Journals All Day Long

June 13, 2017

I’ve just noticed that I am more apt to blog about a project before I do it with kids when I am very nervous about how it will turn out.

I was very nervous about most of the projects that I wrote about in my last post. 

Making beautiful drawing journals in one class period is challenging. I’m relieved to say that the day of bookmaking went really well.

This post will mostly be a photo essay of making five styles of books, with kids ages 4 though 11.

Pre-K Book, Pipe Cleaner Binding

Pre-K Book, Pipe Cleaner Binding

 

The Pre-K kids immediately started to fill their books with drawings,and showing their creatations to each other.

Pre-K sharing

The Pre-K kids immediately started to fill their books with drawings, and lost no time showing off their creations to each other.

First Graders, book on a stick

Kindergartners, book on a stick

Kindergartners did a simple rubber-band and stick binding. They all wanted to decorate their sticks.  Most of the students tended towards making animal shapes with the bling.

First Graders, envelope book

First Graders, envelope book

The big surprise of the day, for me, was both how quickly the first graders finished their project and how amazingly beautiful they turned out. These books took them only twenty minutes to make.

First graders assembling their books

First graders assembling their books

Knowing what I know now I would slow the project down and help the kids less. I was so nervous about how this project would  go.

Assembling envelopes into pages

Assembling envelopes into pages

 

Finished Envelope books

Finished Envelope books

 Wallpaper-sample covers were simply glued on.  These look so good to me.

Simple sewing, lots of embellishments

Simple sewing, lots of embellishments

The modified pamphlet stitch book with pocketed covers made by 2nd & 3rd graders was the only project that I’ve done so often with students that I knew it would go well.

Second and Third graders made sewn book with beads

Second & Third graders made sewn book with beads

 

Ribbon Journal

Ribbon Journal

The highlight of the day, for me, was making these sewn journals with 4th & 5th graders.

 

 

The book block was made from 4 pieces of 11″ x 17″ papers folding into origami pamphlets, then sewn together side-by-side. All the holes for sewing were punched by paper punches.

Wallpaper-sample covers were attached by threading ribbons through holes in the cover and endpapers.

Ribbon Journals made by 4th and 5th graders

Ribbon Journals made by 4th and 5th graders

This project ran a bit over time. We were suppose to finish in 45 minuets, but it took 50 minutes. No one complained 🙂

Aerial view of Ribbon Books

Aerial view of Ribbon Books

These books, like most of the other books made yesterday, were constructed without glue, The only exception is the envelope books.  I didn’t exclude the use of glue intentionally, but I guess I think about glueless structures more often than not.

This was the last class of this school season. Now I can get back to some housecleaning.

I am ending this season happy!

 

Paper-quilting sqaure

Paper-quilting sqaure

Yesterday was paper-quilt square day with second graders. This is the central graphic of the Western Expansion project that this group started last week.

Although this project is designed to align with this class’s curriculum, I have to say, this quilting part has great possibilities for as a summer project.

Templates and samples

Templates and sample

Although I’ve been playing around with rhombuses in squares (along with my friend Malke)I hadn’t yet mixed rhombi and squares together within the same square. This may sound like a small detail, but it creates the possibility to make many new decisions. What I provided was some samples to hint at the wide range of  choices students could make, colorful papers that had squares and rhombuses on them ready to cut, and a kind of complex looking white template.

 

I tried to get these second graders to see the rhombuses as well as the squares and the triangles in this map of shapes. I wasn’t sure if they’d get it. Maybe second grade is too young to be able to make sense out of all these lines?

Ha! Some students struggled more than others, but they absolutely were able to make sense of this, and make some great designs. 

Some students added their own graphics to the papers that I gave them.

Quilting square, journal and compass rose

Quilting square, journal and compass rose

Some students created miniature designs for the covers of the journals that they made during a previous class.

Starting the quilting square

Starting the quilting square

Here’s a nice sequence, showing the first steps of one student’s work…..

Paper Quilting square nearing completion

Paper Quilting square nearing completion

…and here it is, nearly done. For the most part students used cut-paper as their medium, but finishing off some of the small spaces with marker was a great way of working.

 

The students in the classroom went wild over the piece in the above photo. . The young man who created it had a long explanation for the choices he made, and his classmates were riveted by his reasoning.

Paper-Quilting square in book

Paper-Quilting square in book

Students needed only about forty minutes to design and assemble their squares.

We finished off this project by making the crisscross which held their journal in place (I gave very little direction on how to do this: mostly I just said, “can you figure this out?’ to which to replied yes or no, but in either case they did figure it out themselves. I just helped them make a knot in the back that kept the yarn from being saggy)

Then students glued on their title, added in the writing they had already created, and most of them drew a covered wagon on the front, which I had done with my sample, but I hadn’t anticipated that they would want to do as well. Without further explanations, here are some more close ups of the rest of this really engaging project.

 

 

 

 

And, last photo, here’s what the paper table looked like when we were done.

Fancy Plane Shapes

April 30, 2017

Second Graders are learning their shapes. What a great age to be composing, decomposing and recomposing.

Bird on the left, hexagon & rectangle on the right

Bird on the left, hexagon & rectangle on the right

These images are the final part of the Wallet-Book project that I began with about 66 students earlier this week. After making images that had a value of 100 we moved on to getting up-close and intimate with parallelograms and trapezoids.

Students got strips of these parallelograms, which I had printed on five different colored papers. We looked at the parallelograms and noticed that they were made of two triangles. After separating a triangle, we fit next to a full parallelogram, to see how the two shapes, together, could make a trapezoid.

Triangle plus parallelogram makes a trapezoid

Triangle plus parallelogram makes a trapezoid

The kids seemed delighted by this discovery. While most students illustrated this connection with three different images…

Three shapes on one

Three shapes on one

…there was one student who took an elegant approach, which was to make just one shape, then label the way it could be broken down into its parts.

Hexagon, rectangles and star

Hexagon, rectangles and star

Next we moved on to hexagons, rectangles, then, finally, a shape of their own choosing. The kids loved noticing how three parallelograms not only are the parts of a hexagon, but also, that their hexagon has the appearance of a cube drawn in perspective. The toughest shape for the students to make was the rectangle, as this meant that they had to divide a triangle in half, the rotate and reflect the pieces. Not so easy. Try it.

Designing

Designing

After making the compulsory curriculum shapes the kids went free-form, designing their own creations. My seventy minutes time slot with each class of 22 students just flew by!

Whale on the water, spouting

Whale on the water, spouting

Some students made abstractions with the shapes, others created scenes or something recognizable.

Playing with shapes

Playing with shapes

Since this was the first time I was doing this project in the classroom, and since I had three classes to work with, I kept changing how I presented the project, getting a better feel each time for better ways to get the kids to interact with the shapes within the time frame I had with them, and within the agenda that needed to be addressed. For each class, though, I kept the curriculum piece at the beginning of my time with the students, ending the class the creative part. I think I’d like to see what happens if I flip that order of working, as perhaps it will let students discover on their own things that I actively try to get them to see.

 

Pieces in pockets of Wallet-Book

Pieces in pockets of Wallet-Book

When we finished, any extra parallelograms were stored in the origami pocket we had made during out last session, looped a humongous rubber band into a hole punched into the front flap, created and ID card for the front, and added some bling, because, well, bling.

wallet-books

wallet-books

The Wallet-folders, by the way, are made from heavy weight 11″ x 17″ paper that has a four-inch fold along the bottom edge, which creates the pockets. There are two 7-inch wide pockets within, and a 3-inch fold-over flap. If you are wondering where I got this awesome paper that is tinted with black, blue, and silver, with a light cast of gold above, well, thank you for wondering. I spray painted the papers (outside, of course, with a mask on) so I could have exactly what I wanted. Yeah, a bit crazy, but that’s what I do.

Making Books with Money

April 27, 2017

Flower

Flower

Oh my gosh, working with second grade students is so rich.

They have skills, they are enthusiastic and uninhibited, and tapping into their learning curve is delightful.

Windshield, with George in the driver's seat

Windshield, with George in the driver’s seat

I’m working with three sections with about 22 students per class, so I’m getting to see about 66 different ways that students are making sense of the 100 cents project that I described in my last post. (oh, there’s an unintended pun in that last sentence, did you get it?

Abstract design

Abstract design

Short recap: students were given images of coins, which added up to $3.00, from which they chose $1.00, or 100 cents, worth of coins to create a design.

These students hadn’t started studying money yet, which was fine. Most students seemed to understand how much coins were worth, though certainly a few students had no idea about the value of coins.

It was fun, when adding up the value of nickels, to say, Now you know why it comes in handy to count by fives.

Person

Person

Making the wallet-book to house the 100 cent images, then making the images was what we got done on the first day. Separating out 100 cents was certainly the most challenging part of the project. The designs flowed freely.

Bug

Bug

Day 2 was a bit more challenging, but I think that the toughest part was just communicating to them what I was looking for, which was for the students to make matching arrays of the coins that they used in their designs, then providing the equation which showed that the value of the coins equal 100.

Aiirplane

airplane

Turns out that this array-making uncovered a few mistakes. For instance the airplane pictures above was five cents short, so he added a nickel on to the bottom and all was well.

Person in landscape

Person in landscape

There was a wide range of simplicity to complication of images.

Flower

Flower

If students didn’t have enough coins of a certain value left from their original 300 cent to making the matching array, they would exchange change with another student, at least that was the plan, which worked fairly well. I did bring lots of extra coins, for moments when it seemed better just to hand students what they needed.

Still, everyone should have had 100 cents left over. These coins got glued on to a pocket of their wallet book, along with a statement of the value of these coins.  That little black folder that contains the 100 cent image now has an enlarged section of a colorful buck glued on to the front. After all that figuring and adding, it was great to end yesterday’s class with some playful coloring in.

Okay, one more day with these students. The next piece that goes into the wallet-book has to do with combining shapes to make other shapes, much in the same way that we combined values of coins to make other values.

The most joyful moments during these days is having this opportunity to be a part of these early moments of learning about addition. When students say that they can’t get their numbers to add up to 100, though they know that they do, I can sit with them and help them sort out what’s going on. It’s so illuminating for me hear them tell me what they’ve done, and then to help them see another way of interacting with the numbers.

Addendum: as soon as this post went up the generous and brilliant connector-of-all -things-math offered me this link to some other coin projects http://mathhombre.blogspot.com/2009/08/money-games.html

Simply awesome.

Addendum #2: here’s the link to the final post of this project https://bookzoompa.wordpress.com/2017/04/30/fancy-plane-shapes/

 

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