Books Made from one sheet of folded paper · How-to · origami pamphlet · simple book binding

Four Books Students Can Figure Out How to Make on Their Own

Origami-Base-for-Star-Book-and-Cascading-Book
PDF version

For years, until she retired, I worked with an enthusiastic classroom teacher named Anna who loved seeing her students make books. Instead of teaching bookmaking skills she created a bookmaking corner in her classroom that included a little display of books that I had taught her how to make. These books were accompanied by written directions and a stack of paper. Anna’s third grade students had a great time making books independently.

Last week I received a note from Lana, a teacher in Canada who I follow and who always has insights that I value. Here’s what she wrote:

I started a personal history project with my kids today, with  the big idea that our histories are different but we learn about each other because we are a community. Students start with creating a personal history of 5-10 important events in their lives. What if I open it a bit and let kids work with paper in 3 dimensions? Someone wants a line, someone else a book, a spiral, a tree, a flexagon?

I was wondering if there are some formats that you could recommend that don’t require too much pre-teaching. Ideally kids can follow template/video.

Origami books made from a multiple folded papers, to create a Star Book and a Cascading Book, aka Origami Caterpillar Book
Origami books made from a multiple folded papers, to create a Star Book and a Cascading Book, aka Origami Caterpillar Book

Thinking about Anna’s bookmaking corner, I want to suggest a few books to Lana.

I decided to take this opportunity to finally get around to creating the StarBook/Cascading Book tutorial (at the top of this post) with video accompaniment:

This modular origami book can be tricky, but it is totally doable, The folding needs to be done precisely, folds need to be sharp, and it’s important to pay attention to the orientation of the modules as they get glued together.

Fact is though, that it looks tricker than it is. It’s a structure I highly recommend because it’s so dynamic.

Bookmaking by Paula Beardell Krieg

The next book I want to highlight is the Origami Pamphlet. This is the #1 book that I would like every person in the world to know how to make. Here’s the link to my post https://bookzoompa.wordpress.com/2009/11/30/how-to-make-an-origami-pamphlet 

Another set of these directions that I like belongs to Tim Winkler, and can be viewed at http://pictureengine.net/?p=7960

Mike Lawler made a 24 second video -Voila!- showing a piece of paper transform into the origami pamphlet  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APfeGF0HqvY 

Books made from one or two pieces of paper

The biggest problem with the origami pamphlet is that if you’re using regular copy paper, the book will be rather small,  If this bothersome there are two good variations that result in a larger book (other than just finding a larger sheet of paper):

You can link two of the structures together with a rubber band. That’s what’s going on with the lilac/blue booklet above. Well, I guess it’s not actually a larger book, it’s just longer.

Making a larger origami pamphlet by linking two halves together
Two Book Bases linked together to make an origami pamphlet

A way make a larger origami pamphlet is to use two sheets of paper to make two halves, then attach them together (use glue, tape, paper clips, staples? whatever ) like in the photo above.  I call this half-or-an-origami pamphlet a book base.

An advantage of making a book this way is that, if composition paper is used, the lines will be going in the correct direction for writing on.

There are so many fabulous inventive book structures students can make, but sometimes it’s great to just fold a bunch of papers in half, secure them together, and be done with it. The problem here is that it is not obvious how to secure the pages together. A doable no-needle way to sew pages together in a classroom setting is to use a bit of string or yarn to do a modified pamphlet stitch.

Modified Pamphlet Stitch
Modified Pamphlet Stitch

There you have it, four books:

  • the Star Book,
  • the Cascading Book,
  • the Origami Pamphlet (with two variations) and
  • the Modified Pamphlet Stitch book

Lana’s note mentions a spiral. I’ve been playing with some spiraling pages lately, and I have something wonderful that I want to share, but the spiral deserves its own post: which will hopefully show up here in the near future.

 

 

Book Art · Books Made from one sheet of folded paper · origami pamphlet

The Autobiography of a Second Grader -back to school!

Pocketed Selves
An Autobiography Book by Gail DePace’s 2nd graders, 2010

I had planned that this post be about the Paul Johnson show, but I won’t be able to get in to photograph it just yet. Instead I’ve decided to seize the moment and write about this great back-to-school project that Gail DePace did with her 2nd graders a few years ago. Gail and I worked together many times, and I see my influence in these books, but Gail (now retired) was an inspired teacher in her own right, and just took off with any of the skills that she picked up from me. What she did here was make a  template of a young person, which each student personalized in their own likeness. With some simple folding the students created a pocket, which was glued on to the front of the book and which held the little self.

 

Origami Pamphlet, modified
Based on Origami Pamphlet folds

For the body of the book I’m fairly sure that Gail started out with a somewhat large sheet of paper, probably 11 inch x 17 inch (A3). The folds are based on the Origami Pamphlet folds. That cut away window in the middle makes a place for a secret picture, which is only revealed with when the book is set up in a certain way. Like this…

Looking through the window
Looking through the window

Here the book is set up so you can peek into the lives of the author.

View from above
View from above

Here’s the bird’s eye view of the book. Have you noticed the bit of framing that is done around some of the little drawings? This is accomplished by providing each student with just one square post-it, which they mount, temporarily, in their book, then color around it, thus masking off what’s beneath.

2

As lovely as this structure is, it’s the content that makes them so fabulous. Student wrote about their family, about their favorite place to be (which was illustrated inside the window) and what they like and dislike.

It turns out that no one likes picking up their brother's dirty socks
It turns out that no one likes picking up their brother’s dirty socks

Then they ended the book with hopes for the future.

artist

Hmm. I love student work.

 

 

Making Books with children · Making books with elementary students · origami pamphlet

An End of the School Year Project

Maria's First Grade Memories Book
Maria’s First Grade Memories Book

As the last day of school approaches, what could be a more compelling subject for a book  than  memories of the school year?

Memory book with frames on pages
Origami Pamphlet with Window Cut out of Pages 3 and 4

Since I have already written posts about using the Origami Pamphlet structure I hadn’t intended on writing a post about this most recent project. But when I looked over the photos I so very much liked the student work that, well, here they are…

Seeing a turtle
Remembering the Turtle

Before I started my time with these first grade students they had worked with their teachers, making lists about activities and events that stood out to them over the school year. They made drawings and did writing that reflected their favorite memories.

Playing Dodgeball
Playing Dodgeball was a big favorite First Grade Memory for these students. I remember liking dodgeball, too.

I never get enough of looking at drawings by first graders.

Playing Dodgeball, framed
Playing Dodgeball, framed

Cutting a window into the Origami Pamphlet makes the drawing the centerpiece of the book.

Update -oops, as I was thinking that this design seemed more sophisticated than what the average first grader could do, it occured to me that this is the work of one of the teachers, Mrs. Israel.

Each time that I give my lesson on making WOW! designs I am stunned by the inventive variations that the students come up with.

Bold Designs and Great Handwriting

It seemed to me that playing dodgeball, having an in-classroom “camping” experience and, having an ice-cream party were among the most celebrated events of the year. Only one student ranked “bookmaking” as a favorite memory, but I supposed that, while I was there, bookmaking hadn’t actually become a memory just yet.  Now here’s one of my favorite drawings….

Mothers’ Day Tea

As usual, but not shown, I asked students to trace their hands on the last page of the book. The traced hand is a great addition to a first grade book because at this time next year each of their little hands will be significantly larger. So, if you are a first grade teacher reading this post and thinking about memory books for your students, don’t forget the hands.

8 1/2" x 11" Book Making · Artful Recycling · Books Made from one sheet of folded paper · Making Books with children · Making books with elementary students · origami pamphlet

Impromptu Bookmaking

I was working with first graders today when something unexpected happened.

Colorful miniature book

I have visited this school for many years, helping first graders to make lovely books, which they fill with their own original poems. (I’ve written about this project in detail at

https://bookzoompa.wordpress.com/2010/03/17/books-for-poetry-by-first-graders/), and here’s a sample of the the completed project made by first graders in 2010.

Today, when I walked into the class they were finishing up going over math problems that had been copied on to half sheets of paper. When they were done the teacher asked them to put away the papers, and we got to work.

My agenda was to guide the students through making an origami pamphlet out of a 19″ x 23″ sheet of paper, followed by making a book cover with pockets. What was unexpected is that they finished this all in 48 minutes, which left us with an extra 12 minutes. This rarely happens. I was about to hand to class back over to the regular classroom teacher when I remembered those math sheets.

We had just made the origami pamphlet out of large papers, and I had gone over the directions slowly and explicitly, so I thought that these first graders would enjoy making tiny little books using the very same methods of folding as they did in the bigger books.

They were stars. They remembered the steps and made their new little books in about a minute. Then they got to work.

Now, remember, these are first graders whose writing skills are just beginning to emerge, but, for the most part,  the fact that their writing skills were limited didn’t  bother them in the least.. I was lucky enough to hear an exchange of thoughts between two students: one child immediately got to work writing about rainbows and ribbons. The girl next to her bewailed that she didn’t know what to do. The prolific child told her classmate to just write words, but the girl said she didn’t know any words. Undaunted the rainbow girl advised her friend that she should just make up words. This turned out to be a satisfying suggestion, and the formerly clueless child got right to work.

It’s been my experience that if children are given little blank books they start writing.

Today I saw this happen again. As soon as the class finished constructing their books there was hardly another word spoken in the room as they all wrote, drew and imagined.