Accordion Books · Books Made from one sheet of folded paper · How-to · Making Books with children · Making books with elementary students

Four Page Accordion and SMART Boards

Make an accordion and a French Fold Accordion By Paula Beardell Krieg

Last Wednesday, and each Wednesday during this month of March, I will be working on a project with third graders. This is an ambitious project that links the student’s research about various countries with lots of bookmaking. We first make a large folder with pockets, which we refer to as a suitcase, then students make small handmade books in these pockets. These small books will be filled with writing and pictures relevant to the country that each student is studying.

There are SMART Boards in each of these classrooms. This means that when I draw out the instructions for making the books the teachers can click on a “Save” button and save what I have drawn. I often try to erase the drawings before the save because I start off drawing big and end up squeezing in the last steps, which makes for a silly looking set of instructions. But erasing the steps before the students can complete them is silly too.

This past week a light went on in my head: if I draw out what I want the students to know and save it on-line then I can link the SMART Board to my image….not only that, but I can email the links of the appropriate images to teachers before I meet with them. This can facilitate easy retrieval of my tutorial pages, and it can also be stored as a reference, thereby empowering the teachers to re enforce the bookmaking techniques after my residency is over.

Oh, last week we made a simple accordion, like in the drawings above.  I then taught a couple of pop-ups to put in the valley folds. That will be what the next handout will be about.

snow in our backyard

In the meantime, the snow is showing some signs of melting here. Notice that the hand pump is emerging from the snow. We can see our picnic table now. But last week after a thaw, followed by rain, then freezing rain, I had to call and postpone working at a school because my car tires were completely frozen into a 6 inch puddle of ice.

Accordion Books · Binding Loose Papers · Making Books with children

Tipping Pages onto an Accordion


Single Pages Tipped on to an Accordion, top view

Saratoga ABC Book , Post #1:  Model of the finished Book

My first in-school project of 2010 is to faciltiate the making of an alphabet book by 27 early elementary students.  The tricky part of this project is that we are including an interactive element (like a pocket with which contains a miniature book) on each page, and there are to be four copies of this book.  Each page then, needs to be designed by the student then copied four times before the interactive elements get added on to each individual page. 


  Tipping the single pages on to an accordion seems like the best way to go with this project.  I like the look of the big, wide, colorful pleats of the structure pictured here.  I like the  look of the spine and the way the book can be set up for display. ABC Book, closed 

The pages of the book are 8 1/2″ x 11″.  The spine is made up of five separate pieces of  8 1/2″ x  17″, hinged together using  4″ x 8 1/2″ strips.  The grain of all papers run parallel to the spine…which means I had to cut the paper to size from parent sheets.     

The students have begun this project by making decorative borders, based on alphabet letters.  It will take a few weeks for us to get from the beginning to the end of this project.  I will post periodic updates on the progress of this book.  So far, the students are doing great work, and are engaged and enthusiastic.  I showed this model, as well as a sample page, to them so that they would have an idea of how the finished project will look. 

Maybe I have included too many photos in this post?  I can’t choose between them: this structure is so photogenic.