For me the Christmas holidays are all about catching up with friends who I have neglected so woefully during term time. One such friend is Nicky who teaches in a school for students with special educational needs here in Rotherham. Chatting with her yesterday, she described a rather excellent lesson on myths and legends that involved, among other things, a version of ‘narrative hopscotch’! Her creativity never ceases to amaze and delight.
Our conversation turned from the specific to the general and we discussed the connection between form and content. The idea is a simple one: form suggests. In other words, students shown a particular form will be inspired to find ways that it can be used to fulfil narrative or poetic needs.
This in turn reminded me of another version of the origami book that I posted here last year. This time the paper folding gives students a book with a cover, six-pages and three doors. This simple form is highly suggestive to students in Years 7 and 8. The door on the odd numbered pages gives their narrative a surprise element or perhaps one to do with mystery or puzzles or… well, you see what I mean.
So, galvanised by our conversation, I rattled off some resources this morning that might allow you to experiment with this form.
Pictured left is my basic instructions for the six-page origami book with cover. It is a form that requires a little practise but involves nothing other than two sheets of paper and a pair of scissors.
Below is a variant of this design’s inner pages where three extra cuts are made to give ‘doors’ (or windows?).
I have also included some tiny ‘line-guides’ that students might used to help make a presentable finished book.
Clearly a form such as this one works very well with less motivated students. It is fun to make, requires cooperation and concentration, and the form itself seems to demand completeness. Drafts and redrafts can be made and the writer can produce their work for a younger audience (perhaps even test them out with a neighbouring class or school?).
Both resources are available to download below: