Teaching a Class. Tips?

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Teaching a Class. Tips?

Postby notefolds » May 19th, 2008, 3:04 pm

I've been invited to primary school to teach origami to a class this Friday. The students are 8 and 9 years old. I have an hour to fill. I thought I would start with a brief history of origami, passing around traditional models. Then I would move into the more complex models of today (probably won't pass those around!) Finally, I want to teach the kids some simple folds. I'm thinking the fortune teller (blintz base, flip, blintz base, flip, open four flaps). I want to teach one other model. Any ideas? Nothing too complicated. Also if you have any suggestions on how to make the presentation interesting, it would be much appreciated. Thanks! :D
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Postby JeossMayhem » May 19th, 2008, 3:16 pm

Well, it depends on how many kids are in the class. It took me about 30 minutes to teach 40 kids how to make a crane. I wouldn't teach more than two models, and make sure you give a tutorial on mountain/valley folds. To get things moving along you're gonna have to be ready to just do some of steps for them. And also be prepared to see some kids wadding up their paper. I've found some youngsters get really into it and do well, which is cool, but there's always those who don't want to give it the attention and would rather pick their noses and stare out the window.
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Postby angrydemon » May 19th, 2008, 4:26 pm

Simple traditional models won't really impress them or get their attention, because they are generally regarded as "lame". While you should still teach them how to fold the crane, you should also bring some complex models like the Ancient Dragon or Bahamut to freak them out, I mean get them interested. Otherwise, they'll start crumpling up their papers and throw them at you. Some stupid little brat might even kick you in the um...shins.
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Postby Joseph Wu » May 19th, 2008, 4:55 pm

I'm sure angrydemon's advice is drawn from his vast experience. :)

Notefolds, your plan sounds fine. You might want to check out David Petty's diagrams of traditional models for ideas of what to teach.
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Postby bethnor » May 19th, 2008, 5:36 pm

I used to teach origami to small groups of kids at an after-school program. Be aware that even a crane can get very frustrating for them. A traditional house was popular because it was relatively easy to do. Traditional waterbomb is also nice.

Also, be cautious about bringing too many super complex models. Some kids may get frustrated that you're not teaching them how to do those. I remember having Montroll's Animal Origami for the Enthusiast on hand, and many children wanted to go straight to those.
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Postby origami_8 » May 19th, 2008, 8:06 pm

I also think that you should be careful with showing complex things. Once the children see those they want to fold them for sure and not only those "lame" traditional stuff.

When my mother was teacher of a first class of a primary school she sometimes invited me to fold some things with the kids for feasts like mothers day or eastern. First we told the kids what we were going to fold and handed them out large paper in the right dimensions that they had to colour on their own. Afterwards I showed them how to do one simple model like Francis Ow's double hearts for mothers day, waterbombs for eastern, and jumping grasshoppers on a different occasion. The feedback was very positive and the children always asked when I would come again to teach them more.
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Postby Joseph Wu » May 19th, 2008, 8:13 pm

I never have problems with kids wanting to learn the complex stuff. Certainly, they want to, but then I explain that they need to learn the basics first. If that doesn't work, I talk to them about the amount of time required. "This dragon took me 10 hours to fold. When I teach something, it usually takes twice as long as the folding time, so that's 20 hours. Right now, we only have 47 minutes left in this class..." That usually works.
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Postby JeossMayhem » May 19th, 2008, 9:32 pm

Hah yea, I've had the same experience as described by Joseph. I would teach in a two-week long art camp, at least eight hours a day, but I could only devote only a fractive of the time actually teaching origami (A lot of the time is spent keeping them from squabbling with one another, haha..) I did display complex models, but I had to make very clear that I don't have the right kind of paper, my books, or the time to go through the process step-by-step.

Think about trying modular units. The basic sonobe unit is one of my favorite to teach because it's easy to remember and relatively easy to assemble.
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Postby mrsriggins » May 19th, 2008, 10:02 pm

Modulars would be nice. They are simple and have a very pretty outcome. Or even some traditional and easy but not 'lame' models like the crane or even a tulip or a waterbomb, or a chinese luck star, or jumping frog.
http://www.geocities.com/mmukhopadhyay/ ... /star.html
http://www.origami-instructions.com/ori ... lloon.html
http://www.origami-instructions.com/origami-tulip.html

These are models I would teach to kids sitting next to me up into high school. They are easy to teach and make and still have an appealing outcome because they aren't the 'kindergarten' (as students would say) one dimensional models.

As for modulars I would do something that doesn't require too many units like a basic cube or a slightly modified one like the ray cube : http://www.origamee.net/ both can be found here under diagrams. Or even throwing stars.

http://folds.net/tutorial/models/shu_2_ ... grams.html
http://www.graspr.com/videos/How-to-mak ... owing-star
Hope those ideas helped and good luck! 8)
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Postby angrydemon » May 20th, 2008, 12:16 am

Joseph Wu wrote:I'm sure angrydemon's advice is drawn from his vast experience. :)


I'm not saying I have experience :lol: It's just that, I was never really interested in origami until I learned about its full potential, and I'm sure it's the same way with most people.
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Postby Joe the white » May 20th, 2008, 5:19 am

angrydemon wrote:I was never really interested in origami until I learned about its full potential, and I'm sure it's the same way with most people.


I didn't know of origami outside of paper airplanes and the fortune teller(besides a swan and cobra I designed after someone tried to teach us a swan in 5th grade), yet I folded them often and enjoyed it. Its the magic of creating something from what others would call nothing. Its hard to be bored when you have a sheet of paper =p.

There is a lack of variety in interesting simple models for teaching. I like the traditional cicada, flapping bird, Paul Jackson's barking dog, the american jumping frog, and the waterbomb. They're not too hard, and hold interest in students.
Last edited by Joe the white on May 20th, 2008, 2:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby origami_8 » May 20th, 2008, 7:19 am

Oh, there is one thing you should also consider when teaching a class, school kids will probably already know the fortune teller. At least where I live this model is a usual thing to be folded in kindergarten, so something else would maybe be better.
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Postby chesslo » May 20th, 2008, 8:16 am

umm, ya maybe like a simple rose :wink:
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Postby paperz » May 20th, 2008, 12:32 pm

Its so wonderful that you are getting this opportunity. If you are planning on teaching two models, make one of them an action model...maybe the 'barking dog' or 'airplane' or a 'hat'. Kids are drawn to origami when they see a single paper turn into a flapping bird or hopping bunny!

Good Luck!
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Postby bethnor » May 20th, 2008, 1:42 pm

Joseph Wu wrote:I never have problems with kids wanting to learn the complex stuff. Certainly, they want to, but then I explain that they need to learn the basics first. If that doesn't work, I talk to them about the amount of time required.


I do try that, but some kids will pout anyway. Not all kids, not even most, but certainly some did.[/b]
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