Friday, July 21, 2017

Paper Bag Books


Oh yeah! It's Week #4 of the Undercover Classroom Fold-a-thon! This summer, I have been dishing out the secrets behind all of my favorite foldable teaching tools for the classroom. So far, we have explored mini-books, envelope books, and modified lapbooks. Today, we will take a look at a book made from paper bags!

Learn how to make a paper bag book for your classroom with just two bags and a rubber band. Bag books are foldable teaching tools that will motivate your students.
So, you have probably figured out by now that I will make a book out of just about anything that folds. Whenever I see a bundle of inexpensive paper objects (bags, folders, envelopes, etc.), my mind instantly begins to imagine ways to fold something cool that will motivate students.

Paper lunch bags can usually be found at the dollar store. You can use any size bag you like for this project. Just make sure they are the type of bags that sit flat on the bottom. I wanted something with a little more space on each page, so I upgraded to a larger bag. I found a bundle of 500 (DURO #20) bags for under $15 at my local paper supply store. The measurements for these larger bags are 8.25"W x 5.25"D x 16"H, but don't feel limited to these dimensions. I have made some really cool bag books from smaller bags. Once, I even tried it with grocery store bags and that worked well for an extra large book. Now, let's go ahead and make a bag book!


You will need two paper bags and one rubber band to make a bag book. First, fold both of the paper bags in half like this.


Now this is the important part. In order to maximize the space {and make the book interesting for kids}, you will want to create some flaps. Open both bags flat again.


Lift up and then fold down the bottom flap on each bag. Here is what it looks like when folded properly.


Then do the same thing to the second bag.


It will look like this.


Now, place the two bags on top of each other. Notice that the flaps are facing toward the left on the bottom bag and toward the right on the top bag.

Learn how to make a paper bag book for your classroom with just two bags and a rubber band. Bag books are foldable teaching tools that will motivate your students.

Line up the bags and fold them in half again, on your pre-folded midline.


Next, you will secure the book with a rubber band. The large, thin, stretchy rubber bands work best. When making paper bag books with my students, I always test out the rubber bands ahead of time. If the rubber bands are too small or tight, the book will bunch up. Here is a view from the front cover.


You can write or cut and paste information inside the flaps.


The book will also have two handy-dandy storage pouches for folded papers, flash cards, and other small pieces. This picture shows one of the pouches and the centerfold.


Here's one more view of the inside. Now you are ready to teach! Be creative and add whatever floats your boat (or teaches your students). ;-)


Here's an example of a bag book that I use in my classroom. You can see how I paste paper on the flaps. For more information about the economics bag book, click here. You might also want to take a peek at my back to school bag book, Thanksgiving history bag book, and weather bag book.


Thanks again for stopping by! Be sure to visit again next Friday! The Undercover Classroom Fold-a-thon runs through August 4th. Bring along a few sheets of paper next week so we can make a book that stretches! See you then!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Double Lapbooks (& More!)


Hello! Thanks for swinging by for Week #3 of the Undercover Classroom Summer Fold-a-thon! If you like to use foldable tools with your students, then you are in the right spot! Check back every Friday through August 4th for a new project. If you are new to folding in the classroom, welcome aboard! Folding is an easy way to spice up your teaching! If you are late to the Fold-a-thon party, no worries! You can learn some easy to fold mini-books here, and become a master at envelope books here.

Learn how to make a double lapbook, plus some other variations on the standard lapbook.
Now for our next topic. . .lapbooks! I absolutely LOVE to use lapbooks in my classroom. A lapbook is basically a folded file folder that is used to make a collection of information about a single topic. A few years ago, I made a video about my love for lapbooks. You can watch that video here if you would like. :-)

I personally enjoy teaching with lapbooks because they are engaging to my students. Additionally, lapbooks have enabled me to consolidate the units that I teach. Instead of sending home many loose papers throughout a unit of study, my students are able to make a collection of information in one central location. The lapbook can be used as a reference tool or study guide when the unit is complete.

A single lapbook is easy to fold and works well for most topics, but sometimes a little extra space is needed. On such an occasion, you may need a double lapbook!


To make a double lapbook, begin by making a single lapbook. Open a file folder on a flat surface and fold in the left side until it meets the center fold.


Then fold in the other side until the two edges meet in the middle. I always tell my students to match it up like a puzzle.


Repeat the process with a second file folder.


Please note that I used two different colors for demonstration purposes only. It is easier to understand the pictures this way. I actually prefer the look of a single color double lapbook. Of course, you can make it any way you like!


Take one of your single lapbooks and fold back on the mid-line to make a "w" shape like this.


You are about to attach that "w" shaped lapbook to the top of the other lapbook. Squeeze some glue on the front, right side of the flat lapbook.


Line up the left side of the "w" with the glued section of the flat lapbook.


Press and seal. Wipe off any excess glue that seeps out the sides.


Now it will look like this. Give it some time to dry.

Learn how to make a double lapbook, plus some other variations on the standard lapbook.

Close it up to see the cover of your lapbook. Sometimes the tabs will match up differently in the front, depending on the original location of your file folder tabs (top, middle, bottom), and the way you glue it together. It works in any direction, so try not to fuss about the location of the tabs.


The double lapbook has many nooks and crannies. It will give you lots of space for a very thorough unit with lots of information. If you need even more space and are feeling really wild and crazy, try a triple lapbook!


To make a triple lapbook, you just add a third "w" shaped lapbook to the other side of your double lapbook. Go ahead and fold a third lapbook. Squeeze some glue on the other side of your double lapbook.


Line up the right side of the third lapbook with the glued section of the flat lapbook. Press and seal. Wipe off any excess glue that seeps out the sides.

Learn how to make a double lapbook, plus some other variations on the standard lapbook.

There you have it! It's a triple lapbook with a boat load of space!

Learn how to make a triple lapbook, plus some other variations on the standard lapbook.

Of course, there are always those times when you just have a little bit of information to collect. For small topics, try out a half lapbook!


It is so easy to cut a lapbook in half. A paper cutter is very helpful in this case, but scissors will also do the job.


Then you get two for the price of one. What a bargain!


Here are some examples of double lapbooks that I use in my own classroom. Both of these lapbooks last for an entire school year. My students add a new piece every time a new skill is introduced. Click each image for more information.



And that's a wrap for Week #3 of the Undercover Classroom Summer Fold-a-thon! Come back and visit again next week with some paper lunch bags in hand. See you then for some more folding fun!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Easy Fold Envelope Books


Hello! Welcome to Week #2 of the Undercover Classroom Summer Fold-a-thon! If you missed the first post about mini-books you can fold in a jiffy, be sure to get caught up here. Today, I would like to show you one of my all-time favorite books to make with students. . .envelope books!


I actually use two different types of envelope books with my students. This post will focus on the type that is made with one, large envelope. I usually use the 10 inch by 13 inch envelopes, but any large, top-folding envelope will work. You can see from the picture that the 6 inch by 9 inch envelopes fold into a smaller version of the book that might be better for some projects.

This type of envelope book works well for topics that can be divided into five or six sections. One especially nice feature of this book is that it has a pocket inside that is perfect for flash cards or other small pieces. I like to call it a secret pocket. :-) The folded book will have six sides and one pocket. I use one side for the title/cover. Then, there are five other sides to write on, plus the pocket for storage.

The following pictures will explain it best, so grab yourself one large envelope, a pair of scissors, and a bottle of glue. Let's fold one together!



First, cut a thin strip off both sides of the envelope. Basically, you want to cut off the fold line on each side.


Once the strips are removed, you will be able to open the envelope flat like this.



Fold the right side in until it meets the folded line. You are about to make the pocket.


Open it back up and squeeze a thin line of glue on each side as shown.


Then fold it back over.


Press and seal the glue lines to secure the pocket. This will need to dry before using the pocket, but you can keep on folding.


Now, on the other side, fold the envelope flap out of the way temporarily.


Fold that side of the envelope in until it meets the fold line.


Turn it around so the pocket is on the left side like this.


Finally, starting on the left side, fold over twice until you have your envelope book!


Add a title.


Then add headings for each section. Your students can take notes and draw pictures under the headings.


You can insert cards or other pieces into the pocket once it is dry.


If you want to get fancy, you can cut and paste diagrams, charts, graphs, you name it! Here's an example of one that I use in my classroom. Click the image to see other envelope books.


Thanks for stopping by! The Undercover Classroom Fold-a-thon will run through August 4th, with a new post each Friday. Be sure to check back again next Friday for some more foldable ideas for your classroom. Bring a few file folders next time so we can explore a variation (or two) on lapbooks. See you then! :-)