so neat!! :) I will have to check this out next year!
    ideas by jivey

  3. Very interesting! Next year, we'll have to send some to each other!! :O)
    Collaboration Cuties

  4. I have always wanted to do this but I teach in a school with minimal parent involvement so I have always been afraid that it wouldn't work out. And then there is the matter of finding enough people to send them too. Maybe having pairs or small groups create one Stanley to limit the number of mailings? Maybe this will be next year's big project, as it does sound like so much fun! :o)

  5. I've never done the Flat Stanley project because our 2nd grade team does it, but my child has participated! We took him to Washington DC, and at first we loved Stanley, took tons of pictures, but by the end, he wasn't seen as much-he didn't fit in a purse (hard cardstock material)and my son got tired of taking care of him! Plus, we had to take double pictures of everything-one with our family and one with our family and Stanley! haha We made a book with our pictures and adventures which is a great keepsake though! I love how reflective you are with your teaching!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  6. That sounds very fun. It's wayyyyy too organized for me. I'm way to "scattered" to do it. haha. I think it would be a great way to teach kids about different countries.

    I teach the same way you do...I make mental notes for "the next time."


  7. Wow!! This is a huge undertaking! Good for you for following through and now reflecting on what worked and didn't work. I don't know if I could take on this project but I like your advice to stay organized and keep it simple:) Thanks for linking up!
    Fourth Grade Flipper


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