Saturday, 18 May 2013


I've had to explain to a few people recently why I haven't gone down the management route and why I never intend to.  I did do a management course once, 12 years ago, and decided there and then that it wasn't for me.  I'm far too easily distracted by new things to try, and would definitely be the creative/ideas person in a team, and not so much the person who gets things done.  

Here is my latest distraction, a Starburst book, and it's specially for @lancslassrach.

The advantage of this one is that is folds up pretty small yet has plenty of space for writing and illustrations.  Each "page" is almost A4 in size.  It can have as many or as few sections as you like.  Mine has 6.  I used coloured card as I don't have any coloured paper.  Here's how to do it:

For each section: 1.  Take a piece of A4 paper and cut a square from it by folding it as shown and cutting off the extra rectangle.

2.  Unfold your square and fold it in half from top to bottom.

3.  Fold it in half again.

4.  Open up your square again and you'll see that it has 3 different folds.

5.  Fold inwards the squares that have the diagonal folds through them....

6.  .....and this is what you will have.

7.  Make your other sections in the same way, then stick them together on the blank square sides, taking care to match up the folds and open edges.

8.  Now all the sections are stuck together.

9.  Cut 2 squares of card, 11.5cm  x 11.5 cm, for the covers, and stick them to the outsides of your starburst.  And that's it!

Each section can be opened up individually and has a large space for writing and drawing.  You could also make these using A5 paper.  They would then be mini-starbursts but would still have nearly A5-sized "pages".

These mini-books would be useful for any writing that comprises different sections or chapters.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Lift a different kind of flap

I have been working on "Then and Now" with my fourth-year-of-Spanish children.  We have got to the point where they are ready to do some writing about their village now and in the past.  We have covered all the language content, and the historical content will be down to them - they did it for their topic last term.  Then, they produced a leaflet about the village and its history, so I want to do something different in Spanish.  I turned once again to this book for inspiration.

You start off with a blank piece of paper (I think I will use A3 on the day) which you fold in half widthways twice, like a greetings card.  Then you cut flaps in the top layer, then the second layer, and, if you need more space, the third layer too.  The photo at the top shows you the "front cover", and the pictures below show you each successive flap, containing our first draft text.

Of course I am expecting the children to decorate theirs, and we will be adding to the writing.

I have prepared a template for the children, and if you would like to have a go you can download it from here.

Talking mini-books

This takes mini-books to a new level!  Using Storyfold™ Audio Paper from Mantralingua, the Minibook Creator software and the PenPal (the successor to my RecorderPen) I have made a minibook that talks:

There are several ways of using this software and hardware:

  • Make a mini-book with pictures and words, and record the sound for the children to listen to.
  • Make a mini-book with pictures only, record the sound for the children to listen to and see how much they can understand.
  • Make a mini-book with pictures only, and the children use the PenPal to record their version of the story.
  • Children draw their own pictures to illustrate the mini-book and record their own sound.
  • Separate the audio paper into 8 cards and record sound to use in board games or games such as Pelmanism.
  • Separate the audio paper into 8 cards and use it to make audio labels for things in the classroom
Lots of different ways of encouraging all four skills, pair work and for providing individual records of learning and progress.

Thanks as ever to Bev Evans for her brilliant images.

Disclaimer:  I am currently working as MFL editor and author for Mantralingua.