Sunday, November 4, 2012

Passport Workshop

I recently won a give-away copy of a wonderful book called "The Poetry Friday Anthology: Poems for the School Year with Connections to the Common Core" compiled by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong. It has many great poems, organized by grades and themes (K-5). There is one poem for every Friday of the school year and many creative suggestions for teachers about how to make poetry reading a regular part of your classroom. The book is published by Pomelo Books and is available here:

I'm not a classroom teacher, but I do visit classrooms and libraries to share bookmaking with children. Yesterday, I had my first opportunity to share some poetry from the book. I gave a Passport-Journal bookmaking workshop at my local library. I shared some of my own travel journals with the children and some of my illustrated stories of journeys I have taken. Then I shared two poems from the book "No Way!" and "Family Vacation". Both poems are about what we take with us when we travel, and both poems were rhyming verse. The poems were a big hit! Then we made our passport books, decorated the covers and filled our books with words and pictures.

One boy was inspired to write a series of rhyming poems about pigs that fly in his book. Another boy was in the middle of his own journey and he made a book about his adventure. He was from New Jersey, but had no power at home due to hurricane Sandy, so his family travelled to MA to stay with relatives until the lights come back on. Matthew and I worked together to write and draw pictures to tell the story of his journey and the excitement of sleeping and eating and playing at his cousin's house.

One of my travel books about childhood trips to my Gramma's house in Canada

A page from my travel journal -- a fountain in a restaurant in Guatemala

We made a passport journal 
with a rubber-band and stick binding
that fits into a diamond pouch

Friday, June 15, 2012

More poetry books

Here are more photos of the poetry books from Hilltown Charter School. Most of this batch were made by the younger students. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Students' Books

After five visits to the classroom, and a lot of hard work, our poetry books are completed. I love the range of topics: everything from the ocean to cupcakes, flatscreen tv's to cats and fruit. Here are a few photos of their work. There is one button on the cover with a string attached that wraps around the four corners of the book. The younger students hand wrote their poems. The older students used computer text that was glued into the books. See the previous post for more information about the project.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Classroom Project


I've been preparing all week for a classroom bookmaking project that starts next week at the Hilltown Charter School in Haydenville MA. Two classes will be involved, a grades 2-3 mixed-class and 6th grade class. The students will work in teams, with one older student paired with each younger student. Students will write poetry with the classroom teachers and then choose one poem to be showcased with illustrations in a hand-made book--that's my part.

Here are some photos of the sample books I've been making, including the mock-up sketches and finished books. One is a poem that I wrote, and the other is a peachy poem by Emily Dickinson. Some people call this the lotus book, others call it the diamond-fold book.

Mock-up sketches. The second-graders still write with lines, so writing will be on a diagonal (just like in Persian poetry).

The finished books and some details of the illustrations and text:

The books are made from three 8.5" squares of origami-folded card-stock, glued together. The book folds up into a 4 1/4" square and has added covers and a button closure. The string that wraps around the button can also be used to hang the book on the wall.

These were my samples. To see student's work, go here and here

Want to try this project in your own classroom? Download draft sheets, printing sheets and instructions here.

Please note: print drafts sheets on copy paper and glue together; final pages are printed on white card-stock. All sheets are printed on 8.5 x 11, but cut to 8.5 square.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

bird in the garden

the birdie and her egg are taking a stroll through the garden...
watercolor, 4x6-ish

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

bird again

another bird painting...
watercolor on hotpress paper

Monday, April 2, 2012

3 birds

more birds from my sketchbook...

Friday, March 30, 2012


a little fun with fish and birds...

Friday, March 23, 2012

in the pink...

I finished a new mandala. Reminds me of mosaic tiles.

Monday, March 12, 2012


I'm on vacation in Bermuda, visiting family. Yesterday I attended a Baha'i neighborhood children's class and taught an art lesson with about 10 children ages 4-10 and 5 moms. We made hand-painted Etegami cards for Nawruz (Bahai new year). We will send some to family and some to the Baha'i prisoners in Iran as part of Amnesty International's Nawruz project. Here are a few photos...