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.

 

100 Cent House

100 Cent House

Tomorrow I will be starting a new project with second graders. Counting money is part of their curriculum, so both the math specialist and teachers liked the idea of addressing money in our book making project. This is a first for me. I’ve never even thought about folding money concepts into bookmaking.

One Hundred Cent flower design

One Hundred Cent flower design

I let my thinking about this be inspired by the idea of the Hundred-Face challenge that Simon Gregg and Malke Rosenfeld have written about, in which students use Cuisenaire Rods to make silly fun faces that have the added value of adding up to 100 (depending on its length, each rod has a value 1 – 10).  Okay, great! We can make designs that out of images of quarters, dimes, nickles and pennies!

I created sheets of coins, being mindful that the coins were the actual size of their reality counterparts.

a Mess of

a Mess of “coins”

The idea will be to count out one dollar worth of coins, then take that mess,

100 Cent Kid

100 Cent Kid

and make something, anything. Could be a pleasing abstract arrangement, could be a face, a person, a rocket ship, letters, but it must add up to one dollar. Then make arrays with coins to make them easy to count.  Since we’re dealing with money, my thought was to make a….

Wallet Book

Wallet Book

…Wallet Book! Put an ID card on the front, a closure, a little bling…

Inside the Wallet Book

Inside the Wallet Book

… and pockets on the inside. There are two folders in the pockets here, the one I’ve written about, and another one that is about shapes, which I will write about at another time.

Something else about this 100 cent folder: its cover is a blow up of a dollar bill. This will be a nice lead-in to talking about a bit of history of printing, that before things were printed in color, making black engravings then coloring them in by hand was all the rage. Here’s a hand-colored hummingbird from Getty Images of a hand painted engravings:

Hand-colored engraving from the Getty Collection

Hand-colored engraving from the Getty Images

Now here’s my hand-colored dollar, which the second graders, as they color their own, will get to know closely.

Hand-colored Engraving

Hand-colored Engraving

Why not? I mean, when else will they be able to color in a dollar? Or course it’s an enlarged copy of just a portion of a dollar bill, so there’s no temptation to try to use it as lunch money.

There’s been many pieces to get together for this project.Here’s the PDF of the coins and the image of the dollar. They are black and white files, which I printed on colored paper.

Now here’s the video that I made of this part of the project, which I hope to show to the classes tomorrow. My thought is that if it’s possible for them to view this on the Smart Boards in the classroom that it will be easier for the students to see. We’ll see how that goes. I’m looking forward to seeing the designs that kids come up with, and wondering how hard this will be for them.

Re-Framing a Lesson

January 28, 2017

Bookmaking with First Graders

Bookmaking with First Graders

OMG Have I got a teaching tip for anyone who has ever pulled their hair out trying encourage students to make their drawings bigger, to fill up the page. It’s only taken me like 25 years of working with students to figure this out. This is big.

Filling up a page with a drawing

Filling up a page with a drawing

There’s this variations of a bookmaking project that I do with mostly first and second graders that includes a drawing. The bigger and bolder the drawing is, the better it looks in the book. Needless to say, it’s such a struggle for this age of student to make their drawings big enough.

img_20170127_135813.jpg

Usually I give the students the paper that their drawing goes on and do everything but beg them to draw bigger. Well, sometimes I beg. Then, yesterday  (Friday)  Carter, a 7 year-old in my first class of the day, suggested that, before they start their drawing, I  lay the paper inside the frame that will surround it. It had never occurred to me to do this, so I tried it out in my next class of the day.

img_20170127_135647.jpg

Unbelievable. In my next class, after sliding the paper behind the frame before the drawing began, every single student filled up the paper with large bold drawings to go along with their stories.

Never has this happened before.

Maybe it was just a fluke, maybe this class had been bribed enough times to fill up the page that they now did it instinctively. I had one more class to go.

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Next class, same thing happened. They filled up the space with big drawings.

img_20170127_135829.jpg

Some students lifted the frame away after the first part of the drawing was done so that they could make their drawings even bigger. OMG I was so happy. My conclusion: if you want students to make a drawing to fill up a space, FRAME THE SPACE with a dark frame! I don’t know why it works, but far be it from me to ever think I can fathom what goes on in the mind of a 7 year-old.

Now here’s the part that gives me chills…I have to ask myself, why did Carter put forth his suggestion? I give credit to this: recently I was impressed by reading Malke Rosenfeld’s book about engaging students in whole body learning. While I teach different subject matter than Malke, I am deeply impressed by how she gives her students permission to explore the learning space before she begins her lessons. I took this to heart, and this week, for the first time, within certain boundaries, I encouraged students to fold and unfold, then explore and examine the materials that we were using together. In some way I think this sense of engagement with the materials led Carter to making a suggestion that was based on what would have worked better for him. I already know that my best teaching tips come from the single digit crowd, I just don’t always know how to tap into them.

So thank you Malke, thank you Carter, and OMG I am so happy.

 

Adirondack Bird Books by second graders

Adirondack Bird Books by second graders

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.

Adirondack Robin

Adirondack Robin

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.

Adirondack Birds Katelyn's Eagle 2

Adirondack Birds Katelyn’s Eagle

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.

Adirondack Blue Jay

Adirondack Blue Jay

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.

Adirondack Birds, Chelsea's Hummingbird Book

Adirondack Birds, Chelsea’s Hummingbird Book

Food and Interesting facts go on one of the sides.

Blue Jay book

Blue Jay book

Facts about the bird’s appearance and their habitat are written on the far edges of the paper…

Adirondack Birds Life cycle back of book

Adirondack Birds Life cycle back of book

….with life cycle info at the center…

Adirondack Birds Chelsea's hummingbird

Adirondack Birds Chelsea’s hummingbird

…topped off by information about the author.

Adirondack Birds Chelsea's hummingbird 2. jpg

Adirondack Birds, Chelsea’s Hummingbird Book. jpg

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!

Adirondack Owl

Adirondack Owl

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.

Adirondack bird nest made from Origami Pocket

Adirondack bird nest made from Origami Pocket

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.

 

 

clay owl

clay owl

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.

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