November Projects: origami and paper arts

November Projects:

    1st week: American Flag Toothpick
    2nd week Kirigami Star
    3d week: Pencil Toppers (lamb chop cuffs)
    4th week: Origami Turkey

American Flag toothpicks:

In honor of Veteran's Day, I make toothpick American flags as one of the November projects. It's easy and kids enjoy having small flags to play with. I bring styrofoam cups and give these to the children. They poke their toothpick flags into the styrofoam and take them home in that manner. This avoids them poking themselves with the toothpicks and allows them to bring the flags home safely. Depending on their age group, I may test them about the number of stars and stripes on the flag. I may ask them what countries lie to the north and south of USA. What country are their parents from and how do those flags look like? I may make different kinds of flags during another month based on the class curriculum or the diversity of the students.

Kirigami Star:

Most USA students know that the American flag has red & white stripes and white stars on a blue background. To emphasize this, I teach the children to cut a perfect 5-pointed star from one sheet of paper. Kids are always (and I mean in every grade level) amazed that a few folds and one cut result in a perfect star. The kirigami star itself is very easy, so I allow the students to make at least 2 stars as one of the November projects. For the younger children, cutting the stars is fine. For older children, I allow them to make stars of different sizes. These can be joined with a brass paper fastener. The stars can be arranged one on top of the other or in staggered arrangement. Very pretty. For even more advanced students, I teach them to cut an outline of a star. This is not hard, but does require that they make the cuts at the exact place (otherwise, the star falls apart). Variation:
I set up a huge flag: I cut and glue the red stripes onto the white background. The children make the stars and place them onto the corner of the flag. By the time everyone has added their 2 or 3 stars, the flag would be complete. If the children are old enough, they can write the name of a state on the back of each star. It's a nice group project. Tip: make your flag big - or make your stars small because it takes quite a bit of room to arrange 50 stars!

Pencil Toppers (Lamb Chop Cuffs)

Do you remember back when Grandma used to cook the turkey? The turkey was perfectly roasted and the drumsticks were wrapped in a frilly chef's-hat decoration. These are called "lamb chop cuffs" and are rarely seen except in gourmet magazines. Here's a secret for you, these lamb chop cuffs are easy to make. In a school setting, the lamb chop cuffs are made small enough to be used as pencil toppers. Once the kids have learned to make one, they will be begging to make 10 more. Tell them to surprise their parents by making some cuffs for their Thanksgiving turkey.

Origami Turkey I have never really found a good looking origami turkey that is also easy to make. Thus I have modified the classic swan to include a fanned tail and voila: a makeshift origami turkey!

The design requires two sheets of paper. The first is used to make the body. The second sheet is used to make the fanned tail. For more advanced students, I allow them to make the tail in two colors. The paper gets thick and it often slides out of place, so only give this option to children who are patient and can tinker. Using tissue paper to make the fanned tail allows multiple sheets to be stacked and folded without it getting overly thick.