February 19, 2013
I went searching on the web for a tutorial on how to make this oh-so-simple little book, and was surprised not to have found much. I’ve been wanting to make this how-to page for some time. So here it is.
There are lots of variations that can be done with this…paper sizes, colors, numbers of pages. See my last post for some finished books. Here are some models:
When I am doing this with classes I will often use a copy machine to print lines on the paper for students. Using lined notebook paper works just fine too!
February 16, 2013
My collegiate son will soon be entering the Trig section of his Physics class. While that may sound like lots of fun, I know that he feel less than delighted when he encounters problems that require him to, say, find the cosine of 135 degrees. Of course he can look at a handy chart like this one below:
I have actually been wanting to play around with the info on the radian circle, to see if I could simplify the look of it, to make it seem less scary. Separating into four pages makes the patterns of the coordinates more obvious. Putting these separated sections into a graduated-page book translates this idea into an easily referenced tool.
This book structure has the novelty factor of having its pages staggered, which invites labeling the edges with the information that is located on the page. I’ve often used this structure with classes, especially when I am going for creating a book within a book, like in the weather book below.
Here, using the different layers of the book to generally reflect the different altitudes of different clouds helps to make these nebulous concepts more tangible.
On each page of this sample book drawings and information accompanied the label on the edge of the book.
A first grade teacher that I know, Mrs. Kavney, used this structure to create a book about ocean fish that live at different depths in the ocean. Since the drawing area on the pages gets larger one goes further into the book, and since ocean creatures tend to get larger in deeper ocean depths, I thought it was a fitting use of this structure.
A third class that I worked with made a book about Brazil that included a graduated page book about the rainforest. I had envisioned using the layers to describe layers of the rainforest, but the teacher wanted to use the page heading more like chapters. The students seemed to be comfortable with the size and the format, and made really lovely little books.
There’s many ways to do variations of this structure. Over the next few days I hope to be able to put together a tutorial about how to make this structure…which is something I have been wanting to do for quite some time. (Addendum: Graduated-Pages Tutorial is now posted!)
At the moment, though, I am basking in the glory of having given my son something that he called “AWESOME!”
March 4, 2012
I recently had a hankering to locally source (scavenge) some materials to use to make a book.
I have a bit of a collection of materials from a couple of fine local businesses. One is Blind Buck Interiors, a drapery and upholstery business, which has provided me with a many wallpaper and fabric sample books. Another is the Battenkill Creamery, a dairy which has a dedicated herd from which they process their own milk right on the farm. The milk can be bought in returnable glass bottles topped with a substantial plastic cap, which is not returnable. I have lots of caps.
I took some milk caps and sewed them on to some upholstery samples.
I started this project mostly because I had been admiring some circles that my daughter had been coloring in. She had made a graphically lovely pages of colored in circles, and I wanted to do some colorful circles too. I had some leftover scraps of watercolor washes lying around, so I punched out some circles and glued them to the caps.
I sewed in just a few signatures, using a simple butterfly stitch that I picked up from one of Keith Smith’s books. I used round shoe laces instead of thread, as the proportions seemed right and they were handy. One thing I like about making books is being able to use anything I feel like using to assemble a book.
This little book stands alone in how it stands alone. It already has a new home, but while it was still here every time I saw it I felt happy. It just looks so silly and lovely.
February 5, 2012
This is the second year I have done this journal project with fifth graders in Saratoga Springs. I wrote about it last year, but in less detail than I plan to write about it today.
This workshop day was requested by the school’s reading specialist, who had done a similar project on her own with a few students. She was impressed by the students’ reaction to their journals, and thus requested that I come for a day and make these books with the whole grade level, about 70 students.
We used paper from large wallpaper sample books. These books are 17″ tall, and about 12″ wide, though the width of the pages is bound tightly with industrial size staples. I cut the papers out of the books, so the final size is 17″ x 11 1/4;, though standard 17″ x 11″ paper would work well too. Wallpaper books are fun to use because each student’s book is visually unique.
The students folded the covers according to the directions above, with one exception. Before the last step of closing the cover, I asked them to snip off the tip of the triangle, about the width of a pencil.
Students then folded 5 sheets of standard sized paper, 8 1/2″ x 11″, however, to give the pages an antique-like look, we used Ivory faux parchment paper, made by Southworth. The four inside pages were run through the copy machine to copy on the lines pictured above. The outside page is unlined because, well, I like the look of unlined paper when the book is first opened.
Last year, to attach the pages to the cover, we had used a lovely cord called Rattail, from a beading shop, which turned out to be too smooth and slippery: the students’ knots kept coming undone. Yarn, twine or cotton cord could be other choices. Just nothing too stiff, too thick, or too smooth. This year we used 30 inch lengths of black and silver craft cord to attach the pages to the spine of the book cover, doing a no-needle method of sewing, illustrated in the direction sheet below.
This pretty much finished up the project. I like a book that feels more substantial, so, for a finishing touch, I handed each student two sheets of stiff oaktag type papers to slip into the front and back inside pockets.
I recommended that the students choose for themselves whether or not they wanted to put a dab of glue on the stiff paper so that it would, or would not, permanently affixed to the pocket. Also, they made their own decision as to whether or not they wanted to add a bit of glue to the edge of the pocket, thus closing off, or not closing off, the possibility of things sliding out the foredge side of the pocket.
I had asked the school to allot 75 minutes per class to make this book. The students were positive, capable, and engaged in their work. Each class finished with 5 to 7 minutes to spare, and there was no rushing. Bsides having such fine groups of students to work with (kudos to their teachers!) another factor that streamlined this project was that students picked out their covers prior to my visit in the class. I will be visiting this school again, seeing other classes. I look forward to taking a peek into the 5th grade again, to see how the students develop these journals.