I'm actually doing that now, although not along the lines of origami. (I'll be using Durer's Rhinoceros as an exemplar after the lesson.)
We spend time doing technique sheets (layering, fringing, simplified pop-outs, ribbon curls, scoring).
I'll read them a description of an animal that's ambiguous enough to let them use their imagination. They have to place their animal in its environment. They then create the animal and environment using white-on-white.
Back to portfolio writing!
>> I am sure some of you teach paper folding as a way to learn INVENTION rather than as following patterns in order to produce crafts products? Would you mind sharing your methods? Maybe others would give it a try. I believe children would be the richer for it.