Literature, Visual Art, Information Technology Education, Elementary English Language Arts, Geography, Social Studies
Material Type:
Lower Elementary, Upper Elementary
  • Lesson Plan
  • filmmaking
    Creative Commons Attribution
    Media Formats:
    Graphics/Photos, Text/HTML, Video

    Education Standards

    Flat Stanley's Adventures

    Flat Stanley's Adventures


    This lesson was created to help elementary-aged students better understand the world around them through the use of Flat Stanley.


    Students will explore their town by photographing various important landmarks with their Flat Stanley doll.  From the images collected, students will then be asked to write descriptive sentences explaining why those landmarks were selected and how the sites are an important part of that town.  These sentences and findings will be uploaded to each student's Google Site to be used as a portfolio and way of tracking Stanley's adventures.

    • Time frame - 1 week or less (1-2 days for photographing landmarks and 1-2 days for uploading information (pictures & writing) to their Google Site.
    • Format - This lesson offers blended learning, as technology is invovled.  These activities could occur in either a virtual or face-to-face environment.


    Background for Teachers

    Students will first read the short children's novel, Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown.  If participating in face-to-face learning, this is a great teacher read aloud.  If virtual learning is occurring then children can read the book on their own.

    After completing the book, students will be asked to take a Flat Stanley cut out doll around town to document important landmarks where they live through photography.  Their pictures will be uploaded to a portfolio in Google Sites where written desciptions of each photo will also be documented.

    Students will choose a family member or friend who lives in a different city or state than the student.  Their selection will become their pen pal for this project.  Correspondence can be exchanged through email, with an attachment of a Flat Stanley doll out.  The pen pal will collaborate on the Google Site portfolio by importing information about  their town/location.

    An example of a student portfolio can be viewed HERE.



    Step 1 - Goals and Outcomes

    Step 1 Goals and Outcomes

    Learning Intentions:



    Utah 3rd Grade Social Studies Core Standards:  

    Standard 1:  Students will understand how geography influences community location and development.

    Objective 1:

    Determine the relationships between human settlement and geography.

    1. Identify the geographic features common to areas where human settlements exist.

    2. Use map features to make logical inferences and describe relationships between human settlement and physical geography (e.g. population density in relation to latitude, cities' proximity to water, utilization of natural resources).

    3. Compare the shapes and purposes of natural and human-made boundaries of cities, counties and states.

    Utah 3rd Grade ELA Core Standards:

    Production and Distribution of Writing:  Writing Standard 4 - 

    With guidance and support from adults, produce writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task and purpose. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3 above.)


    Step 2 - Planning Instruction

    Step 2 Planning Instruction

    Student Background Knowledge --

    Prior to this lesson, students will need to have an understanding of:

    • Basic photography skills in order to document locations around their town/city
    • Basic sentence structure, uncluding proper use of grammar and punctuation
    • How to write a letter/email in the proper format
    • How to use Google Sites to design a portfolio
    • How to use AdobeSpark to create a video which will demonstrate competency

    Strategies for Diverse Learners --


    Student could be partnered so that taking pictures could be accomplished easier.

    A partnership or student grouping could be formed in order to create a Google Site together


    Encourage students to read other books in the Flat Stanley series

    Students could particpate in a creative writing activity where an adventure is created

    Students could find pen pals outside of the USA so that they can get to know more about their WORLD

    Students could document Stanley's travels as a class on a large map

    Step 3 - Instruction

    Step 3 Instruction

    1. The teacher will read aloud the story Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown to the class
    2. Prior to the beginning steps of the Flat Stanley project, students will be taught Digital Literacy from the Utah State Core.  (Strand 3, Standard 3).  In addition to learning about internet safety and how to navigate through email & Google tools, students will further be taught about copyright and proper citing of resources.
    3. Following the completion of the book, students will be given a Flat Stanley paper doll to cut out and decorate.  This will be what they use to help them document their town through photographs.  (See Flat Stanley cut out doll in attachment below)
    4. Using a digital camera or iPad, students will take 3-5 pictures documenting their town through important landmarks.  Pictures may be customized by adjusting the filters, cropping, or adjusting the lighting.
    5. With the pictures taken, students will then upload their pictures to their Google Site where they will choose the picture layout and format.  A brief description (1-2 sentences) will be used to give details of the picture.
    6. Once a pen pal has been assigned, students will begin writing back and forth through email and uploading pictures of Stanley's adventures to the Google Site portfolio.
    7. Students will additoinally be asked to create a short video using Adobe Spark where they will explan where their Stanley doll was sent and the adventures that took place.  Each student will need to create an Adobe account and create a short video clip of 5-10 slides. Audio enhancement, pictures, and enough details to document Stanley's journey should be included in the 1-2 minute video clip.


    *IF the idea of using Google Sites seems too overwhelming or difficult for your students, you can view the video below to understand the traditional way of carrying out the Flat Stanley project.

    Step 4 - Assessments

    Step 4 Assessments

    Students will be assessed through the following methods:

    • 3-5 photographs of their community uploaded
    • 1-2 sentences per photo, used to describe why that photo was taken and why is it a good representation of their town.  Sentences will need to use correct spelling, grammar and punctuation.
    • Coorespondence with their pen pal via email or letter form
    • Organization of their Google Site Portfolio
    • Presentation of their final product to their classmates
    • Creativity and presentation of Stanley's adventures via Adobe Spark video