Binding Loose Papers · Making Books with children · Making books with elementary students

Pipe Cleaner Bound Scrapbook For Countries

Countries Scrapbook
Countries Scrapbook

Late last school year I designed a pipe cleaner bound structure that students were to use as a scrapbook for the their Heritage Week celebration at Indian Lake School, It was a colorful book that was easy to assemble within the 75 minute time frame that I had with the students. This fall a Saratoga Springs teacher asked me about doing a similar project. Her idea is that the third graders at her school will use colorful papers to create scrapbook pages for their unit on countries.

The Two-Color Version of this Scrapbook that Indian Lake Students Made Late L
The Two-Color Version of this Scrapbook that Indian Lake Students Made Late Last School Year

Even though I loved the colorful covers of the project that I did up in Indian Lake,we decided that the covers of this project should be a heavy, dark paper, resembling a valise. Since the inside papers that the students wil be using will be bright colors a dark cover seemed like the best way to go.

countries scrapbook two page spread
The teacher's sample page

I want to say that I love the way the teachers are planning this project. Their classes are studying five countries. For the first country (which is the USA) the teacher will be reading aloud to the students about  a country. As a class, students will be taking notes, and each step of their research will be carefully guided. The plan is that as the year progresses the students become more and more independent in reading and taking notes.

Sample page done by the teacher
Detail of Sample Page done by the Classroom Teacher

The hope is that by showing the students, explicitly, what is considered important and how to reasearch and write about it, that the students will form a template in their minds, and, if not, they can refer to the previous pages in their book. of the previous countries that they studied, when deciding on what is important to research.

My part of this project, then, was to help students make a folder that they could feel proud of even before they designed the inside pages. I use sparkly pipe cleaners, and provided a world map sized perfectly for this structure. My hope is that the students will label and (beautifully) color in the compass rose, and that they will color in and identify the countries that they are studying, using bright labels. This map is actually on the second layer of the cover, and is positioned so that the compass rose sort of peaks out from behind the top layer.

Here’s the top layer, predicatably labeled “Countries”, with a line underneath for the students to write their names. The  label that I gave them showed the outline of the word “Countries,” so that students can playfully color in the letters.

Since the students will be using squares of paper and cut out images on their pages, it seemed like a good idea to provide an inside pocket for the students to use, in case they needed to store a bit of this and that before gluing. We made origami pockets for the inside cover, though a properly sized, pre-made envelope would work well, too.

These third grades (about 25 students per class) had no trouble making this structure in the 75 – 80 minutes that I had with them. I will be visiting these same students later on in the year to work with them on a different project. I have to say that I am looking forward to see how their pages develop.

I am nearly done with writing up a set of directions for this Pipe Cleaner Bound Scrapbook. Stay tuned.

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