Making Books with Second Graders, 3/2010

March 30, 2010

Books in Pockets

This past week I had the opportunity to  teach second graders how to make a vairety of books that they could use for their own ideas.   I met with four different classes three times each over the course of three days. Generally when I visit classrooms I come in to help facilitate a specific project, such as making poetry books, or books which showcase student research on a specific topic.  Not being used to showing students how to make books without a specific subject matter in mind, I wasn’t quite sure what would work the best for these students. I have to say that I made a few decisions that I was, ah, able to learn from.

Here’s what was going on: the students were involved in a week of testing, and the teachers wanted to offer an enjoyable counterpoint to the hours of focussed work that these children had to endure.  Applause, please!

Origami Pamphlet with hearts

The first thing I tried was to demonstrate  a varitey of simple book structures, and then allowed students the freedom to independently create a book of their own choosing.  I can confidently say that this was a terrible decision.  I quickly changed my agenda.  What worked best for these children was for me to work step by step, creating each structure with them, beginning to end, and then let them choose which structure they wanted to develop.  Together we made a book with a rubber band binding,  a modified-for-seconde-graders pamphlet stitched book,  a french-fold accordion book, an origami pamphlet, some pop-ups, paper springs, and origami pockets.  We used regular sized copy paper for all projects.

Four books by Second Graders

A Line-up of Pamphlet Sewn Books, Modified Technique for Second Graders

The next thing that I learned about second graders is the wide range of skills they bring to their work.  For this reason I can’t say that one structure was better than another for this age group in general.  I had suspected that using half sheets of copy paper (folded in half, nested together and bound with a #19 rubber band) would be too small a size for their big handwriting.  Wrong again.  The small size book was perfect for some students who might be intimdated by a larger book.

Rubber Band Bound Book

Sydney Loves to Draw

On the other hand, there are students in second grade who write small, and have much to say.  For these students, a largers book (8 1/2′ x 11″ papers folded in half and sewn together) offered them enough room to create chapters….

Pamplet stitched book by second grader

….though I have to say that, regardless of the skill level, the smaller books were generally a popular choice with the students.

Storybook by Second Grader

Enough said.  If you are inclined to look furthrer, here are a few more photos posted for your enjoyment.

More about Verdi (Rubber Band Bound Book)

Four page accordion book

French Fold Accordion Book, using regular sized copy paper

Small Book about a boy who loves baseball

There Once Was a Boy Who Loved Baseball

Rubber Band Book made from Half sheets of Copy Paper, Finished size; 5 1/2″ x 4 1/4″

2 Responses to “Making Books with Second Graders, 3/2010”

  1. Heather Smith Says:

    Paula,

    Thank you again for coming to our 2nd Grade and inspring the students to create and write books! We intend to do a grade wide follow-up as part of the Sci-Lit Fair at Lake Ave in May. I would also like to give my students an optional book making station in our classroom when they return from break. Do you have written and illustrated instructions for making the books that are approx. 4″ x 5″ with a rubberband binding? First we folded 81/2 x 11 paper like a book and cut the edge off, then we folded that page again like a book, nested serveal of those pages togetehr, cut nothces and used a rubber band as a binding.

    Thanks,
    Heather

    Like


  2. Hi Paula,
    I have been hearing from Cindy about your book arts work. I am just finishing up my MFA – started as a painter and fell in love with book arts along the way! I am very impressed with your site and your projects. Gives me lots of ideas – how many books about making books do you have so far? I only have 3….you should write one for kids and parents! I am supposed to teach a workshop this summer and will be working on which structure to use in the time allotted so will be checking out your blog more for ideas….

    Like


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