How it works is up to you, but here are some suggestions and guidelines.

Visit the FAQ section for answers to other questions

Read the E-mail Only Option for Paperless Exchanges

In 1995, as Grade 3 teacher in London, Ontario, Canada, I created the Flat Stanley Project. I invited other teachers to take part by hosting flat visitors and to encourage their students to write their own Flat Stanley journals.

One of the many advantages of sending flat visitors is that they can visit friends by travelling in an envelope. Students' written work goes to other places by conventional mail and e-mail. You can check out the Flat Stanley List of Participants (after you have registered and logged in) to see where you can send a Flat Stanley or who might be sending a Flat Stanley to you. You must have registered and be logged in to view the List of Participants.

Students make paper Flat Stanleys and begin a journal with him for a few days. Then Flat Stanley and the journal are sent to another school where students there treat Flat Stanley as a guest and complete the journal. Flat Stanley and the journal are then returned to the original sender. Students can plot his travels on maps and share the contents of the journal. Often, a Flat Stanley returns with a pin or postcard from his visit. Some teachers prefer to use e-mail only. Especially creative hosts send the Flat Stanleys back with pictures, souvenirs, stories and reminders of the visit.

Before sending a Flat Stanley to anyone on the List of Participants, be sure to send an e-mail first, to ask if it's OK. Some classes become overwhelmed with all the little flat guys.

The Flat Stanley Project is a penpal activity- but it's far more than that, too. By sending a Flat Stanley it's as if the senders and the recipients have a mutual friend- a little flat guy they can both talk about.




Students, either individually or in groups, make a paper Flat Stanley.

Put the sender's name and return address and e-mail address on the back.

Select an address from the List of Participants or make contact with someone from the Bulletin Board.

Be sure to send an e-mail asking if the class you selected would like to receive a Flat Stanley from you. Sometimes there is a backlog of Stanleys at a school and the arrival of another adds to the delay.

Mail Flat Stanley with a cover letter from the sender along with a blank journal that the recipient can complete

Return postage is always appreciated. Post offices sell special international stamps that will work anywhere. This is especially appreciated if sending a Flat Stanley to a school with limited resources.


Tracie Lynch created these letters for parents and hosts

 Take a look at Lee Kaplan's Journal Template
Lee wrote, "Attached is the template I used for my 2nd grade class when they took Flat Stanley home. The results were unexpectedly hysterical. The kids and their parents REALLY got into the spirit of the thing. If you would be so kind as to post it on your web site I'm sure other primary teachers could use it."


Treat the visiting Stanley as a guest.

If possible, send an e-mail to the sender confirming that the Stanley has arrived and estimating a date of return.

Have student volunteers take it home and complete a portion of the journal.

When the journal is complete, send Stanley back and, if possible, send an e-mail to the sender that FS is on his way home.

Consider including stickers, pins and photographs.

What To Say in the Letters

Letters are easier to respond to if there is some common information included. Good content also makes this more of a learning experience. Consider including the following:

Weather- Current temperature as well as some seasonal ranges.

Location- Latitude and longitude and proximity to major cities.

Population- How many people in your city and in your school?

Special to Your Location- Describe favourite local activities, sports, hobbies and sites of interest and industries.

What do you like best about where you are? What would you change?  

Wish List- What's important to you? What could you do to make things in your school, your neighbourhood or even the world better?

What causes or projects are you involved in? Could Flat Stanley contacts elsewhere in the world help you?

Books- What books are students reading in class? What television programs are they watching?

Seasonal Activities- Winter sure is different in Northern Ontario and Southern California! What are the differences? What do we have in common?

Freebies- Consider sending little inclusions with your replies. Local leaves, coins, stickers, post cards and photographs all add to the learning.

Mrs. Kaplan's Grade 2 Sample Journal entries



Here are some things we learned from our first years:

Be sure to print the return address on the back of each Flat Stanley before sending him out. Several Stanleys became separated from their envelopes and had no return address and therefore could not be sent back home. 

Oversized envelopes cost more to send! Check with the Post Office for the largest and most conveniently shaped envelope that can still be sent at regular rates. This is an advantage for you to send them and for the recipient to send back. Remember, some participants might be hosting dozens of Flat Stanleys over the length of this project and postage costs can add up.

Several participants sent self addressed envelopes along with Stanley for his return trip. This was a good idea as it gave Stanley a home while he was visiting and made returning him easier.

Consider including little souvenirs. Stickers, fliers from City Hall, maps of your town, etc. all add to the thrill of receiving a new visitor. With a supply of these items he won't have to return empty handed.

Have a chart prepared for who has been sent out and who is visiting. It only takes a couple of days when several arrive at the same time to cause mix ups unless you are prepared in advance. 

Let's try to use e-mail more next year. We can send Flat Stanleys as attachments with e-mail that can be printed once they arrive. Perhaps the virtual visitors won't get lost as often as did the others. If one does, simply print another copy from the e-mail attachment. Consider sending a blank journal along with Stanley. Or, have a journal format that your students can fill in then send back with Stanley. The following booklet format was created by Connie Mark and worked very well.


Date: _______________  In my picture of Stanley he is ... 
Weather: _______________ 
What we did together...

We learned...


Photocopy this on both sides of a sheet of paper, then put 2 or 3 sheets together, folded in the middle. It makes a great little booklet and each student can complete one page then pass it on to someone else. Soon the whole booklet will be filled and ready to send.

Take a look at a sample introductory journal from Susanne Reti and her cover letter.

Here's a Sample Cover Letter:

(Modify it to meet your needs)


Wilfrid Jury Public School

950 Lawson Road, London, Ontario N6G 3M2

The Flat Stanley Project


We are Grade 3 teachers. We started the Flat Stanley Project at:

There are over 1000 classes around the world participating.
In the original book by Jeff Brown, Stanley Lambchop is squashed flat by a falling bulletin board. One of the advantages to being flat is that his parents can put him in a large envelope and mail him for a visit to his friends in California. In our project, students make paper Flat Stanleys and mail them to other schools or prominent people. We hope that the recipient will treat Stanley like a guest, complete the daily journal, then mail him back after a few weeks.
For many young students, these letters that they write to other students or to politicians and celebrities are the first meaningful opportunities they have had to use writing as a communication tool. It therefore motivates them to produce their best work and they eagerly look forward to responses. Photographs or souvenirs accompanying returning Stanleys add to the experience for these young people.
You were chosen as a recipient because of the interest and admiration that a student has for you. We hope you will consider participating in the Flat Stanley Project by making a few entries in the enclosed journal and returning it to the sender at the school’s address.

Thank you Dale Hubert, Charles Smith

Teachers, Grade 3

Here's a sample student letter from late 1999.

Use these ideas and modify them to suit your needs.

Wilfrid Jury Public School

950 Lawson Road, London, Ontario N6G 3M2

D. Hubert and C. Smith, Teachers, Grade 3

Do Quality Work Show Concern for Safety Act Responsibly Behave Courteously Use Good Judgement

The Flat Stanley Project

December 9, 1999


 Dear Friends:

I am a Grade 3 student at Wilfrid Jury School in London, Ontario, Canada. I am sending you a Flat Stanley and his journal. (Please add extra pages to the journal.) I would like you to write down some of the things you do with Flat Stanley. I am especially interested in hearing what happens over the holidays and at New Year's. I am sending him out in 1999 and would like you to send him back in the year 2000.


What is Flat Stanley? Well, about 30 years ago Jeff Brown wrote the book, Flat Stanley, and in it Stanley Lambchop was squashed flat by a falling bulletin board. When he wanted to visit his friends in California his parents folded him up and mailed him. In this Flat Stanley Project the students in my class send paper Flat Stanleys all over the place. You can visit it at

We hope to learn about how people are the same and how they are different. For example, the population of London is 300000. We are 200 kilometres from Toronto. Wilfrid Jury School has over 900 students. We have two teachers and 46 students in our class. In London we have only had one snowfall and that didn't last long. There is no snow on the ground at all right now. Some winters we have 30 cm of snow with drifts 2 metres high. It can get as cold as 30 degrees below zero. This has been a very mild season so far. It is almost 10 ºC today and there is still green grass. It is hard to believe that Christmas is only a few weeks away.


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Your friend,




This sample cover letter was submitted by Carrie Anne Moxam

_____________________, 2004

Dear Host,

Thank you so much for agreeing to welcome one of our flat travellers! If you would be so kind to host Flat ____________ for a week and treat _____ as a guest we would be very grateful.

As you will notice, Flat _____________ has travelled lightly and is only accompanied by a journal. It is Flat ______________ hope that during the week _____ is with you and accompanying you in your everyday activities that you will be able to diarize _____ adventures in the enclosed journal.

Our grade 2 class is especially interested in learning more about communities around the world. Information you could share with respect to traditions, celebrations, climate, animals, food, clothing, homes/shelter, recreation, culture, transportation, language, and land use would be most informative and relevant to our studies. Should you wish to share recipes, pictures, mementos, etc. that you feel would complement our learning experiences please do not hesitate to do so. This would most certainly be welcomed and invaluable, as our class will be sharing their flat adventures with family and friends during our Flat Stanley Open House scheduled for June.

We hope you enjoy your time with Flat ____________. At the week’s end if you could return Flat _____________ and _____ journal to the address noted below we would be most appreciative! Thank you so much for allowing us to visit with you!






The best place to start is by reading the book, Flat Stanley, by Jeff Brown. Next, students in small groups or individually, prepare paper Flat Stanleys and mail them out to somewhere on the list along with a journal. The recipients complete the journal and return Stanley. Items that might be recorded in the journal include what they talked about, what they ate, where they went, what they did, special customs, interesting information about the area, etc.

Upon his return Stanley's travels are marked on a map and his journal is shared with the class. Sites thus far include Hawaii, Alaska, California, Florida, New Zealand, New Brunswick, and some Ontario locations. Students can then keep in touch by e-mail. We are looking for additional contacts outside of North America.

Students are encouraged to design and make their own Flat Stanleys (or Flat Marys or whomever). Laminating makes them more durable but is not required. Print a return address on Flat Stanley's back. Unfortunately, during the peak of Flat Stanley fever we ended up with two who lost their original envelopes and didn't have addresses on them and so may have to remain with us.

Usually a Flat Stanley is sent out, visits a while, then is returned along with his journal. Another variation might be to send a Stanley out in his underwear with the request to add an item of clothing and an explanation for it, then send him on until he is fully dressed. When he returns the notes might explain that he got his shorts from Bermuda, his ear muffs from North Bay and his sandals from California.

I found we could spend entire afternoons making paper Flat Stanleys, composing letters to send, reading letters that arrived, locating sites on maps, making Flat Stanley vehicles, designing Flat Stanley clothes, making plays for Flat Stanley theatres, etc. One of the big advantages of this project is that it is so open ended and flexible that the teachers and students can customize it to meet their own individual needs.


Please use student's first names only when corresponding. For the most part the dangers of the Internet have been exaggerated, but it is still better to be careful.

Making it Work

I have a grade 3 class. I plan on having kids make their own Stanleys during the first week or two of the new school year. They will takes these home and keep personal journals that will be shared aloud with the rest of the class each day. I will be able to point out good examples of journal writing and encourage students to recognize quality writing. After some time of doing this, they will do an in-class exchange. They will take a classmate's Stanley home, keep a daily journal, then share it with the class each day. This will serve as practice before actually sending Stanleys to other sites.

After the students develop skills at daily journal writing I plan on having them divide into groups and each group member will make a contribution, either in art or text, etc. This collaborative Stanley will be sent out, and another will be started.

In order to get good responses it is helpful to provide good information. Therefore, students will be encouraged to so some research on their city, their school and local information in order to send out a quality Stanley. When a flat visitor arrives a group will be chosen to host it. Hopefully, with the large number of participants, each group will get lots of opportunities to look after a Stanley from afar.

Please be sure to return all Stanleys. I received an e-mail where one teacher stated she and three classes at two different schools had sent out 120 Flat Stanleys and received only 15 replies!


Actually Using the Flat Stanley Project in the Classroom

I favour the Contract Approach. This is the Flat Stanley Contract I made to give the students choices while still meeting the curriculum outcomes. Students are to select at least 2 topics from the Research & Writing and at least 2 topics from the Creative Writing sections. They select at least 1 topic from each of the remaining sections. There will therefore be a minimum of 8 components to the Flat Stanley Project.


 Flat Stanley Contract

Name: __________________________________


Research & Writing
(Select at least 2 from here)
Creative Writing
(Select at least 2 from here)
(Select at least 1 from here)
Arts & Crafts
(Select at least 1 from here)
(Select at least 1 from here)
(Select at least 1 from here)
Daily Journal  Puppet Play  Box Sculpture Flat Stanley Puppet Play  Flat Racer
Information About Your City  Write a Speech Clay & Plasticine Painting  Role Play Being Flat Flat Stanley Flyer 
Pen Pal Notes Write a Play Overhead Shadow Shapes  Paper Clothes Perform a Play Game or Game Board 
E-Mail Notes  Write a Song  Animated Roll Up  Make an Envelope Perform a Song Make a Flat Home
Flat Recipes Describe Being Flat  Make Puppets Shoe Box Theatre  Other  Other 
Other Add Another Chapter to the Book Other  Other     




In Outcome Based Education we ask What will the student actually be able to do? Consider these outcomes:

  • The student will independently use a computer to send e-mail to another member of the Flat Stanley Project.
  • Using e-mail the student will compare weather conditions in various parts of North America on given date
  • The student will record a daily Flat Stanley journal written from Stanley's point of view.
  • The student will list similarities and differences among the correspondences received from other members of the Flat Stanley Project.
  • As a collaborative member of a team the student will create a paper Flat Stanley to be sent to another site.
  • The student will locate the sites on a map from which Flat Stanleys have been received.
  • The student will solve a design challenge to move a paper Flat Stanley a specific distance to a particular location.