This past week I worked with three classes of first graders. My goal was to help the students create books which honor their writing. I want the books to be good-looking, dynamic and individualized. I have three 75 minute sessions to accomplish this.
All students begin by making an Origami Pamphlet using the same color paper. No choice there. But I am able to give them choice in the decorative details.
One of my favorite decorative techniques is to ask the students to create designs with geometric shapes. Just the mention of color rivets students’ attention. I try to find a place to lay out their color choices attractively. I’ve figured out that making colors available to students in a carte blanche kind of way results in designs that descend into chaos. Now I am more orderly in the distribution of color. Perhaps I am delusional, but I try to convey the concept that there are advantages in practicing restraint.
For decorative accents, students choose four colors from my palette of Brite cover weight papers . These strips of paper are 5 inches x 1.25 inches (if I were in metric-land I would cut these stips to be 3cm x 12cm). Then everyone cuts SQUARES ONLY. They do this by creating an “L” with the strips, then cutting on the line that defines where the strips overlap.
Students can use their squares as squares, turn them to become diamonds, cut them in half to create triangles, or cut them into lines. I do not allow them to explore any other options. This makes me feel mean, but I explain to these budding artists they can try out all sorts of decorative options on all their works for the rest of their lives, but, for right now I want them to do it my way so that they will learn a new technique. I promise them that although they are all getting the same instructions, that their books will each have their own look.
They work a bit on each page, then go back and add more after each page has been treated.
We use glue sticks to adhere the shapes to the paper. I bring in the 1.41oz (40g) size of UHU Glue sticks. Then I threaten students that the shapes will fall off the page unless they apply enough glue and pressure to the papers.
The result: Same But Different.
There are other decorative technques that the students use. But that’s another post.
To be continued.
This week I finished up helping 96 first grade students make books for the lovely poems that they wrote under the guidance of their classroom teachers. First, we made a large origami pamphlet from a 17″ x 23″ sheet of 67lb cover paper (lilac). We then made a book cover with pockets for storing unfinished poetry and drawings. Some poems were hand-written by students; other poems were type-written by teachers. Students learned how to make decorative borders, using the letters of the alphabet W, O, I, X, and V. A title page was added, and covers were decorated with geometric shapes
Here the student has started making a border design using the letters W, V and O. The green paper in the middle is a sticky note, which is acting as a “place holder;’ when the student finishes writing a poem, the sticky note will be removed and the poetry page will be glued in.
The first time that I saw printed directions for this book stucture was in a book, which I did not buy, in a Teachers Store somewhere in Brooklyn, about thirty years ago. I tried to memorize the instructions (I failed). It was a couple of years before I found it again.
Over the years I have come across many, many sets of instructions for this structure. Maybe one day someone will collect as many versions as they can find and post them all in one place. But, for now, here’s my most current version (This, the third or forth attempt at getting it right.) If you want to print it out, this link : Making an 8-page Origami Pamphlet will be a better quality than the above image. For black and white printing, here is the B&W handout for the Origami Pamphlet.
And, just for fun, here are a few more links to directions posted by other people: