June, 2013

Altering Books

I recently held a workshop at Missouri State University for the Ozark Writing Project Summer Institute Fellows of 2013 on Altering Books.This type of Project-Based Learning is a comprehensive instructional approach to engage students in sustained, cooperative investigation (Bransford & Stein, 1993). Project-Based Learning differs from traditional inquiry by its emphasis on students’ own artifact construction to represent what is being learned (Houghton Mifflin, 2009).Altered books are versatile and applicable to any subject. They can be used in almost any classroom, for a wide variety of purposes: journaling, creating poetry & short stories, outlining, using math manipulation to create pockets, 3-dimensional pop outs and sculptural additions, scientific observations, etc.

Another reason to consider using Altered Books in the classrom: student motivation. In Arts, Neuroscience, and Learning an article by James Zull, Professor of Biology and Director of the University
Center for Innovation in Teaching and Education at Case Western Reserve University (New Horizons for Learning, 2005), Zull states that the researcher understands that the learner feels rewarded when creating new objects or actions. It is further discovered that due to creativity being based on the creator, the reward system kicks in when we are in control and making things that we have thought of ourselves. Freedom and ownership are part and parcel of the neurochemistry of the arts. James Zull goes on to share in his article that the importance of arts in school is strongly associated with motivation and interest.

Here are just a few of the products created by the SI Fellows during the workshop:


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