By making flat people and sending them off to friends or family, third-graders at Sunflower School are learning about literature, geography and writing.
Flat Julie went on vacation with her grandma and grandpa to Colorado, Utah and Arizona. She's back now and is hanging on a wall in a hallway at Sunflower School.
Flat Whitney is off visiting Danny Manning and his family in Phoenix. Whitney hasn't returned to Lawrence yet.
And Flat Rahul is in India with a Sunflower School fourth-grader who is visiting her family. Flat Rahul won't return to the United States until December.
The "flat kids" are part of a project that the three third-grade classes at Sunflower have worked on for several weeks. It was inspired by the book "Flat Stanley," which the children read.
In the book, Stanley is flattened by a bulletin board as he sleeps one night. He's fine, but he's flat. Flat Stanley can do lots of fun things -- slip under doors, serve as a kite for his younger brother and help his mother retrieve a ring by slipping through a grate in the sidewalk.
Flat Stanley also goes on a trip to California to visit a friend. He folds himself up so his parents can slip him into an envelope -- with an egg salad sandwich and milk -- and mail him to California.
That inspired the three third-grade teachers to ask their students to make flat versions of themselves. The students wrote letters to family members or friends, asking them to take the flat versions of the children with them wherever they went. The friends and family were asked to take photographs to document the flat children's travels and to write a letter about the flat children's adventures.
The project combines reading, social studies and writing, teacher Gerry Bukaty said.
Flat Greg Ziemak's grandmother and grandfather in New York are having such a great time with him that they haven't sent him back yet. But they've sent pictures.
"I've played golf," said the regular-size Greg, 8. "And I tripped over a hose and fell."
Flat Rahul Gogineni went with a friend, Priya Mishra, a Sunflower fourth-grader, to visit India until the end of the year. The real Rahul, 9, said he visited India last summer.
"He's probably just running around," he said of Flat Rahul. "He's probably going to stay there for a long time."
Flat Julie Heschmeyer had a few harrowing moments during her trip west with her grandparents. Flat Julie had to hold a rock during one picture-taking session so she wouldn't blow away.
"That one was not enjoyable," the real Julie, 9, deadpanned.
And Flat Julie has a couple of pin holes in her head from being pinned to a tree.
"But I had the whole back seat to myself," the real Julie said.
Flat Whitney Juneau is in sunny Phoenix, hanging out with Danny Manning and his wife and daughter.
"I'm hoping they'll take a picture of me with Taylor, their little girl," said the real Whitney, 8, whose father, Ted Juneau, was Manning's basketball coach at Lawrence High School.
Manning plays professional basketball with the Phoenix Suns. And Whitney hopes Flat Whitney gets a chance to meet the team.
"I'd maybe like a group picture with the coach holding me up," she said.