Origami {Spark Student Motivation}

Quick idea here, use origami!  I know we can't just do arts and crafts for no reason...but in my second grade classroom we are currently reading (and writing) procedural texts.  I don't really have the resources in my classroom to follow recipes and bake, etc. but we can easily make things out of paper!  What better way to learn about procedural texts than with real life application?

Last year we found an article on making a drinking cup in an old test prep book.  The kids LOVED it.  I pulled it out again this past week and again, it was like the best thing in the world.  
Thankfully, we didn't make the cups until Thursday, because come the end of the day Friday little paper cups of all different sizes were appearing all over the place.  One of my girls even went home and made one for everyone to use as a holder for her valentine note.
Last year, I had a student who was a really low reader, but really interested in art, specifically, making paper airplanes.  I bought him his own origami book around this time of the year as well as a pack of colored origami paper.  It really motivated him to read and I used the paper as a reward for good behavior.

We'll be covering procedural text for about another week, so I might give the origami another try if we have the time.  Here are a couple of good websites that I have used in the paste: Origami-Instructions and Origami-Fun They have ads, but I try to pick ones that have both images and words so the kids can become familiar with the text features.  Go with the easy ones, everything is a lot harder for the kids!  

Another thing I did last year that was a big hit but didn't remember until now, is that I checked out a bunch of drawing books from the library (the ones with words and pictures, of course).  I remember having to pry those away!
When I was in maybe sixth grade, we read a book having to do with the bomb in Hiroshima.  I believe they collect paper cranes and float them down a river as a way to remember the children who died (that's what I remember anyway, I could be wrong).  Anyway, we learned how to make paper cranes, showed the other classes how to make paper cranes, and collected thousands that year.  I still remember how to make them.  

Have you ever used origami with your kids?


  1. You are right about that book. It is called "Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes." A 2nd grade teacher at our school read the story and encouraged the whole school to make paper cranes a few years ago. (I'm sure there was a cause she was supporting, but I can't remember it.)

    I can see how this would be very motivating and I love to incorporate art into my lessons. The kids love it almost as much as when I include food!

    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

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  3. I had my students write a "How to" this year. One of my students taught the class an origami lesson, and it was a huge hit. He did such a good job, even I was able to follow the directions and make it work.
    Thank you for sharing this. Have a great weekend!

    Fit to be Fourth

  4. Great incorporation Jessica! And origami is a lot easier to clean up than cooking! What a fun way to write how to papers! Thanks for sharing and linking up!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  5. Excellent idea, Jessica! Origami is hard (IMO), but it also provides challenge, and I think kids really want to be able to get it to work and therefore put forth more effort to figure it out. I wonder how the kids would do reading the steps, making the project, and without the steps for reference, writing the steps on their own. It'd be a great challenge to see how close they'd come.

  6. I have some boys that are SO into making origami. I find stuff all over my room!!!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  7. What a great idea! I found instructions for these giant paper snowflakes online. I handed them to my fourth graders and told them to follow the directions. They were stunned that I wasn't going to tell them how to do it. My room is the old art room and they expect to just be told what to do. I'll have to try origami next!

    Suntans and Lesson Plans

  8. I am not if I mentioned it, Jessica, but Grains to Bread and Grapes to Raisins were listed for $1.00 per book in The Reading Warehouse Bargain Bin. www.thereadingwarehouse.com

  9. Nice post! This is a very nice blog that I will definitively come back to more times this year! Thanks for informative post. paper box

  10. It was a very good post indeed. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it in my lunch time. Will surely come and visit this blog more often. Thanks for sharing. origami heart


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