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October 7, 2014 Making Connections With Flat Stanley: Framed in France By Meghan Everette
Grades 1–2, 3–5

    Our school took on the challenge of “Going Global” this year. Each grade is identified by a continent, and in our second year of 1:1, we are reading, learning, and connecting with places all over the globe. It’s an exciting time to be in school, but often, young students aren’t familiar with geography and have a hard time understanding distances as well as the cultures of places far away. Welcome familiar face Flat Stanley who helped us explore the world from our classroom!

    We started the year reading Flat Stanley following a simple lesson plan. Last year, my students made “reading buddies” out of the Stanley template tMailing Flat Stanleyo have around the room. This year we actually put Stanley in the mail! Our "class Stanley" is traveling from city to city, with his adventures being recorded on a digital form. The form is linked to a Google Map so all the first grade classes can log in and see where he has gone.

    The next part of the lesson plan involves the kids individually mailing off "Stanleys." Here's what we do:

    • Parents send in addresses of far away family or friends.

    • Parents donate postage stamps (so I don't have to buy them).

    • We make a paper Stanley and mail him with a letter.

    • The letter asks for them to have an "adventure" with Stanley, take photos, and send Stanley back.

    • The stuff we have gotten back has been great. (Grandparents have been wonderful about sending elaborate packages back!)

    Sending Stanley Stanley in Alabama

    My class loves Stanley. I cut a full-size boy from insulation sheeting with a heat knife. Stanley swung from the ceiling like a kite, but has now joined our class. Kids walk by and give him high-fives each day and say hello. I decided we needed to keep reading, and selected the latest Stanley story, Framed in France, as our next class book. Though not all my first graders are at the level where they can read the story, I have a class set to encourage them to follow along and give them a sense of autonomy over reading a chapter book. They love being able to see the pictures firsthand.

    Letter from grandparents Stanley on the ceiling Reading Flat Stanley


    While reading, we created a scrapbook of our time in France with Stanley. Our books are simply four folded pages with a cardstock cover. Students folded the books. I downloaded and printed pictures and pieces we would need. Everyone was able to decorate the cover of their scrapbook with stickers and travel items. Then we added information to our book as we read each chapter. It’s hard to say what they looked forward to more: reading or scrapbooking! Here is a simple guide to what we did:





    1 – Stanley tells the class where he has visited and is told he will travel to France to protect Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa.

    World map

    Decorate the cover. Locate and color the places he has visited on a world map. Paste a map or two of France in the scrapbook for reference.

    Print a photo of the Mona Lisa and use a cloze reading passage to learn about da Vinci.

    Stanley scrapbook cover

    World map

    Maps of France

    Picture of the Mona Lisa

    da Vinci reading passage

    Mona Lisa and Cloze Read

    2 – Stanley travels to France dressed as King Francis I and learns several new French words. He enjoys eating bread with chocolate for breakfast in France.

    Girl as King Francis I

    Find how long it would take to fly to France from your city and record on the world map.

    Take a photo of each child, and have them “dress” themselves as King Francis. Paste French words and write the English meanings. Draw bread and flip open to reveal chocolate. Label the bread.

    Alternate activity: Sample pain au chocolat.

    Drawing as King Francis I

    Photo of each student

    Display image of King Francis I

    French word list

    Paper to create breadPain au chocolate bread

    3 – At the Musée du Louvre, Stanley sees famous artwork and learns more French words.

    Paste a picture of the Louvre and then go on a virtual tour of the museum via the Internet. Allow students to draw or sketch their favorite exhibits they see online. Add new French words learned.Louvre

    Photo of the Louvre

    Computer with projector and Internet access


    4 – Etoile sketches Stanley and then leaves her sketchbook behind. Stanley leaves the museum to search for her and tries his first crêpe.

    Have students create sketches of King Francis I (or other artwork). Paste a Venus de Milo picture with the sketches. Create a crêpe by folding paper and then drawing strawberry filling inside. Alternate activity: Sample crêpes. Add French terms.Sketches

    Image of notepad

    Photo or sketch of Venus de Milo

    Yellow paper for crepe

    5 – Stanley learned Etoile is a student at L’ecole d’Art, and she paints on him to avoid being detected by the teacher.

    Allow students a chance to paint. To add authenticity, fold a white shirt over a box to paint. Unfold the shirt to see the image, just as Stanley was painted on in the book.

    Painting supplies

    6 – Etoile takes Stanley on a tour of famous Paris sights.


    Art and places in France

    Use the French maps to see where Stanley travels. Some online interactive maps will give a street-view of their tour. Cut out photocopies of the works of Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, and Vincent van Gogh, and color them with markers to add color. Create a pocket with images of the Sacred Heart Basilica of Montmartre (Sacré-Coeur), and other sites. Fold and include the artwork.

    Photos/maps of Montmartre, Basilica of the Sacré-Coeur, the Seine, Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Eiffel Tower

    Art pockets


    7 – Stanley learns more about famous works of art and is able to catch the art thief at the museum.

    Have students research famous works of art. They can write about what famous work they like best and describe the work and explain why they like it. Look up information on the real Mona Lisa theft.

    Mona Lisa research

    8 – Stanley enjoys traditional French foods and makes amends with an old enemy.

    French food

    Have students illustrate Beef Bourguignonne, Camembert cheese, and Cassoulet stew. Students can create a “crêpe Stanley” including any toppings they think Stanley would enjoy. Alternate: Have a French food tasting day.

    Images or descriptions of French foods

    Art supplies

    Working on scrapbooks

    9 – Stanley says goodbye to Paris and returns home, but receives a letter from his new friend, Etoile.

    Arc de Triomphe

    Attach a picture of the Arc de Triomphe and an image that shows the Arc at the center of the city. Have students write a letter from Etoile to Stanley, as she does at the end of the story.

    Photo of Arc de Triomphe

    Stanley letter writing


    My students were excited and talking. I heard about plans to buy and read more Stanley adventures from the upcoming book fair. They impressed the art teacher with their knowledge of famous French artists and they have been bringing in sketches and funny versions of the Mona Lisa. Stanley helped make a connection to a memorable character, series of books, art, and the world through one simple and fun-to-read story.

    Letter to student


    What new twists on Stanley have you done in your class? 


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