Create a List

List Name

Rename this List
Save to
Back to the Top Teaching Blog
March 28, 2014

Paper Bag Books and iPads: Old Meets New in Landform Learning

By Meghan Everette
Grades 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

    This fall, I accidentally purchased 500 tiny brown bags instead of regular-size lunch bags. I stuck them on a shelf thinking they would be good for something, and was thrilled to come across paper bag books. A staple in the altered book art world, paper bag books are simply folded bags hooked together. The flaps and pockets become interesting places to hide surprises and the craft paper is an ideal journaling medium to build on. My little bags became the backdrop for a lesson on landforms that started with snack bags and ended with iPads.

    First, I had to teach landforms. I used Scholastic’s Everything You Need about Volcanoes and Mountains to kick off our unit. My students live at sea level, so these huge landforms are foreign and very interesting. We then used a simple worksheet to cut and glue landforms. Finally, we watched a StudyJams slideshow complete with a song and gorgeous photos of landforms around the country.

    To create the books, I took three bags and sewed them together using a sewing machine. If you aren’t a seamstress, hand sewing or punching holes and tying yarn both work well. Any bookbinding method is OK. Be sure to make each layout the same if you want each student to have similar books. The kids were really excited to make their own book and kept teasing each other about reading their neighbor a “story” that they made.

     

    Paperbag Book AssemblyMaking a Landform Book

     

    To fill the pages, I created simple Venn diagrams, charts, and questions I wanted my students to fill in.  You can borrow our templates for small or regular-size bags. We worked together to research and read articles on our new set of class iPads. Students added information to their books as we worked. It took about two weeks to have enough time to research, write, color, and paste everything into the book. Some special features of our books are:

    • Hidden PocketsPockets in Landform Bag
      Students cut out their worksheet landforms, colored the front, and folded them so the definition was on the back of the little card. They organized them by type of landform and then tucked them into the pockets created by the bags.

       


       
    • Flip BookLandform Flip Book
      The landforms flip book was one of their favorite things to make. It was made from a template I found on the Ginger Snap blog. We colored and cut out each piece then stapled the edge. The landforms were applied to the middle of our paper bag books and are very colorful.

       

    • Question and Answer FlapsHidden Flaps
      Little flaps created by the ends of the bags made a perfect place for questions and answers. We put pre-printed questions on the flaps and then students researched the answers. We hid the answers under the flaps.


       


       
    • Favorite LandformsFavorite Landform
      Students wrote about their favorite landforms and inserted them into the book. They illustrated their favorite landform. Many students picked volcanoes of course, but it was fun to see how much they learned and formed new favorites throughout the activities.


       

    Our class went one-to-one in the midst of creating our books. Students were so excited to use their iPads, we had to incorporate technology somehow! I used the site Smore, which allows members to make their own e-flyers through preset designs. They are simple enough for my first graders to use with assistance, but beautifully designed. In groups, students made pictures and video of our work to include in their Smore. Then we posted QR codes with the books so that others could visit our Smore right from the hallway.

    Smore about Landforms Smore Landforms

    Students loved combining “old” bookmaking with new techniques and technology. The result was a lasting impact on learning and a fun way to spice up social studies.


    Plateau vs Hill Drawing Landforms

     

    How are you blending old ideas and new techniques in your classrooms? Are iPads a part of the learning?

    This fall, I accidentally purchased 500 tiny brown bags instead of regular-size lunch bags. I stuck them on a shelf thinking they would be good for something, and was thrilled to come across paper bag books. A staple in the altered book art world, paper bag books are simply folded bags hooked together. The flaps and pockets become interesting places to hide surprises and the craft paper is an ideal journaling medium to build on. My little bags became the backdrop for a lesson on landforms that started with snack bags and ended with iPads.

    First, I had to teach landforms. I used Scholastic’s Everything You Need about Volcanoes and Mountains to kick off our unit. My students live at sea level, so these huge landforms are foreign and very interesting. We then used a simple worksheet to cut and glue landforms. Finally, we watched a StudyJams slideshow complete with a song and gorgeous photos of landforms around the country.

    To create the books, I took three bags and sewed them together using a sewing machine. If you aren’t a seamstress, hand sewing or punching holes and tying yarn both work well. Any bookbinding method is OK. Be sure to make each layout the same if you want each student to have similar books. The kids were really excited to make their own book and kept teasing each other about reading their neighbor a “story” that they made.

     

    Paperbag Book AssemblyMaking a Landform Book

     

    To fill the pages, I created simple Venn diagrams, charts, and questions I wanted my students to fill in.  You can borrow our templates for small or regular-size bags. We worked together to research and read articles on our new set of class iPads. Students added information to their books as we worked. It took about two weeks to have enough time to research, write, color, and paste everything into the book. Some special features of our books are:

    • Hidden PocketsPockets in Landform Bag
      Students cut out their worksheet landforms, colored the front, and folded them so the definition was on the back of the little card. They organized them by type of landform and then tucked them into the pockets created by the bags.

       


       
    • Flip BookLandform Flip Book
      The landforms flip book was one of their favorite things to make. It was made from a template I found on the Ginger Snap blog. We colored and cut out each piece then stapled the edge. The landforms were applied to the middle of our paper bag books and are very colorful.

       

    • Question and Answer FlapsHidden Flaps
      Little flaps created by the ends of the bags made a perfect place for questions and answers. We put pre-printed questions on the flaps and then students researched the answers. We hid the answers under the flaps.


       


       
    • Favorite LandformsFavorite Landform
      Students wrote about their favorite landforms and inserted them into the book. They illustrated their favorite landform. Many students picked volcanoes of course, but it was fun to see how much they learned and formed new favorites throughout the activities.


       

    Our class went one-to-one in the midst of creating our books. Students were so excited to use their iPads, we had to incorporate technology somehow! I used the site Smore, which allows members to make their own e-flyers through preset designs. They are simple enough for my first graders to use with assistance, but beautifully designed. In groups, students made pictures and video of our work to include in their Smore. Then we posted QR codes with the books so that others could visit our Smore right from the hallway.

    Smore about Landforms Smore Landforms

    Students loved combining “old” bookmaking with new techniques and technology. The result was a lasting impact on learning and a fun way to spice up social studies.


    Plateau vs Hill Drawing Landforms

     

    How are you blending old ideas and new techniques in your classrooms? Are iPads a part of the learning?

Comments

Share your ideas about this article

Meghan's Most Recent Posts
Blog Post
One-Stop January Shop: Every Resource You Need

Get great ideas, lessons, resources, interactives, and more for January. Celebrate the new year and Chinese New Year, and embrace the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with tips, books, and a host of other materials!

By Meghan Everette
January 2, 2017
Blog Post
13 Big Ideas for Big Nate and Other Graphic Novels

Read on for 13 ideas for teaching with Big Nate's box set and every graphic novel. Capitalize on student interest and hit reading skills hard with the visually-rich format.

By Meghan Everette
December 6, 2016
Blog Post
December Resources for Winter Holidays

Get links to winter projects and ideas for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and more. Find books, articles, blogs, crafts, and Printables for celebrating diversity and heritage all year long.

By Meghan Everette
November 21, 2016
Blog Post
November: Free Resources From the Election to Thanksgiving

Grab more than 100 November resources for Veterans Day, Aviation History Month, the 2016 Election, and Thanksgiving. Get links to interactives, lesson plans, articles, blog posts, and printable resources to plan easily with Scholastic all November long.

By Meghan Everette
October 24, 2016
Blog Post
Free Common Core Math Games for Every Math Monster

Print free, differentiated math games with a monster theme for math night or a monstrous math class. Get kindergarten through fifth grade Common Core aligned math activities.

By Meghan Everette
October 17, 2016

Susan Cheyney

GRADES: 1-2
About Us