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​The Shamrock Mini-Book:


The Shamrock Mini-Book came about by accident…once again, by experimenting further with the heart-shaped book. Observing what the structure of the book looked like while gluing the panels together one day, I noticed that if I unfolded three of the panels it resembled a shamrock. If I then added a stem, well then I would really be in luck and I would have a shamrock! I have offered the program at Irish Festivals where it was very well received and will soon be offering it in schools. I plan on having students research St.Patrick in order to tell me what the shamrock represented in his teachings! Do you know?!

The Butterfly Mini-Book:


Looking at the heart shaped mini-book one day, it was pointed out to me that when opened, it resembled the wings of a butterfly. So I played with the idea of turning it into one! By adding a few pipe cleaners tucked neatly into the spine of the book, which provided style and function, I kept experimenting with it until I could get it to not only make meaning and tell a story, but to also flutter!


I then started thinking about STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math) and how I could add an engineering component to the book. I came upon the idea of poking holes into the ends of the wings, inverting the book and running a string through the two holes. Voila…an engineering component to the book. A masterpiece, as one participant put it at a recently held program, referring to the book they just wrote, designed and illustrated. It was by playing and experimenting with the book that I was able to include each component of STEAM into it, making it a favorite of the mini-book lovers the world over J !  This playfulness and experimentation in the form of an expression of care is what I try to get across to young students when they are creating something of their own.


Create A Sports/Wellness Mini-Book:


For this program I find it interesting to have a discussion with participants about health, sports, wellness. With color copies of themed objects that complement the story to be told, participants take right to the task of putting together an assemblage of thoughts and ideas of what they like to do to keep healthy…whether it be telling you about what they eat (or don’t!), how they exercise, what sports they play, and the list goes on!  

Seasonals:


Valentine’s Day * MLK Day * Groundhog Day * Rosa Park’s Day * President’s Day * St. Patrick’s Day (Shamrock Shaped Book) * Easter * Earth Day  * Memorial Day  (Fireworks Mini-Book) * Mother’s Day/ Father’s Day * Flag Day Mini  * Independence Day * International Day of Peace * Halloween (Spooky  Story)  ( Create A Monster Mini-Book ) * Thanksgiving ( Grateful Mini-Book ) * Create A Custom Holiday Greeting Card  (Winter time Story)  Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, etc. Birthdays.  


Create A Mini-Book can be utilized in a variety of ways and is very adaptable to many occasions. I have adopted it to fit themed programs such as Fizz!Boom!! which was a science themed program offered by the library.  


I have also employed it to show my thinking on projects required of me while completing my MA in Early Childhood Ed. It is very effective in a variety of ways serving as an educational tool.


The structure I invented that I use in the Create A Mini-Book Program has a name: Tabula Waza (taken from the Latin Tabula Rasa) meaning blank slate. These structures as described above can be made available to schools and other learning institutes, being utilized in a variety of ways (covering a multitude of subjects) to show ones thinking in the form of combining text, drawings, pictures and arts & crafts.



All of the programs offered with Create A Mini-Book can be aligned with Common Core standards. The program was designed to balance mental work with a fun art component by encouraging participants to use their creative thinking skills when arriving at a solution that shows their personal approach to problem solving.  

Create A Mini-Book Standard Program:


An open-ended creative writing exercise that combines hand written text with drawings, pictures and arts & crafts, producing a short story mini book that makes meaning. The end product can produce something as simple as markings from a pre-K child making imaginary letters and numbers combined with their favorite stickers, to a teen who wishes to express what they are feeling in prose or poetry form, accompanied by drawings and embellishments.  


I once had someone weave a tale of mystery that the reader had to figure out by taking their book in the dark and decoding its message at the end…written in glow in the dark ink!  


Creativity and risk-taking are encouraged in the program…both are welcomed and embraced by its participants. Stories can come in the form of a narrative, how-to, all-about, journal entry, poem, etc. and for the early childhood kids in the form of pattern books. Its writer’s choice on subject material. Ideas, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency and conventions are all encouraged, along with encouraging participants to be themselves and to write and create at the very best of their ability. 

Create A Custom Comic Strip:


This program works well with teens who are showing interest in graphic novels. Character development, story-telling, thought bubbles, adventure! Instead of the use of four panels (the standard mini-book size) to fill with imaginative story-telling of super heroes and the like, the oversized comic strip model contains six.

Programs

Putting The Fun Into Learning

Create A Heart Shaped Mini-Book:


This is a favorite of mine. I started it to help commemorate Valentine’s Day as an oversize valentine that held a poem or love story. I then expanded its possibilities to include everything from a love story about one’s family, pet, best friend, music…well, you get the idea! Just about anything goes here, and participants have come up with some of the most wonderful writings. It’s all up to the creativity of the individual, and when one is stuck, we inspire and prepare them to find something to write about.


Option: You can take the heart-shaped mini-book literally and really write a story about the heart in the form of an All About book! Participants in the program can tell what they know about the heart. Younger children love to tell you how much they know about something. I like to display books that share this information, or have the kids research it on the computer. I encourage them to write their facts down (planting early seeds of research), and have them come back to the group and to share what they learned. How many times does the human heart beat a day, a week, a month, a year?!