Crazy things happen to my students when I tell them that we are going to make booklets in class. They do not even recognize that there will be writing required to fill the booklet. Their attention is focused completely on the class set of scissors, stack of paper, and big bin of assorted colored pencils. I have a handful of favorite foldable booklets that I am sharing below. I also included a new one I am trying this year with my poetry unit called a tunnel booklet.
Teacher Note: To fold a piece of paper the hamburger way is to fold any rectangular piece of paper in half the short, fat way. An 8 1/2″ x 11″ piece of paper would become 5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″. To fold a piece of paper the hot dog way is to fold any rectangular piece of paper in half the long, skinny way. An 8 1/2″ x 11″ piece of paper would become 4 1/4″ x 11″. The top of the tent is the folded edge of the paper. If you were to stand your folded piece of paper up on the table like a tent, the part at the top is the edge you usually need to cut. Don’t ask me who came up with this terminology, but it saves me a lot of messed up pieces of paper.
Parent Note: Any of these booklets can be adapted for scout projects, book reports, science reports, or home schooling.
I use these for an activity with Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl. When we read the chapter about Danny’s granddad’s great pheasant poaching methods, the students choose one of the crazy poaching methods from the story. The students break the poaching method into steps and write the steps with illustrations into the Tiny Books to create a “How To” booklet. This is a great way to introduce technical writing and procedures (anyone prepping for science fair?).
- basic white copy paper, 8 1/2″ x 11″, (one per student)
Step 1: Fold one piece of paper in half the hamburger way. Repeat two more times. Unfold the paper and make sure you have 8 rectangles on the paper.
Step 2: Fold the paper the hamburger way again, one time. Your paper will be 5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ with 4 rectangles showing.
Step 3: From the folded edge of the paper, cut down the middle along the fold line to the center of the paper.
Step 4: Open the paper flat. Fold it one time the hot dog way.
Step 5: Hold each side with one hand and push towards the center until your fingers meet. The center of the paper will push out creating 4 flaps.
Step 6: Press down, so pages line up into the booklet shape. The finished booklet is 6 pages.
We make these booklets for a lot of novel studies in my class. I recently used them while reading The Bread Winner by Arvella Whitmore. I created a Bread Winner Burrito Book Template and made a gazillion copies (front and back) that gave the students space to write a gist statement (one page summary of a chapter), character notes, and historical facts for each chapter in the book. I also use these booklets for point of view journals. This activity works well for The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. At the beginning of the book, students select one main character. After reading each chapter, the students re-tell the chapter in the first person from the point of view of their chosen character. I mentioned this writing activity before in my Novel Ideas post.
- basic white copy paper, 8 1/2″ x 11″, 6 sheets per student? (1 piece of paper = 4 booklet pages)
- construction paper, any color, 1 per student (optional– can be used to make a cover for the booklet)
- glue stick if adding construction paper book covers
Step 1: Divide your paper into two even piles, line up the corners, and fold both piles in half the hamburger way.
Step 2: Pick up one folded pile of papers. On one end, make a 1-inch cut along the end (this is the top of the tent). Repeat on the other side. Set aside.
Step 3: Pick up the second pile of papers. Starting about 1-inch from the folded edge of the paper (top of the tent), cut a long skinny rectangle out of the center of the page. Stop 1-inch before the other end of the paper. This is the same as cutting a Valentine heart out of the center of a piece of paper.
Step 4: Keeping the two piles of paper separate, open them flat. Pick up the pile with the cut flaps at the end and roll it gently like a hot dog. Insert the rolled papers into the center hole of the other stack of papers.
Step 5: Shaking a little, unroll the hot dog papers until they fit into the notch at the bottom and top of the pages.
Step 5 (continued): If the pages won’t lie flat, you may need to adjust the cut flaps and make them a little longer.
Step 6: Press pages in half the hamburger way to form the booklet. You can fold construction paper in half the hamburger way and glue the first and last page of the burrito book to the construction paper to make a cover (recommended).
Pop Up Books
Kids get really creative with the cutting on these pages. Once you teach the basic pop up, they quickly discover how to add more details. Currently, I use these with tall tales. We read a few picture books (McBroom and the Big Wind by Sid Fleischman, A Fine, Fine School by Sharon Creech, and Those Darn Squirrels by Adam Rubin) and discuss the basics of a tall tale. Students then write their own tall tale, break the story into about 6 sections (which will become the text for each page), and book production begins.
- basic white copy paper, 8 1/2″ x 11″ (~6 pieces per student)
- class set of scissors
- class set of glue sticks
- construction paper (1 piece per student)
- colored pencils or markers
Step 1: Fold one piece of paper in half the hamburger way. Near the center of the folded edge of the paper (top of the tent), cut two lines each the same length (about 1″ long). The cuts should be about 1 1/2″ apart. You may want students to mark cut lines with rulers when you first get started.
Step 2: Open paper and poke finger into the cut section in the center of the paper and gently pull forward to make a stair step.
Step 3: Fold the paper down again like a hamburger and crease your stair step. Open the page and stand upright to check that the fold is even.
Step 4: Begin creating illustrations on the page. You will have one larger element that is cut out of paper and glued to the front of the stair step. Create a background on the top/back of the page. Write the story text on the bottom/front of the page.
Step 5: When one page is completed, use a new piece of paper and create a new pop-up page. Do the second page of illustrations and text. When pages are ready, you will attach the back of the bottom of the first page to the back of the top of the second page. Use a glue stick and run glue around the outside edges only. If you glue too close to the center, it might stick the pop ups to each other.
Step 6: Continue until all pages are complete and attached. The back/top of the first page and the back/bottom of the last page should be glued inside construction paper for the cover. Illustrate the cover too.
Extension: Once students master the single pop up, encourage them to try double pop ups or other size pop up boxes.
I found this cool pin on Pinterest (thank you Cheryl at Teach Kids Art) and decided to add this activity to my poetry unit. The students were going to be writing Haikus anyway, so it seemed like a good project. Plus, my poetry unit is a few years old, and I needed something new to freshen up the content. I think I could also use these as character tunnels. A picture of the main character would go on the back panel, and the student could document changes in the character with each frame. Hmmm, I can see this showing up in my Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell unit in the spring– stay tuned.
- 4″ x 6″ postcard, horizontal picture, one per student
- 4 per student 4″ x 6″ white notecards
- 4 per student 4″ x 6″ white notecards each pre-cut into 2- 3″ x 4″ pieces*
- 1 per student 3″ x 5″ notecard, cut to 2 ½”x 4 ½” (color other than white if possible, use as a template for tracing the opening)*
- glue stick
- pencil and eraser
- black fine tip pen (Sharpie works well)
- colored pencils
* I recommend doing this step ahead of time for your students with the paper cutter in the teacher workroom.
Prep: Make the hinged sides for your book by folding each of your 3”x 4” index cards accordion style. Fold in half the hot dog way (mountain fold), then fold each loose edge up (valley fold) to line up with the fold in the middle. I used lined notecards to illustrate direction of the folds on the hinges better. Trace the 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ rectangle on the center of the 4 remaining notecards.
Step 1: Write one line of your haiku across the top of each of 3 cards, and your title (if you want one) across the other. Trace with Sharpie. Illustrate each page of your book by choosing elements from the post card and repeating them on the edges of each page. Keep most of your design along the top, bottom, and sides but allow some elements to overlap into the center section. Color with colored pencils.
Step 2: Cut away the center section of each page. Pinch the middle of each page, without creasing to the edges, so you can snip into the center to create an opening for your scissors.
Step 3: Cut around any elements that extend into the middle.
Step 4: Put a little glue along the inside edge of two of your hinges and place them on the left and right sides of the back of your post card. Repeat this step for each 4″ x 6″ card.
Step 5: Assemble your tunnel book, working from the back (line 3 of your haiku) to the front, gluing the back of each hinged page to the hinges behind it.
Haiku Tunnel Poem Finished (top view)
Haiku Tunnel Poem Finished (front view)