All of us at Wood ‘N’ Barnes are excited about our newest book The Bookmaking Experience: An Educators Guide to Student Made Books by Carol Ruth Carlin, Mary Ann Germanson, Joanna Gonzalez and Madeline Huston
Over the next few weeks we will be sharing excerpts from this useful and fun book:
The Benefits of Bookmaking:
Bookmaking has many benefits for teachers and small group leaders with various types of curriculum and with a wide variety of student needs, skills and learning styles. Throughout our work with educators, librarians, scout and religious leaders, we found these advantages to concentrate in six basic areas.
First, the obvious benefit is physical. As students are “listening” to the instructor demonstrate the bookmaking technique, each is viewing and visualizing the finished product in his/her own mind. Using both large and small motor skills (some students stand to fold!), the abstract representation quickly becomes a reality for each student as the folds are created. Spatial and tactile awareness allow students more ownership in the bookmaking process and pride in the unique individual product.
Second, creativity cannot only be a result of bookmaking, but also an attitude when approaching the assignment or project. Offering a two or three dimensional aspect provides an opportunity to move forward or “go beyond” for those who are finished, bored or filled up with the same old material. Those needing reinforcement are supplied with options. Possibilities and choices can be given to students who have demonstrated mastery with several bookmaking styles. A creative project might be the culmination for several students, a group or partnership, to show mastery or progress over time in a class.
Third, emotionally students realize that bookmaking is a win-win situation. A different fold or cut might result in a newly discovered book type! Students are validated and included; they are successful, they can help and be helped. Some students will finish quickly and be more than willing to share their expertise. Those who were just helped by a fellow classmate find it now possible to teach another. Students will possess a final product unique to them and realize the rewards and pride of their accomplishments.
Fourth, assessments, formal and informal, can be easily obtained from these books. For example, with any subject curriculum, a student could use a serpentine book to create a time line of a story he/she just read, adding the story’s main events, climax and the resolution. Working with a small group or partners, a pinwheel, petal or wandering book could be a vocabulary assessment for science or history class. Presentations to the whole class are possible and easily organized with many bookmaking formats. Record keeping for multiple classes of students are easily compiled and managed by students, teachers or aides. With our books, there is also great potential to monitor progress over time or across curricular projects and preserve them for future display or reference.
Fifth, another important benefit we have discovered is an improvement in learning tools and aids for the students. Organization for using small books can enhance projects or assignments concentrated together in a plastic bag rather than getting lost in an accordion folder, locker or a backpack. Being generally smaller in nature, the books are easier to store, share and use to review needed material quickly.
Sixth, having a unique form allows note-taking choices not usually offered with traditional flat paper formats. All of the constructed books can be viewed as small individual note-taking tools for lessons or even units. Also, numerous pocket books offer flexible storage for long term or immediate use. Questions for novels, or math formulas can be stored and easily accessed for student’s reference. Reviewing, retelling and recalling main ideas or main points from a lesson or story could be more manageable with the aid of a wandering book as the student prepares for an upcoming quiz or test.
Educators are very busy and are always looking for ways to integrate and enhance their subject area. Presenting new material, reviewing for a test, finding the main idea in a story, working on important vocabulary, recalling a time line sequence—all are projects that educators have incorporated daily as education in the classroom moves forward and students explore new concepts. There is also the challenge of incorporating several subjects simultaneously and finding an activity to collaborate with fellow teachers across the curriculum. In addition, educators seek to build mutual respect within a motivated, dynamic learning environment that encourages dialogue and collaboration within the student peer group and among students and staff. Bookmaking is just that technique that can be the catalyst to provide teachers with that opportunity.