Blank Books- Integrating Visual Art and Writing

I learned to write grants from the teacher with whom I completed my student teaching. The idea of creating a book like this was her brainchild. Bare Books is the company that makes these books.

I don't know how many times she and I got a grant for this project. Several years, for sure. Each year, students were to complete a piece of writing and design a cover for this book. It integrated visual art and writing.

Here are my takes on this project.

One year, when I first began teaching art, fourth graders created a book based on their study of Mississippi history. So, they integrated social studies as well.

That same year, third grade wrote The ABCs of Third Grade. Second grade wrote a fairy tale. Fifth grade completely devised their own individual story.

They did the writing part in their language arts classrooms and created the covers in my art classroom. They stamped a border on their covers using rubber stamping materials that I ordered from Sax Arts and Crafts (messy and fun!).  The fourth graders traced the state of Mississippi. (Please read a little of my theory on tracing here.) They used crayons to add the rest of the color to the covers and outlined everything with a black permanent marker.

These pictures show what the blank books look like. I like the space at the top of the pages for students to add illustrations. I also like that they have to handwrite the text. Although, I have seen teachers let students type and paste the printout on top of the lines.

Here are a few images of the fourth grade books in progress (there is a finished one at the top):

The stamping was great for fine motor work!

Here are some process pics:

The Mississippi template

When they finished with their rubber stamp, they tossed it in a bucket of soapy water.

The rubber stamps from Sax

They used paintbrushes to put the paint on their stamps.

This stamping looks great.

The ABCs of Third Grade  and a Second Grade Fairy Tale in progress:

This fifth grader wrote his own story. I believe it was based on a video game. I am video game illiterate! So, I wouldn't know which one. I love this Mondrian-ish thing he had going on.

This is an example of a book from when I taught first grade regular education. They did the writing and covers with me in my first grade classroom. I was not the art teacher then. I had the kids pick a color on which to concentrate. They found things that color to cut out from magazines. I remember sitting on the carpet with them and helping them. That is a joyful memory. They glued it all on and painted over it with Mod Podge. I stapled a ribbon to the inside of the front and back covers to create a closure. They stamped the back covers with paint that matched their color choice. They used sponge stamps for that. There is a photo at the bottom that shows how I stapled the ribbons to the covers. The only thing I didn't like about these was that the title wasn't on the cover. They were very beautiful though. These were keepers for the parents. I heard many compliments. They all said they would keep them forever.


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