Scrap-booking is tops

Scrap-booking is tops

Prewitt, Susan

It all started in July of 1998 when our principal, Lee Clay, called six teachers together to talk about the need for more elective classes. As we discussed possibilities, Lee emphasized that each of us could choose what she or he would like to teach. Neat!

My choice was scrapbooking. I remembered the great time my daughter had in putting together an awesome scrapbook for her cousin for her graduation. Well, if she had a great time, why wouldn’t a junior high student have one, too?

Getting started. I was a bit unsure about how to get started and what actually needed to be taught. I looked at scrapbook magazines to get ideas and I wrote letters to scrapbook companies asking for guidelines, how-to articles, strategies, anything that might help me.

From this information I worked out a three-stage plan to get my students excited about creating scrapbooks. The first stage consisted of introducing them to the idea of scrapbooking. I showed them my daughter’s scrapbook and compared it to the one I had when I was a teenager. I also showed them magazine pictures of what others had done with scrapbooking. This helped them realize that there’s really no right or wrong way to create a scrapbook. If the children worked hard and put some thought into it, they’d be successful.

We brainstormed all kinds of ideas for themes – family, friends, holidays, birthdays and so on. Students need to have a theme in mind, along with about 10 pictures, to get the project off to a successful start.

Designer scissors. The second stage consisted of introducing the different tools – e.g., scissors, crimpers, stencils, background paper, etc. – that can be used in scrapbooking. The big hit with my students, though, was the neat designer scissors that could make five different cuts. The students could hardly wait for me to hand them over so they could try them. It’s a good idea to let students use the scissors on scrap paper before they start on the scrapbook pages.

The third part of the project focused on lettering. I introduced the class to several types of lettering and told them to choose a type they felt would fit their theme and that they liked – and then practice, practice, practice.

The learning is easy. The educational value of the scrapbooking exercise was more than I had hoped for. Students were introduced to lettering, journal writing and design. In the realm of design, they learned to mat, how to choose colors that go together and select scrapbook pages to complement and enhance their pictures.

Another added value is that students are made aware that memories are important, that conversation is a fine art and that a little creativity goes a long way when you’re creating titles for scrapbook pages.

Students frequently commented that they loved coming to this class. Often, students who didn’t excel in other classes felt successful in the scrapbooking class. I think it was because of their pride in their work and no one told them that the pages were wrong. Comments such as “Could I pick my own paper so I can say I did it all by myself?” were heard all year.

Some drawbacks. There are a few drawbacks, to be sure. You may have students from families who, for whatever reason, simply do not take pictures. This isn’t a problem if you have a Polaroid” camera, a digital camera or 35 mm available. Simply take pictures of them with friends in and around school. In that way they’ll be able to participate in the scrapbooking class, too.

You may also have parents who really want their child to participate, but don’t want their pictures cut or tabbed onto the scrapbook page. This is where your school’s copier comes in very handy. I found that students are more than happy to work with either color or black-andwhite copies instead of the original pictures.

Enticing reluctant scrapbookers. Finally, you may have a student who simply isn’t interested in scrapbooking. I had just such a student who thought this was a “baby” class. I said I’d find him something else to do, but after two or three days of watching his peers have a ball, he walked up to my desk, pulled one picture from his pocket and quietly said, “I don’t think this is so ‘baby’ after all. Could I have a sheet of paper to put my picture on?” He turned out to be one of the best creators of scrapbook pages in the class.

That year was such a wonderful year because of the scrapbooking class. In fact, the class was so successful that we had three other teachers volunteer to teach similar classes. Who knows how many more teachers will eventually follow suit? This much I’m sure of, however: the students who learn scrapbooking in your class will learn a lot while they have fun, and they will have pages of memories to remind them of what fun it was to be a kid.



1 FISKARS – SCRAPBOOKING: niques.html Tips and ideas for scrapbooking from Fiskars, the maker of a variety of papercrafting tools. Scrapbooking 101 offers helpful direction and links to Paper Crafts ideas.

2 FAMILY SCRAPBOOK REQUIREMENTS: ndipedu/lessons/97/weekmscrapbk.html/ Criteria for creating a primary source scrapbook, from the American Memory.

3 AN AMERICAN SCRAPBOOK: http://tg” A scrapbook of family involvement in World War II and the memories for each student’s life. Shows use of photos.

Copyright Early Years, Inc. Mar 2001

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