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May 14, 2014

CA Paper Pillows

Last night I actually had a chance to read my bloglist and I saw that Stephanie from Teaching in Room 6 was sharing her Floating Colony Pillows.  I got it in my head that my students could do the same type of thing for CA, so today they did (yes, I added another project even though I had said that I wasn't going to do anymore for Open House....).

It was actually pretty simple.  The longest part of it was cutting up the butcher paper, but even that was decent because I used my roll of IKEA butcher paper - the stuff I picked up last fall that I have done nothing with at school.  It turned out to be about 3 feet wide that was then folded in half.  

I had all the folded papers sitting under our heavy dictionaries until it was time for the project to try and make it as flat as possible.  Then I drew the basic shape of CA onto the papers.  (My example that I whipped out last night was filled with the ragged edge of the coast, but for my sanity I kept the northern part of CA intact - less staples today).

The kids cut on my pencil marks to make the above shape, through the folded paper, and I told them to save their scraps of paper.  That became the filling later on.  They used their scissors to hold the paper down as they wrote and drew the different units we have studied this year.   

This was on my whiteboard as they drew...  I wanted them to show the different regions, but also the Native Californians, Explorers, Missions, Gold Rush, Railroad/Train (which brought a ton of people westward), our state becoming a state, tourism, and the crops for our valley.   

The kids had a great time, and it was nice to see how they all came about.  I didn't do it for a grade, more to have fun celebrating all we have learned.  I know the kids could have drawn CA, but honestly I wanted to make sure that they ended up being a decent size to hang and display.  

When they were done decorating, I showed the first couple of them how to staple up half the edges, make snowballs with their scraps of paper, and GENTLY stuff the paper inside.  Then we finished up stapling.  Those first couple of kids then helped other kids with the staplers (being experts), and soon everyone was done.  The idea was to keep them on their desks for tomorrow night, but then I started thinking that hanging them would be better (space wise).  The corner was then hole punched, and they were hung with a pipe cleaner above their desks.  

Have a great night!  


  1. I love your class's state pillows! I'm pinning this idea to use next year, or I might even get motivated to try it this year for my school's state, Ohio! Thanks for sharing your pictures and spin on the colony pillows.
    Teaching Special Kids

  2. Those are adorable! I bet the kiddos had fun making those! I wish I still taught social studies...because I would so do that next year!

    Mind Sparks


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