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Flat Santa makes the rounds
The fictional figure helps Pine Grove students express themselves.
By Paulette Lash Ritchie, Times Correspondent
Published February 21, 2008
BROOKSVILLE - First, there was Flat Stanley. Then came Flat Santa, who began his travels recently in Patricia Doyle's Pine Grove Elementary School fifth-grade class.
But first, a review of Flat Stanley.
"Flat Stanley is a book about a kid who got flattened by a board while he was sleeping," said 10-year-old Caleb McWhinnie, "and he got sent around the world and he got stamps from all over the world."
But Doyle's class didn't have a Stanley.
"Instead, since it's Santa," said Hailey Sims, 10, "she Doyle decided to make it Flat Santa, instead of Flat Stanley."
Flat Santa, made from a ruler and a laminated picture from the St. Petersburg Times that ran in December, was not as widely traveled as Flat Stanley. But he did see some action around Hernando County.
For the past few weeks, he has been with students "around campus and at their homes," said 11-year-old Taylor Dalton.
"We have to write down the adventures and what we did with him," said Megan Foglio, 11, "We formed it into a story and we bring it to Ms. Doyle and then we read it out to the class. We're doing artwork right now and we're going to ship it out."
"He helped me feed the animals and he helped me with my homework and he had sloppy Joes," said Caleb, about his time with Flat Santa.
"We played video games, watched TV," said 11-year-old Chris Kroon. "We played a little outside, did my homework."
Besides writing stories and drawing pictures about the time they spent with Flat Santa, the students also had to type their stories and use the computer to translate them into Spanish.
Doyle collected the texts and drawings and sent them out to be published. It will be done in English and Spanish.
The students seemed to agree the Flat Stanley project was a good idea. "It can teach kids how to spell, writing and I think that's it," said Maria Carver, 12.
Jesse Morgan, 11, said it was helpful, because it can help students "to learn how to write great stories."
Preston Wilmot, 11, said the assignment was about "getting to see what you do with Flat Santa, to write about him, to draw and color, and to get a note to publish it into a book."
Patrick Evans, 10, said the Santa project helped students get "experience in writing, so next time you're writing (for the) FCAT, you're prepared."
And as for Flat Santa, Douglas Schlimpf, 11, said, "You can do lots of stuff with him and he's always there to help you if you need something, hypothetically. He's not really real."