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Bemidji students send paper cut-outs around the world

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Bemidji students send paper cut-outs around the world
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

Whether down the road in Bagley, across the country in Florida or overseas in South Africa, Flat Stanleys created by local students are discovering adventure around the world.

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Second-graders at Lincoln Elementary School made the paper cut-outs after reading the book "Flat Stanley" by Jeff Brown and have mailed them to relatives and friends.

"He has traveled long and far," second-grade teacher Kelly Brunetta said.

The recipients host the Flat Stanleys for a short visit and then mail them back with stories and photos of what they did and saw together.

"It's kind of like Christmas," said second-grade teacher Pam Murray, noting that students are excited to see their Flat Stanleys return.

She said the Flat Stanley project takes students on adventures without having them leave the classroom.

Second-grader Sam Walker mailed his Flat Stanley to his grandparents in Missouri. His Flat Stanley returned to the school this week in an envelope with stories and photos, including one of his Flat Stanley driving a tractor.

With her Flat Stanley next to her, second-grader Emily Barrus flipped through photos documenting Stanley's recent visit to Minneapolis.

"He worked out," she said. "He went swimming."

Second-grader Cullen VanHouse sent his Flat Stanley to his aunt in Burnsville, Minn., where he helped build a snowman and played the piano.

Second-graders at Lincoln Elementary School have made Flat Stanleys since 2000. Terry Birkeland started the project at the school while he was a teacher there.

The project is based on the book "Flat Stanley," which tells of a boy who is accidentally flattened when a bulletin board falls on him. Stanley, who is not hurt, discovers advantages to being flat, including being small enough to fit into an envelope and be mailed to California for a vacation, according to second-grade teacher Wanda Roff.

Roff said students involved in the project at the school are eager to read many books in Brown's Flat Stanley series.

Second-grader Kendrick Johnson, who mailed his Flat Stanley to family members in Cass Lake, noted that he likes the books. While in Cass Lake, his Flat Stanley played with his younger cousin and a dog.

The Flat Stanley project, Brunetta said, draws in different parts of the curriculum, including geography, social studies, writing and art. Also, she said, it gives families a chance to connect with relatives and friends.

"It also gives students the opportunity to teach others with the information they receive," said Brunetta, noting that students share their Flat Stanley stories and photos of their with their classmates.

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