Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Binding Books Beautifully ~ Motivating Reluctant Writers

Several years ago I visited a booth by Binding Books Beautifully  at a Homeschool Convention and loved the hands-on approach to making books.  "What a fun and creative way to motivate my little writers to work hard on their writing assignments", I thought.  I then purchased the kit and brought it home.......where it sat on a shelf and got moved around quite a few times, but basically was untouched and very neglected due to the chaos and busy-ness of life (much like many of my great ideas and intentions  : / ).

This fall, we joined a Homeschool co-op where I thought I would get to sit back and assist in a class for a year while we adjusted to something new.  I somehow, however, often find myself being volunteered for and/or asked to things I didn't actually plan on and ended up as the teacher of the 5th grade writing class.

After several weeks of receiving half-hearted assignments from many of  my crew of 15, I came across the binding tool and thought, "A-ha!  We'll do a book project & I'll let them make their own books before Christmas break!  Perhaps that will motivate my reluctant writers to put a little more thought and effort into their assignments!".  So, I announced the book project to the class and plans were made.  Quite a few of the students were excited about it and others ~ not so much........until the day came to actually make our books.  THEN the ones that saw us making them were quite disappointed they didn't participate.  It turned out to be a bit stressful for me and I'm not sure I will offer such a hands-on project again to a class this size.  Part of the stress was due to the fact that in our co-op, participation in these things seems to be optional and until the week before the project was to be completed I wasn't actually sure how many students were going to participate.  Kind of frustrating for the teacher who is trying to plan and prepare!  In the end, about half the class made books while the other half played Punctuation Bingo ....and my students absolutely loved their finished product! 

It was a crazy, chaotic day that left me thinking, "WHAT was I THINKING????"!  Bad things happen when I am trying to help one glue, put another one's book in the binding tool, listen to something another one was saying to me & answer a mom's question all at the same time! If, after reading this post, you think "What a GREAT idea.....I want to do that with my kids" and end up getting one for yourself, I have one word of caution:  Should you ever do what I did (get distracted and not match up the symbols on the end of the tool, resulting in a book being trapped in the tool) - do not, I repeat DO NOT - try to pry it apart. It only makes it worse and more difficult to get the nails out. Get a pair of needle-nosed pliers and it will grip the nails perfectly and they come right out {small amount of muscle required, but not much ; ) }

Despite the chaos and some unexpected blunders, I was thrilled to get feedback from moms who thanked me for doing it.  Turns out my intentions were rewarded, as the hands-on project that included writing, drawing, fabric, glue, hammers, nails, needles & thread WORKED and DID motivate those reluctant writers I was seeking to inspire (one of which was my very own 5th grader)!

With all the craziness of trying to make so many books during class, I didn't get any pictures worth posting, but ♥Jacob♥ and I made his book at home the day before:

Gluing (Tacky Glue works well) his chosen fabric to the book boards (I bought a package from Amazon):

The covered book in the binding tool:

Hammering the nails in:

Binding/sewing the book together:

The finished book (minus label)!  The Binding Books Beautifully site shows samples of different label ideas for the front.

A few samples of the pages within (you can click to enlarge if you actually want to read them):

Title Page

There are some spelling, punctuation & miscellaneous other errors, but this is a HUGE improvement from what I often get from him and the point was to motivate his creative thinking and inspire him to work harder on his weak areas ~ so I'm happy with it!!

My personal favorite : )

He is so proud of his book......as were his brother and sister.  They found it very unfair that he got to make one and they didn't, so they are now feverishly working on revising some of their writing assignments and creating some new ones in order to give them as Christmas gifts!  : )

It really IS a very fun project......one or two students at a time.... ; )

Linking up with:

Get Your Craft On Tuesday

To-the-TOP Tuesday

Classified: Mom


Grateful for Grace said...

Wow! Making your own books!

My kids would love something like that. What a treat!

(Stopping by via Homeschool Hop!)

msposhb said...

Stopping by via the Tuesday hops to say hello and to follow. Have a great day!

April said...

i'm following from to the top tuesday! i hope you can visit my blog and follow back :)

this looks like a really great project for kids!!



Mika said...

I'm following from the blog hop.
I'd love a follow back at www.mikaspantry.blogspot.com


Nancy said...

What a fun project! Kudos to you
for thinking outside the box and getting your budding writers to write! The pictures and links were very helpful, too!

Carletta said...

What a neat project!

Aimee from Classified: Mom said...

I do not even remember the last time I did book binding! This is such a great skill to learn. Thank you so much for sharing it on The Sunday Showcase!

Classified: Mom