Travelling with "Flat Stanley"

By Bogi Mira Bimbo (2MF 6-12)  

At the beginning of the school year, the lower elementary class launched an exciting project. As an introduction, we started reading an American children's book series, called Flat Stanley, written by author Jeff Brown. Then, as one of the most important steps of our project, we invited the parents to help their children to choose a relative or friend that lives in another country. In the meanwhile, our students wrote a letter, explaining that we will be starting a project involving the book character, Flat Stanley. The story is about a little boy, who had a bulletin board fall on him and smashing him flat. He was not injured; he was just flattened, thus he could easily be sent in an envelope around the world. His travels have been exciting and he has learned about many different places.

We asked our students to create their own "flat-people" out of paper then we calculated the fee of sending all the mails worldwide – more precisely to 17 different countries. Then, accompanied by Conny, a few students visited a post office and sent all the letters. We asked their relatives and friends to write a letter back and also take pictures of Flat Stanley at different places around their homes and send these back together with their letters.
After waiting patiently and excitedly, we finally started receiving the "Flat-stories" from all over the world. We can tell that the recipients treated their flat visitors as special guests. The hosts took them sightseeing and sometimes even added daily journal updates.

Our lucky flat-friends sank into the crystal clear water at a beach in Jamaica, they were touring around Chile by solar taxi, which crosses gorgeous rivers. After we jumped on an 11 meters long sailboat and enjoyed the view of The Netherlands. Setting our feet on the shore, we filled our bellies with some "krentenbollen" – bread with raisins - and Hagelslag, which is a popular Dutch sandwich topping. Then we had to let off our steam by playing football and visiting huge stadiums. We became regular visitors to Germany and spent lots of time with a welcoming grandma, living in Berlin. She let us practice our German skills and we had the honour of participating in a spectacular "Kinderkonzert". We all agreed that Cinderalla was delightful!
Then it was time to discover the West of France. Our hosts organised a pyjama party, so the helpful flat-visitor gave them a hand preparing the chocolate cake, as a sign of his gratitude.
Did you know that if you would like to attend to a Swiss School you can even do that in Singapore? Our "distant cousins", living over there, gave us a glance at what it looks like.

Imagine, we got to know New Zealand, as well! Such a beautiful place! Now, we are not surprised anymore as to why it attracts so many tourists and even filmmakers, thanks to its famous visual effects and animation company.
Have you ever been to Iran? One of our flat-friends has already had the chance to visit that historically and culturally rich country. We learned about the kings of the Persian Empire and how people celebrate “shab-e-Yalda” -the longest and darkest night of the year – and the fact that Persians make big fires and jump over it during the night of “chaharshanbe soori” - the Persian New Year. So we got the inspiration, as well, to celebrate that special day at school and tasted delicious treats from Iran. Maybe next time we will try the fire jumping part, too.
Talking about food... We enjoyed some fresh fruits from the island of Martinique, a place which is also called the "Pearl of the Antilles". On a beautiful, sunny day we ate sweet mangos at the beach and listened to the sound of the waves... Who could not fall in love with this paradise? 
Our class had the same opinion: Venezuela seems just simply fascinating! The enchanting parks and the enormous playgrounds made us motivated to visit this place one day.
We enjoyed the sunshine so much, that we sent a flat-traveller to Spain, too, through which one of our previous class members could be part of our project from a distance, as well. 

Flat Stanley also brought us good fortune because there was no rain during our visit in London. Thanks to that we saw the Big Ben and the Changing of the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
We cooled ourselves down a bit in Quebec and learned a lot about their famous sport: ice hockey!
And nevertheless, we were curious to hear about the United States of America. Reading the chronicles of our little visitor to Washington D.C., we were all ears and loved that special tour a lot. As we learned, the Lincoln Memorial is one of the greatest spots to enjoy the sunset in Washington – so we were resting there for a while and were amused by the spectacular view. And almost fell asleep, after that extensive and particular world trip.

Last but not least, we would like to express our appreciation to all the family members, friends and relatives who made this project come true and provided an extraordinary and unforgettable educational experience for all of our students and for us, adults, as well.