Accordion Books

23 January 2012
Well, it was about as close to a snow day as we get today.  Our buses were cancelled today, and because I teach at a fairly rural school, that meant I only had 6 students in my class ... yep, 6.  Don't ask me why they don't cancel school when the buses are off the road - I have no answer for this.  Anyhow, it was a GREAT day with them.  I got them started on a new art project, got my DRA testing done with 6 that were there (and got prepped for the rest of the students), worked on their orals, and got in some more practice with metric conversions.  The grade 7/8 teacher and myself paired up the classes for two full blocks, so we each got some time to ourselves in the classroom, too.  YAY!

With the extra time I had today, I was able to get a lot of marking done in their reading notebooks.  We're still studying inferring with our Chris Van Allsburg unit.   Last week we read The Garden of Abdul Gasazi.  For our weekly summative task, I decided to do a foldable - the kids love them in math, so I figured they'd love them in language, as well.  I had them make an accordion book.  They had to recreate the cover, using the same style of illustrations Chris Van Allsburg used in the book.  For the inside panels they had to cover:

  • a summary of the story
  • character traits for two characters (with supporting evidence)
  • setting (both place and time - inferred from the story)
  • a reflection based on the question, "How did the main character's feelings change throughout the story?" (they also had to include supporting evidence from the text).

This was a nice switch from the usual written summary and reflection - and I was right, the kids loved making them (well, love might be a strong word, but they definitely liked them).  ;)

Happy Monday!!!


  1. Awesome! Thank you so much for sharing. Seeing the actual finished product is so helpful!

  2. Hey Jen! I love those days that happen once in a blue moon! Glad you got so much stuff done, awesome. Thanks for sharing this...I think I told you last time we are doing an author study later this year and I'm so excited to try what you have shared. Thanks again!

  3. When I was student teaching, we had a super cold day with severe wind chills. They ended up letting everyone go home before lunchtime, but out of our 25 students, only 10 or so had come to school! It's strange how much more peaceful it felt. :)

    Marvelous Multiagers!

  4. Thanks, Bernrice. I'm always excited to share the work that my students complete (well, some of them, at least) ;)

    Kristen - Van Allsburg is my FAVOURITE!!! I look forward to teaching this unit so much.

    Jill - we never have a snow day - even in crazy blizzards we're expected to make a heroic effort to get to school. However, buses are pulled off the road at least a few times during the winter. Once the highways were closed while we were at school, and we ended up having to stay until long past 7 pm. That day ended up to be a lot of fun ... looooonnnnnggggg, but fun.

  5. I love this idea and I love interactive notebooks! I am for sure going to incorporate something similar in my class!

    Miss Klohn
    Adventures of a 6th Grade Teacher

  6. I love this idea and can think of several ways I can incorporate it into many different lessons! I can't wait to use it, Thanks for sharing!

    Twins, Teaching and Tacos.

  7. I love it, love it, love it! This will definitely be making its way into my week. :)

    Teaching in Room 6

  8. What a great way to turn a negative (hardly any kids) into a positive!

  9. Thanks so much, ladies. I was really pleased with how they turned out. I've been doing a lot of foldables in math this year, but this was my first in language (but definitely not my last).
    Kathy, with a class like mine this year, hardly any kids is definitely a positive! ;)

  10. I love these accordion books! I haven't tried them with my students this year yet, but I definitely will soon!
    To The Square Inch

  11. Thanks so much for the idea, I can think of so many uses for this style accordian! Love it glued in a journal or spiral.

  12. We sometimes have days like that when the buses aren't running. It's weird but fun to just have a few students. It feels much more restful -- ha ha!

    Grade ONEderful

  13. Those are my FAVORITE kind of days!!!!! {I have quite a few of those during the Jewish holidays} I get so much done & the kids get so much individual attention! I'm loving the accordion foldable!!

    Hope you had a great week!

    ❤ Mor Zrihen from...
    A Teacher's Treasure
    Teaching Treasures Shop

  14. I just wanted to tell you how awesome you are!! I bought and started your Chris Van Allsburg inferencing unit with my 5th grade reading classes yesterday. I have a rainbow of ability levels and they all loved it. They couldn't wait at the end of class yesterday to go home to tell their parents about the book we read and try to figure out what the "stone" actually is. What an awesome unit! We are going to complete the central theme diagram and start on the journal writing today. Thanks so much for all you do... It is definitely appreciated! :)