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.
This project ran a bit over time. We were suppose to finish in 45 minuets, but it took 50 minutes. No one complained 🙂
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 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.
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.
The inside cover of the book has pockets, and more embellishments. The theme of this week at the school is roots and wings.
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.)
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.
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.
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 .
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.
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…)
Short recap: students were given images of coins, which add 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.
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.
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.
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.
There was a wide range of simplicity to complication of images.
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.
AFter teaching this many times, one of the biggest changes I’ve made to this project is to hand out only $1.50 in coins at first, from which the students pick and choose and count to make their $1.00 designs. They each get 10 pennies, 6 dimes, 6 nickels and two quarters. Then I give out the appropriate number of coins in arrays for the second page.
BIG TIP: Before teaching this class I encourage the teachers to get the kids practice doing their skip counting starting at a place other than zero. Also, I think it would be helpful for kids to skip count by 25’s before starting their money unit.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Next class, same thing happened. They filled up the space with big drawings.
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.