Posted by: jockmackenzie | June 17, 2009

Listening & Viewing – Origami

This is the time of year when “Plan your work, and work your plan” comes into play. The kids are pretty sure of two things: all the marks are in the book, the only other significant mark is the one that will come from the final exam. Trying to motivate the ‘unmotivatable’ can be trying. Among other things (and this is where the plan helps), I have found origami to be a reasonable alternative because it offers learning for the sake of learning. Students get to listen and view (two of the key but overlooked strands in the language arts Program of Studies) and they get to create. The product is a direct result of how well each student follows your instructions. What terrific assessment!

Here’s the simplest origami I know and the one I use for a starter project – and when we’re done, we all go for drinks.

Step One – make the piece of paper into a square. As often as possible, I offer a variety of colors. To make a square, fold a bottom corner up and across so that a perfectly parallel edge is created.

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Step Two – remove the rectangular strip. I prefer the ‘fold, crease sharply and tear off’ method but scissors work well if there are plenty to go around. *** Note here to your kids that every fold should be creased “to the max.” A solid thumbnail or a ruler end are most effective.

Step Three – place the triangle you have created in front of you with the crease as the base. Fold one corner up and across so that the very corner just touches the opposite side. Flip the paper over and repeat this step on the other side.

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Step Four – The pentagon before has two flaps at the top. Fold the one facing you down and into the fold you created in the previous step. Crease well and turn the paper over. Repeat the fold and tuck with the other flap.

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Step Five – You have now created a leaky paper cup. Repeat the entire process to produce a second cup. Insert one cup into the other and head to the closest water fountain. When I did this with my students, it was a big hit.

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*** Be sure to note the important life skill they have just learned. Should they ever find themselves crawling across the Gobi desert, should they ever discover an oasis, should they have a square of paper but no cup, they will now be able to manufacture said container and drink in a civilized fashion.

IT HAS BEEN MY EXPERIENCE THAT SOMEONE IN THE CLASS KNOWS ANOTHER ORIGAMI SKILL AND CAN TEACH THE CLASS – AND THERE MAY BE ANOTHER CLASS YOUR KIDS CAN GO TO AND TEACH THOSE STUDENTS.

Do you have an interesting year-end activity? Have your people call my people; let’s share!


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