8 1/2" x 11" Book Making · Art and Math · Math and Book Arts · Numbers

An Out of Pocket Experience

more dots
Pocketed Groupings

My thoughts do not naturally go towards developing projects for students who are very very young. But, when I wrote about using an unending accordion for number lines John Golden left a comment saying ” Ooh! It’d be fun for young learners to put pictures of things in that pocket that come in a number on that page. Could make a guessing game out of it, or just a way to record number observations.” I liked the suggestion and I thought that I could develop a response in just one day, but nothing happens fast with me. TEN days later I finally got it worked out in a way that I like.

Out of pocket experience
Number Groups with Hidden Numbers

You may notice that I used dots, not pictures. I like dots. Everyone likes dots. Granted, dots can get kind of, well, repetitive after a while, so it’s a good thing that there’s a one side and another side and that dots are malleable.

Unpacking the pocketed number groups
Unpacking the pocketed number groups

Here’s the thought behind this project. First, it’s a pockets project. Students seem to like pockets even more than they like dots. Anything at all that would benefit from a peek-a-boo kind of experience would be fine subject matter for the pages.  I just happen to be on a numbers kick at the moment. I have gleaned from the #MTBoS math people who I follow on Twitter that associating numbers with groupings can be a good foundation skill: creating groupings of, say, three things could help support the understand that the symbol for three is an abstraction representing three somethings.

Made with Standard 8.5
Made with Standard 8.5″ X 11″ paper

 As usual, the challenge I set out for myself was to make this out of standard copy paper. This structure is similar in many ways to the structure in my previous post, the one difference being that I’m not linking the papers together as I don’t see an advantage to this being a continuous number line, though it certainly could be.

I made some PDF templates for this project. (The good news is that I finally figured out how to make PDF’s in a small file size!!! I will eventually be going back and make all my pdf files smaller). I did not however, provide colorful dots and pictures. I see this as a class project, where students can either color in the dots or turn them into balloons and ladybugs. (Let them color it and they will own it.)

Here’s what you can print out if you like:

open dots jpeg
A class color-it-in- yourself template

8.5 X 11 open dot groups

Dot are filled in here.
Dots are filled in here if that ‘s what you need.

8.5 x 11 Filled dot groups

Simple Pocket Template
Simple Pocket Template. Print several.

8.5 x 11 simple pockets

I haven’t included directions on how these pieces fold, but if you fold on the dotted lines and look at the pictures, I think it’s decipherable (?).

Number Groups
Number Group

Maybe the next step after this is, well, dice….which, in a few years could lead you to fedricomath’s Weird Dice.  (which I link to here so that I can keep track of it).

Just for the record, this is what’s been keeping me distracted lately.


It’s a magnificent autumn in Upstate New York.

Flexagons · How-to

How to make a square Flexagon

flexagon instructions

Last month I posted a group of photographs documenting flexagons made by fifth grade students. These structures are best seen (and held) to be understood, but, basically, they are a paper toy whose folds, when articulated, reveal hidden surfaces.  Got that ? If not, check out Forest of Flexagons.  To make a larger copy of the directions shown above here’s the PDF for Flexagon Squared

There are other shapes for flexagon. I also make ones that  are hexagon-flexagons, which I like like because its structure can  be decorated to mimic  fractals.  But that’s another story.

8 1/2" x 11" Book Making · Artful Recycling · Binding Loose Papers · How-to · Journals · Making Books with children · Making books with elementary students · Non-adhesive Book · simple book binding

Making Books while the Snow Falls

Working as a visiting artist in Upstate New York requires good snow tires. Since where I live is centrally located int he middle of nowhere, I generally drive about an hour no matter where I am heading. If we’re expecting sleet and ice I stay home. With snow, I drive slowly and pray.  Yesterday, the temperature was generously below freezing so I was confident that the snow would not turn to ice, and I headed out for a day in with students.

It was worth the trip. I helped about 60 fifth graders in three different classes make journals.

One of the students, James, said that this was an awesome project. He felt that the hardest part of the project was folding the papers . This didn’t surprise me. I’ve noticed that by the fifth grade most students have accepted the fact that papers don’t fold in half evenly. High on my agenda is to take the time to offer explicit instructions on how to successfully outwit the uncooperative nature of paper. To really get students on board with this I bring in bone folders for them to use. Students seem to genuinely appreciate learning how to fold paper well.

The teacher that invited me to come to these classes had this to say: “Paula’s workshops with all of the 5th grade classes were fantastic today. All of the students were very excited about the journals they created, and I’m sure it will motivate even our most reluctant writers.”

We made the covers of the books according to the directions below. The wallpaper covers were made from samples that were cut down to 17″ x 11 1/2″.   I’ve also have B&W directions for the Pocketed Book Cover.

Directions for Pocketed Book Cover by Paula Krieg

One of the students, Emily, seemed concerned that there might not be enough pages for the content. My impression is that she had big plans for this book. To accommodate the most prolific writers I left behind materials to create a few more books, as well as the suggestion to considering just attaching in a second set of folded pages into the cover, next to (not into) the original set of pages.

Close up of journals made by fifth grades

We attached the pages, five sheets of folded paper, with the modified pamphlet stitch (using 2mm satin rattail cord), hence the notches at the head and tail of the spine. The pages are the size of regular copy paper. The  school’s (absolutely amazing and fabulous) reading specialist ran these papers through the copy machine so that lines are printed on the papers.  After the pages were attached to the covers I gave students 2 sheets of cover weight paper which were cut to fit into the pockets of the book cover. The students slipped these heavy papers into the pockets then glued the upper corners to the book cover: this gives the book a bit more of a sturdy, weighty feel and keeps the wallpaper covers from looking dog-eared.

snow on my car

I didn’t take many photos. I wanted to leave before much more snow fell. In the picture above, the white mound on the left, that’s my car.

8 1/2" x 11" Book Making · How-to

Origami Pocket

How to make an origami Pocket by Paula Krieg
Click to enlarge for reading or printing

As this is the beginning of the new school year, I am dedicating some posts on how to make an origami pocket. This is a great first project to make with students. It is a crowd pleaser, which is important to me because it can get a classroom of students happy to be  readily on board with paper and book arts. When I begin with  paper that is about 15 inch square  the resulting pocket can be a handy storage folder for on-going projects.

Before I go any further with this I want to clarify that this is not the traditional origami cup that one often sees.  For great directions on how to make an origami cup I recommend looking at  the  Kids Web Japan/Cup site. The noteworthy difference between the classic cup and my pocket is the width of the base of the structure.  I prefer the wider base as it is more suitable for storing books than the narrower, taller origami cup.  Just for the record, I was introduced to the origami pocket about a decade ago by a young boy, who learned it  from a TV program called Zoom.

I have have available a black and white copy of  directions on how to make an Origami Pocket.

Addendum March 30, 2020

Here’s the video tutorial of how to make an origami pocket