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!

 

Envelope Journal

Envelope Journal

I will be heading up to the Adirondacks in the morning to work with students, helping them make drawing journals. I get thirty to forty-five minutes with each class. On Tuesday the students spend time with the talented, stupendous, creative scientist/artist Sheri Amsel, who will work with these same students, teaching them to draw nature.

I am so jealous these kids get to spend time with Sheri.  Her drawings look like this:

I am creating this post as I pack for tomorrow. I’ve designed these projects one right after another, and we will be making the books in such a compressed amount of time tomorrow, that I might forget to take photos, and I might forget what we did…I like these projects so much that I don’t want to forget them.

Envelope book wrapped with Wallpaper Sample Cover

Envelope book wrapped with Wallpaper Sample Cover

The photo above and the one at the top is the project for the first graders. (I am packing the projects in the reverse order that I am seeing the classes -which is how I hope to stay organized.) This is a thick little book whose pages are made by sliding the flap of an envelope into another envelope, them repeating until the desired number of pages are achieved. The whole book block gets wrapped in a long piece of decorative paper.

Second and third graders will sew pages together, attaching beads on the spine, and using specialty papers for the book cover, and paper punched winged things as embellishments.

Pocketed book cover

Pocketed book cover

The inside cover of the book has pockets, and more embellishments. The theme of this week at the school is roots and wings.

Book on a Stick

Book on a Stick

Kindergartners will be making a book on a stick. These are long half-sheets of paper, folded in half (closed, the book block measures 5.5″ x 4.25″), bound with a #33 rubber band. The sticks are like the stir-sticks that Starbucks has out on creamer counter. If we can find sticks from outside to use, I’d like that. A big part of my thinking in putting together these projects is trying to get students to see that they can make a book anytime they want, using available materials.

Front is decorated with bling. Maybe I will get students to make a design like mine, which references the Fibonacci sequence… no reason not to! (hmm, one of my blings fell off, see it there in the background…messed up my numbers. Oh well.)

Sky Paper Book

Sky Paper Book

The pre-k crowd will be making these stab “sewn” books with this fun sky paper on the cover. Instead of threading anything, they will use craft pipe-cleaners for the binding. Decorate with stick-on clouds, a few simple birds in flight?, and a one and three-quarter inch radiant sun.

Thick book

Thick book

Finally, now packing my first project of the day. This is for the fourth and fifth graders. It’s a four-signature book (each signature is an origami pamphlet folded from 11″ x 17″ paper) sewn together with shoelace tipped yarn. The holes will be punched with a regular punch, as are holes in the cover that the ribbons are threaded through.

Inside the Thick book

Inside the Thick book

It’s the ribbons that hold the cover to the book block. The covers are wallpaper samples pieces. I have a pile that the kids can choose from.

Okay, now to remember to pack glue sticks, scissors, and then pack up the car and g o  t o  s l e e p .

 

 

 

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/

 

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.

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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.

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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.

 

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