Enthusiasm invariably improves when hands on activities are used; however, for students to master reading, writing and math skills, instructional focus on these skills needs to be maintained. Hands on activities must be carefully selected if they are to increase students' attention on academics rather than provide a motivating diversion from them. For that reason, I have listed below a variety of ideas for projects designed to help students use their creativity to display their academic work.
In addition, I have made a project assignment page to accompany this for students, which students can use as a handout or, to take advantage of hyperlinks, as a Web page.
1. Tunnel Books
Tunnel books look like a series of cardboard sheets which stand parallel to one another and are viewed from one end. Openings are cut in all but the last sheet so that the viewer looks through the layers while seeing parts of them. Writing in the tunnel books is probably best if large and brief.
2. Stand Up Books
These books are similar to the old fashioned, stand up greeting cards which are regaining popularity. This method also requires a short piece of writing.
3. Pop up Books
The popular method of folding and cutting so that opening pages causes part of the page to move or poke out in an unexpected manner might be an interesting way to reinforce a concept.
4. Accordion Books
Accordion books and expandable cards are one of the simpler of these projects. A long stiff paper is carefully folded in accordion style with the front and back pages covered and decorated. A ribbon or string is wrapped around it or tied on both sides to hold the cover closed.
6. Work on Objects
An object related to the ideas in the writing becomes a backdrop for the paper. Another approach is to write directly on the object as shown in some new book structures.
7. Tee Shirts
Computer generated decals containing student writing may be ironed on wearing apparel.
8. Tabbed Books
Many students rarely see tabbed books and may enjoy the idea of indexing their work.
9. Three Dimensional and Activated Pages
Artistic students may enjoy the challenge of making active pages inspired by those found at this site. Holes are cut in each page so that multidimensional images are formed with pages below.
10. Miniature Books
Tiny books with pages measuring around 2 1/2" square may capture the fancy of some, especially when students see the prices of the little masterpieces. Be sure to check enlarged photos showing the details of unusual constructions.
11. New Book Structures
Unique and complicated approaches to book binding found here are may interest your artistically talented students.
Printouts of student writing could be glued to large, simple origami structures which reflect the theme of the piece. The origami shape may be made with paper or treated fabric. To see origamy designs on the Internet, start with Eric's page.
Printouts of student writing in old fashioned fonts can be glued to long sheets of paper rolled on wooden dowels so that they resemble ancient scrolls.
14. Banners and Large Posters
Perhaps having some of the appeal of graffiti, banners and giant poster displays may interest some of your students.
Students could display separate paragraphs of a piece and relat the levels and/or motion of the mobile to concepts within the piece. The diagram for a Solar System Mobile may be helpful for students making their first mobile.
The students writing could be glued to a poster along with pictures and three dimensional objects.
17. Thematic Framing
The piece is glued to a backing and framed or with pictures or three dimensional objects related to concepts within the piece.
Written by Diane Walker
Updated by Melissa Kelly