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June 9, 2021

USA Paper Pillows - End of Year Project

One of the projects we did in the countdown to summer were USA paper pillows. I learned about this idea years ago from Teaching in Room 6.  She would have her kids make pillows about the 13 colonies.  Back in those days I taught 4th grade, so would have the kids draw the outline of California (since that's what our SS was all about), decorate it, cut it out, staple most of it shut, and stuff it with the left over paper before the final staple. 

I stopped doing that project when moving to 5th... don't know why. I think because other projects started taking over. This year I needed to go simple with projects that the kids could do at home.  I was reminded about it when Timehop popped up with my old 4th grade Open House pictures.  Seeing the California pillows hanging from the ceiling, I was reminded of how easy it was.  

When I was in 5th grade my elementary school used to have all the 5th graders head to the gym, where we had a huge USA state test.  Big paper on the lunch tables where we each had to draw the USA outline, and then fill in all the states and capitals.  So I decided to combine the ideas to make the pillows. 

It was fun.  It took a good 30 minutes, easily could have taken more.  Kids online and in class were both able to do it at the same time. 

I had the kids get 2 pieces of copy paper.  Then I showed them an outline of the USA, did not have them try to free draw it - posting a picture in our TEAMS conversation for the kids at home, and leaving under the document camera for the kids in class... 

Here are the student directions:

1. Draw the outline of the USA on copy paper or construction paper. Make it big to take up the whole paper. 

2. Write our units in the middle of the map and decorate with little pictures. You can use color.

3. Put your map outline on top of another paper and bubble cut both papers out. One cut for both papers. Do not try and cut the lines perfectly. 

4. Tape or staple the 2 papers together, leaving one end open. 
(This year I gave in class students a long piece of tape, and they just used their scissors to cut little pieces - they couldn't share a stapler.)

5. Scrunch up the scraps of paper, fill the pillow, and finish closing. 

Then being almost 6th graders they tried to use the pillows to take a nap... silly kids.  :)  

This project is great as a review.  Choose a shape that has significance and have them review what they have learned on by writing notes on top. 

Hope it helps,

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