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!

 

This is the second year I have done this journal project with fifth graders in Saratoga Springs. I wrote about it last year, but in less detail than I plan to write about it today. 

This workshop day was requested by the school’s reading specialist, who had done a similar project on her own with a few students.  She was impressed by the students’ reaction to their journals, and thus requested that I come for a day and make these books with the whole grade level, about 70 students.

Books standing on the windowsill

We used paper from large wallpaper sample books. These books are 17″ tall, and about 12″ wide, though the width of the pages is bound tightly with industrial size staples. I cut the papers out of the books, so the final size is 17″ x 11 1/4;, though standard 17″ x 11″ paper would work well too.  Wallpaper books are fun to use because each student’s book is visually unique.

Directions for Pocketed Book Cover by Paula Krieg

The students folded the covers according to the directions above, with one exception. Before the last step of closing the cover, I asked them to snip off the tip of the triangle, about the width of a pencil.

Master Page for Printing Journal Lines on Paper

Students then folded 5 sheets of standard sized paper, 8 1/2″ x 11″, however, to give the pages an antique-like look, we used Ivory faux parchment paper, made by Southworth. The four inside pages were run through the copy machine to copy on the lines pictured above. The outside page is unlined because, well, I like the look of unlined paper when the book is first opened.


Last year, to attach the pages to the cover, we had used a lovely cord called Rattail, from a beading shop, which turned out to be too smooth and slippery: the students’ knots kept coming undone. Yarn, twine or cotton cord could be other choices. Just nothing too stiff, too thick, or too smooth. This year we used 30 inch lengths of  black and silver craft cord to attach the pages to the spine of the book cover, doing a no-needle method of sewing, illustrated in the direction sheet below.

No-needle modified pamphlet stitch

No-needle modified pamphlet stitch

This pretty much finished up the project. I like a book that feels more substantial, so, for a finishing touch, I handed each student two sheets of stiff oaktag type papers to slip into the front and back inside pockets.

Inside pocket

I recommended that the students choose for themselves whether or not they wanted to put a dab of glue on the stiff paper so that it would, or would not, permanently affixed to the pocket. Also, they made their own decision as to whether or not they wanted to add a bit of glue to the edge of the pocket, thus closing off, or not closing off, the possibility of things sliding out the foredge side of the pocket.

I had asked the school to allot 75 minutes per class to make this book. The students were positive, capable, and engaged in their work. Each class finished with 5 to 7 minutes to spare, and there was no rushing. Bsides having such fine groups of students to work with (kudos to their teachers!) another factor that streamlined this project was that students picked out their covers prior to my visit in the class. I will be visiting this school again, seeing other classes. I look forward to taking a peek into the 5th grade again, to see how the students develop these journals.

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.

Books in Pockets

This past week I had the opportunity to  teach second graders how to make a vairety of books that they could use for their own ideas.   I met with four different classes three times each over the course of three days. Generally when I visit classrooms I come in to help facilitate a specific project, such as making poetry books, or books which showcase student research on a specific topic.  Not being used to showing students how to make books without a specific subject matter in mind, I wasn’t quite sure what would work the best for these students. I have to say that I made a few decisions that I was, ah, able to learn from.

Here’s what was going on: the students were involved in a week of testing, and the teachers wanted to offer an enjoyable counterpoint to the hours of focussed work that these children had to endure.  Applause, please!

Origami Pamphlet with hearts

The first thing I tried was to demonstrate  a varitey of simple book structures, and then allowed students the freedom to independently create a book of their own choosing.  I can confidently say that this was a terrible decision.  I quickly changed my agenda.  What worked best for these children was for me to work step by step, creating each structure with them, beginning to end, and then let them choose which structure they wanted to develop.  Together we made a book with a rubber band binding,  a modified-for-seconde-graders pamphlet stitched book,  a french-fold accordion book, an origami pamphlet, some pop-ups, paper springs, and origami pockets.  We used regular sized copy paper for all projects.

Four books by Second Graders

A Line-up of Pamphlet Sewn Books, Modified Technique for Second Graders

The next thing that I learned about second graders is the wide range of skills they bring to their work.  For this reason I can’t say that one structure was better than another for this age group in general.  I had suspected that using half sheets of copy paper (folded in half, nested together and bound with a #19 rubber band) would be too small a size for their big handwriting.  Wrong again.  The small size book was perfect for some students who might be intimdated by a larger book.

Rubber Band Bound Book

Sydney Loves to Draw

On the other hand, there are students in second grade who write small, and have much to say.  For these students, a largers book (8 1/2′ x 11″ papers folded in half and sewn together) offered them enough room to create chapters….

Pamplet stitched book by second grader

….though I have to say that, regardless of the skill level, the smaller books were generally a popular choice with the students.

Storybook by Second Grader

Enough said.  If you are inclined to look furthrer, here are a few more photos posted for your enjoyment.

More about Verdi (Rubber Band Bound Book)

Four page accordion book

French Fold Accordion Book, using regular sized copy paper

Small Book about a boy who loves baseball

There Once Was a Boy Who Loved Baseball

Rubber Band Book made from Half sheets of Copy Paper, Finished size; 5 1/2″ x 4 1/4″

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