I had planned that this post be about the Paul Johnson show, but I won’t be able to get in to photograph it just yet. Instead I’ve decided to seize the moment and write about this great back-to-school project that Gail DePace did with her 2nd graders a few years ago. Gail and I worked together many times, and I see my influence in these books, but Gail (now retired) was an inspired teacher in her own right, and just took off with any of the skills that she picked up from me. What she did here was make a template of a young person, which each student personalized in their own likeness. With some simple folding the students created a pocket, which was glued on to the front of the book and which held the little self.
For the body of the book I’m fairly sure that Gail started out with a somewhat large sheet of paper, probably 11 inch x 17 inch (A3). The folds are based on the Origami Pamphlet folds. That cut away window in the middle makes a place for a secret picture, which is only revealed with when the book is set up in a certain way. Like this…
Here the book is set up so you can peek into the lives of the author.
Here’s the bird’s eye view of the book. Have you noticed the bit of framing that is done around some of the little drawings? This is accomplished by providing each student with just one square post-it, which they mount, temporarily, in their book, then color around it, thus masking off what’s beneath.
As lovely as this structure is, it’s the content that makes them so fabulous. Student wrote about their family, about their favorite place to be (which was illustrated inside the window) and what they like and dislike.
Then they ended the book with hopes for the future.
Hmm. I love student work.