Making paper with 1st/2nd graders for Integrated Project Week (IPW) at @The_School

The School at Columbia University has begun Integrated Project Week (IPW). Our K-8 community splits into small groups and embarks on an intensive week-long study of…something. In previous years, I’ve facilitated:

  • Haunted New York where we researched spooky sites around the city, visited these locations, interviewed people, and gathered all of our footage into a 19 minute feature film (using iMovie). It was an incredibly serendipitous experience, and I fell in love with the city all over again.
  • Digital Archivists where we talked about how to save information and gather data using a variety of new media tools – digital images, videos, servers, cloud computing, blogs, websites.
  • Black Rock Leaders where we talking about survival tactics, sustainability, and nature before camping in Black Rock Forest for a couple of nights
  • Five Boroughs in Focus where we visited locations in each of the five boroughs of New York City (Manhattan, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Staten Island, and Queens) taking photos and using them to illustrate personal blogs. The writings included a variety of styles: narrative, short story, fiction, poetry.

I’m used to middle school dramas and odors, so this week is a revelation (already). I’m paired with Danielle Morris, a ridiculously talented primary school teacher, and we’re teaching kids how to make paper and books and employing a Writing Workshop so students can use their books to house original stories.

I’ve already been on a soap box talking about using bamboo instead of trees for paper making and building purposes. Also, we’ve gone on a tour of our school, gathering paper from office shredders to use as the “pulp” and paper from recycle bins to use as the notepaper inside. We’ll be using the back of this “found” paper to give new life to a potentially landfill-bound resource and reinforce my favorite trio of words: Reduce, reuse, recycle.

So far, I’ve survived the first morning. That’s something. 🙂

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