Local Flat Stanley teaches kids about the world

Local Flat Stanley teaches kids about the world
By: Holly Brantley
OAK RIDGE, Mo. - Have you met Flat Stanley? He's known to millions and travels the world. In fact, a sixth grade class in Cape County recently sent him out on some amazing adventures. But, in case you still haven't met Stanley, we're going to introduce you.
Stanley is actually a cartoon character that got flattened! But, for Stanley that's a good thing. For him, seeing the world is as easy as being put into an envelope and dropped into the mail. One student even sent Stanley on a European Adventure. Tuesday, Stanley returned to the Heartland to share his experience.
It all started in Bridget Watson's sixth grade class in Oak Ridge. She uses Stanley to teach students how to write a friendly letter, but says the experience is much more than that. "Stanley brings the lesson to life," Watson explains.
It's obvious her enthusiasm has worn off on the students. "We get to send him to people and they tell you what Flat Stanley did," said Emilie Beard. "I sent Flat Stanley to McDonalds. He made fries and ice cream orders."
"Mine went to the hospital with my aunt," explained Crystal Zoellner. "He went to two or three surgeries with my aunt. "
But, not all Stanley's are boys. "I did a ballerina," said Shelby Mangels. "I thought it looked like she was in a ballet pose. I called her Flat Stacey instead."
"This project even teaches the students about Social Studies," said Watson.
A perfect example, Hunter Seyer sent Stanley from Oak Ridge to Germany to his friend Heike Reischl. According to Watson, the class is studying europe in Social Studies right now.
From Germany, Stanley traveled with Reischl Italy. She even let him garden with her, bake bread, make friends with American tourists and even Heike's cats.
Heike returned Stanley in Person to share Stanley's adventures with the class.
"He saw many things mountains, Bavaria, many things," said Reischl.
"It brings it to life," said Hunter Seyer. "It pretty much shows us what it's like around the world. It's better than a text book."
Students say seeing the world through Stanley is an experience they'll never forget.
"He got to see lots of things," said Joseph Knight.
"I found out about Germany today," said Shelby Mangels. "I thought I'd never meet someone from there."
The same Oak Ridge Students are sending soldier Flat Stanley characters overseas to troops fighting in Iraq. It's all part of an assignment to work on writing skills and show support for the troops.