Last year whem a group of us were involved in an altered book round
robin across the States, I decided to attempt itwith my fourth graders.
I approached the history of the altered book as a form of recycling
dated back to medieval times when monks would scrape off the ink from
the pages to try and re-use the precious vellum. I teach several types
of altering techniques to the students. We do much of our classroom
projects directly in our books. In our artful reading class, we used
our books as journals for personal writings and poetry. The books were
a statement about themselves. For example, each student had to bring in
memorbilia from home like photos, sports ribbons, old valentines, birth
announcement, etc. and they created collages about their life. They
drew self-portraits, name designs with all of their favorite things
listed inside the bubble letters (this was also a lesson on 3-D color
and they all made a pocket inside their books for a pair of 3-D
glasses). My student teacher took digital photos of each child and then
made two copies on the xerox on different colored paper. They altered
their portrait by cutting them into stips and weaving them together.
One of the artists we studied was Rembrandt. They wrote a poem about
The Man in the Golden Helmet and then illustrated it in their books.
These books were a big hit! There is a naughty feeling, permission to
go against the rules, when the kids first take a paintbruxh or pen to
the pages! This year's fourth grade just started their covers. I have
an excess of brown and black tissue paper. I took San D's suggestion and
had the kids start their covers first this year. The kids are
decoupaging torn wrinkled then flattened tissue paper to their covers.
The effect is like old shiny leather. They are having a ball!