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Letter Writing with Flat Filly

29 December 2013

Ever heard of Flat StanleyFlat Stanley is a book series about a boy who until one night when his bulletin board fell on him, was normal. Now, he is only 1/2 an inch thick and can mail himself across the world in an envelope. Here's the linking point. Envelopes - Letter Writing - Teaching.

Drawn by Dawn (Lydia & Pugs)
Letter writing is an important skill for students to learn. Nowadays, while I am all for technology, writing an email and mailing a letter just aren't the same. Think about it, would you prefer a handwritten thank you letter or an email? Using Flat Stanley as a "hook" keeps the kids interested. So now you're probably wondering WHERE ARE THE DOGS? Every teacher I've talked to has the kids create their own flat friend and mail him to a family member, in hopes that they will take a picture with him/her and mail him/her back. So why not instead of creating a flat human friend, how about a flat canine friend? 

Having done this activity last year, I was ecstatic to be introduced to the Sassy School Counselor's blog and her creation of a "Flat Stouie" character education program.  Flat Stouie was inspired by a rescue therapy dog.  #sidenote, my first dog was a trained therapy pet.  Flat Stouie travels around the world making friends, visiting schools, and like Flat Stanley, goes on adventures.  Stouie is a Pitbull, and what is great about that is that in addition to encouraging reading and writing, it also increases awareness about this breed and how they are lovable and kind (contrary to what many people say).

Last year, when my students wrote their letters and created their "Flat Friend" I created a dog and a cat template and let them dress them up with fabric, pretty papers...etc...  Besides going to Michaels to buy fun colored and textured paper, I also found Fashion Angel Design A Heavenly Pet Wardrobe on Amazon.  Basically it comes with all different dog breed templates and comes with cut-out templates to trace for clothing!  I had to modify a few to make my "cat" template, but it worked out and the kids really enjoyed the activity, and all the while, learned the process of writing a letter.

If I were to do the activity again, I would have those kids bring in a picture of their dog/cat and create a silhouette from the image.  I found that many of my students asked for breeds that I did not have.

You could even go digital and link this activity to learning to write an email.  Something I actually did with my 2nd graders.  #digitaldog

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