A lesson plan in community outreach

Published: Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 02:12 PM.

Garcia and her classes participate in the Flat Stanley Program, which takes the pen-pal concept to another level. The basic principle is to connect a child, student or classroom with other children and classrooms around the world that participating in the project.

They become connected by creating and sending a “flat” visitor – Flat Stanley is a series of children’s books – that looks like a human and the kids track, talk and write each other about the journey’s their “flat” visitors have taken.

Garcia’s class connected to a class in Mexico, where Garcia used to teach English. Her students were able to write and speak to their “class-pals” in Spanish.

“It was good for them,” Garcia said. “Each student basically makes a paper doll. It is really a fun and educational way to be connected to another classroom in another part of the world. The kids have a lot of fun.”

Valerie Ostrom, mother of an Air Force son, hosts an online Facebook page “Parents of a Son or Daughter in the Military” which sponsors four card/letter writing campaigns to troops each year.

Ostrom’s group partnered with Flat Stanley and schools to expand the letter-writing campaigns and Garcia met Ostrom.

Garcia’s classes “adopted” a soldier each of the past three years – the current “adoptee” is due home from overseas this week – and kept in touch with letters and cards.

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