Teachingartonthecheap's Blog

Stick Journals are for everyone!

Posted on: April 5, 2010

This project is appealing to all ages and demographics! The 4th and 5th graders made stick journals since much of what modern people know about Colonial History is from what people of that era wrote down, either formally, in diaries or journals, or in letters to others. The 2nd graders made journals since we were studying letter writing, and writing in a journal can be like writing a letter to yourself.

They are super simple to make and really use up a lot of actual stuff destined for the trash/recycle bin.  You need:

Rubber bands

something to serve as the stick (soda straw, chopstick, dead pen with the ink cartridge removed, handle of a toothbrush, paintbrush that’s yucky since someone forgot to wash it out, a stick from the yard, etc.)

waste paper cut to 8.5″x5.5″ for the front and back covers (old calendar pages, folders, cardboard inserts, posters from events long passed, and so on)

hole punches (I like the 2 hole punches used for legal files – SCRAP gets in tons of that particular size when filing systems go digital)

filler paper (paper from the recycle bin that’s been used on 1 side)

Fold the filler paper in half horizontally so it’s the size of covers. Stack 5 sheets, printed sides on the inside. Layer with a front and back cover. Hole punch on the side opposite the folds (this is the hardest part to get people to follow directions – if you do it this way, it hides the printed side of the paper forever), poke looped ends of the rubber band through the holes, and use the stick to hold the rubber band loops. Done.

I sometimes collate and stack pre-printed paper headed for the recycle bin and run it back through the copier so it has lines on it instead of being blank, or graph paper squares – or you might just want it blank for an art journal.

Sarah Morgan at SCRAP showed me how to do this and it’s such a cool, universally interesting project! Add more pages or take some out as needed. You can modify this project in many ways to change it up – kids think of all kinds of cool things to personalize it.

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