Here’s a project I did with second graders a number of years ago, but, for a specific reason that I will divulge at the end of this post, I chose not write about. Now, having just come across this folder of picture, I liked the images so much that I decided it’s time write about these books.
These second grade student chose to a local bird to research. My job was to design a project that would showcase the results of the research, display some generalized info about the life cycle of the bird, have an “About the Author” section, as well incorporate a diorama that flatten, and which included pop-ups and a paper spring.
I can’t say for sure (though I will dig up my notes and include this info later) but I’d say that this book stand about 10″ high. You can see that it opens from the center to reveal the habitat of the bird.
We were able to do two pop-ups; one in the sky and once on the forest floor. The Blue Jay is attached with a paper spring to give the bird some dimension and movement.
On the backside of the habitat there’s ample room for research and everything else.
Food and Interesting facts go on one of the sides.
Facts about the bird’s appearance and their habitat are written on the far edges of the paper…
….with life cycle info at the center…
…topped off by information about the author.
Now here’s some details to notice. To get the front sections to stay together, the rotated center square is glued on half of its surface, the other half slides under the long strip, which is glued down just at its bottom and top. The details of the decorative elements on the fronts of the books were created with simple, geometric symmetries. I loved the decisions that kids made with the shapes!
Another idea that the students worked with was the idea of using different mediums and methods to make thehabitat. The cloud is foam, there’s cut paper shapes, drawing with markers and crayons, a few shapes created with paper punches (the butterfly and dragonflies) paper springs behind the owls, and both a one-cut and a two-cut pop-up: all with the goal of creating an interesting, texture display.
As you might imagine, these books are made using lots of separate pieces. For this kind of project I generally first have the students make a large origami pocket from a 15″ square paper so that we have container in which to keep everything organized. The classroom teacher, Gail DePace, who I could always count on to enrich my projects with her own personal standards of excellence, had the idea to ask the students to decorate their origami pockets as if they were bird’s nest, complete with appropriately colored eggs.
The students added another dimension to this project by creating their birds in clay and putting them on display along with their books.
At the beginning of this post I said that there was a reason that I hadn’t written about this project. As lovely as the project is, the teacher, who was a spectacular collaborator on this and all projects that we did together, didn’t love this project. She noted that this structure didn’t work well as a book, that it was awkward for the kids to open to the “pages” and read their work when it came time to do their presentation of the final project.
I’d have to agree that this project works much better as a display than as a book. Oh, and it looks great in pictures too. Sometimes, though, the display and the documentation are the priorities, so that’s what I’d keep in mind for this project next time.