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Everyday is a day to be thankful!
I do a personal gratitude practice and, when the opportunity presents itself, with the kiddos when I substitute teach.  I do a variation of this for myself and the kiddos which I will share another time. This particular idea is for any gathering.  It's a wonderful craft/"craftivity" for the kiddos and the grownups in the household as they wait for the meal to be put on the table.  They can also make them ahead of time and decorate them while they wait.  I have taught this model to 5 year olds, but 6 and 7 year olds can do it independently. Big kids and grown ups love making these as well.  Once they learn how to make these, they want to make LOTS of them. They stack well inside each other so they won't fill EVERY room of the house.  You might want to use plain white paper so they could have some for different seasons.
Wouldn't they love to help decorate the table? 

Begin with a square piece of paper.  I have used a 6"x 6" piece of craft paper .  This is a great way to recycle brown paper bags.  You can use gift wrap, parchment paper, waxed paper, computer paper or origami paper...to name just a few.  Newspaper or junk mail work will work as well...oh the possibilities. This particular model is simple enough that construction paper will also work.  As I mentioned earlier, plain white printer paper works well and can be decorated for any season or gathering.  They WILL want to make LOTS of these once they get started.
For the free downloadable diagrams and "mindful folding" experience visit https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Mary-Schoolcraft-Saunders  
 The diagram page makes a fun coloring page as well.  For those of you who are not familiar with Teachers Pay Teachers, it is like an etsy store for teachers.  You don't have to be a teacher (but I think we are all teachers of something) to join...it's free and there is some cool clip art over there for you planners and scrapbookers.  There is also a link above to get to my store.

This is a wonderful "Gathering" activity. Decorate the Thank You pocket individually or as a group.  Each person in the "gathering" can make his/her own or one large one can be made for the group.  As I mentioned earlier, maybe small hands would like to make one for each guest and place at each place setting  or in a container at the buffet for each person to pick up with their plates.  You can also do this after the meal. Provide strips of paper and writing supplies (crayons are always fun).  Have each person write things for which they are thankful.  Remember...EVERY DAY is a day for THANKSGIVING!

"Thankful" "Thank You!" "Gratitude" "Appreciation"... similar words with a little variation in meaning.  Try them all on for size.

    I hope you enjoy this offering.  This is such a delightful model. I enjoy exploring its various possibilities. I would love to hear from you and see pictures of how you use this and make it your own.

      May you have a day full of gratitude each and every day.  THANK YOU! for visiting.



Mindful: Aware   Attentive


Mindfulness: The process of bringing one's attention to the experience of the present moment

This is where my mind has been over the past few days.  I have been exploring mindfulness.  There are many definitions and aspects to it. It is an intriguing adventure of exploration and discovery. I love words.  I love exploring their meanings through definition and through my own reflections. When I revisit a word or an idea at different times in my life, I see it in a new way. My relatively recent interest and intrigue with hand lettering has provided a whole new dimension to words. Then there is the abundant selection of fonts on the computer.  Hmmm my mind seems to be wandering...meandering... rather than being mindful.


About 18 years ago my award winning, self-published version of "Spread Your Wings and Fly" arrived at my home.

 About a year after that, the Bear Cub version arrived. A publisher picked it up for which I am so thankful. They published it with a few variations.

There is an opportunity over on Amazon to get a sneak peek inside to "sample" it.  You can see the beautiful fine art illustrations and read some of it.  I think you can even read some of the forward to get a bit of its background. 

The marketing or as I prefer to call it "sharing" of this book has been a bit of a challenge.  I have always considered this a picture book for ALL ages.  However, since it is a picture book, many think it is just for children.  It is also an activity book and an inspirational book. On which shelf of the bookstore should it be displayed?  I say Arts and Crafts, Inspirational, Personal Growth and in various areas of the Children's section, but I am not the book seller. Over the years I have been honing a description of "Spread Your Wings and Fly" For a while now I have summarized it by saying "It is the story of life told with a piece of paper.  The story unfolds as a piece of paper folds into a beautiful flapping bird.  Life with all of its ups and downs is beautiful. Whether or not one chooses to fold, one may be delighted by the illustrations and the story."  Sometimes writing about a book takes as much or more thought than writing the actual book.

With my focus on mindfulness recently it occurred to me that since "Spread Your Wings and Fly" is a "Fold and Tell", it IS an EXPERIENCE of mindfulness in the reading of it as well as the actual folding activity.  The mindfulness movement wasn't as "mainstream" when the book first published.  I am now sharing another aspect of this book in the hope that many will accept the invitation to discover and explore it.

I became mindful that my offerings in my Teacher Pay Teachers store are also "mindful exercises".  I am revisiting the cup and playing with some ideas in regard to this delightful "warm up" model. A visit to my Instagram feed will give some clues.

When I realized that "Fold and Tell" is just another way of saying "Mindful Folding", I also began to see "marketing" as a way of presenting, sharing and gift wrapping.  Just looking at things in a different way can provide an opportunity to be mindful and embrace the experience in a new, beautiful and challenging way.

I invite you to experience "Spread Your Wings and Fly" as an invitation to "mindful folding".  I do have autographed copies available with bonus gifts.  Let me know if you are interested.

I love to pair origami with literacy. Beautiful book with beautiful message. <a class="pintag searchlink" data-query="%23teachersfollowteachers" data-type="hashtag" href="/search/?q=%23teachersfollowteachers&rs=hashtag" rel="nofollow" title="#teachersfollowteachers search Pinterest">#teachersfollowteachers</a> <a class="pintag searchlink" data-query="%23THM" data-type="hashtag" href="/search/?q=%23THM&rs=hashtag" rel="nofollow" title="#THM search Pinterest">#THM</a> <a class="pintag searchlink" data-query="%23teachersofinstagram" data-type="hashtag" href="/search/?q=%23teachersofinstagram&rs=hashtag" rel="nofollow" title="#teachersofinstagram search Pinterest">#teachersofinstagram</a> <a class="pintag" href="/explore/teacher/" title="#teacher explore Pinterest">#teacher</a> <a class="pintag searchlink" data-query="%23bulletinboard" data-type="hashtag" href="/search/?q=%23bulletinboard&rs=hashtag" rel="nofollow" title="#bulletinboard search Pinterest">#bulletinboard</a> <a class="pintag" href="/explore/origami/" title="#origami explore Pinterest">#origami</a> <a class="pintag searchlink" data-query="%23origamiandliteracy" data-type="hashtag" href="/search/?q=%23origamiandliteracy&rs=hashtag" rel="nofollow" title="#origamiandliteracy search Pinterest">#origamiandliteracy</a>
I am in the process of updating a reading and activity list I share at literacy workshops and professional development opportunities.  I thought it might be helpful to share as I go.  I have really enjoyed sharing on instagram and seeing how many resonate with the books and want to "have a go" with the origami.


The hands lead the way to learning.    – Aristotle

Story :   The Blessing Cup by Patricia Polacco

The Blessing Cup

Model:  Traditional paper cup


Allow each child to make a paper cup, pour water in each one and drink. (Note: for children younger than 6 years old, provide prefolded models that the children can decorate with crayons, markers, stickers etc.

Make paper cups of different sizes and colors.
Talk about the differences. 
Ask, “ Do you have a favorite one or do you like them all the same?
Tell me more about that.”
The cup is a simple model with great return of engagement and student centered and student generated activities.  These include counting, sorting, colors, patterns, numbers, etc.

I would love to hear and see of your experiences with this idea.

You can find the diagrams, my fold-and-tell, and detailed activities for the paper cup in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.  Just click on the shopping cart.

Student engagement is a hot topic now and ever important.  Not only is this automatic with origami because of the nature of origami, but it is also paper engineering...a facet of STEM! Math, science, vocabulary, art are also present automatically.
I have made some periscopes (@schoolsaunders ) you can get to with Twitter.
 Just copy and paste above link in the search bar.
I have a few little (rough cut) origami lessons.  You will find a few variations using this model.  It can also be a CONTAINER and PICTURE FRAME and/or MESSAGE HOLDER. I am learning to do periscope and have been encouraged by Jen Jones of Hello Literacy to "come as I am...natural and authentic" and be #redbarbrave.  You will definitely see the unpolished, but CONTENT rich version.

I am showing you this particular model because it is ALREADY in the school culture and has been for many, many, many (you get the gist) years.  I was taught by another student when I was in 3rd grade (long, long ago and far, far away).  So heads up 3rd grade teachers.  These seem to appear out of nowhere in the Spring so get ready.  How many have you already "relocated" in previous years of teaching?  I would really like to know as this is an ongoing research topic for me.  This is a great opportunity handed to you (literally) by your students.  It is engaging, student-centered and student-generated.
Have your students come up with suggestions about turning them into a lesson.

Here is a suggestion that I share in my periscope link above:

Turn the fortune teller upside down and you have a container.
Ask students,"What can this hold?" (paperclips, erasers, candy etc)  This is actually an ancient and traditional origami model called the "salt cellar".  It has been used to hold salt.  Oh here is an opportunity for some research with a potential "Genius Hour" project.  

Pop over to my "scope" to see how to transform this same model into a picture frame and/or message holder.  

Please keep in touch and share your experience this. As I said this opportunity is literally handed to you by your students.  

P.S.  Thank you for your compassion in regard to my "rough cuts" with periscope and my blogs.  I am still learning.

... Cootie Catchers, Diy Crafts, Fold Fortune Teller, Catchers How To
Hello dear teachers,
I still have class sets available. Purchase the yellow cover copy of "Spread Your Wings and Fly". Then all you need to do is contact me and share how you shared it on social media.
Let me know how many are in your class.  All you need to pay is shipping and handling.  We'll discuss the particulars when you contact me. You will then receive copies of the award winning (Writers Digest) first edition purple copies.

Teachers have used this book in their art centers and made available in their classroom libraries.

Another teacher shared that she uses it for #growthmindset and to teach figurative language.

Although this is a picture book, it is for ALL AGES: children and adults.

Whether or not you choose to fold the flapping bird model, you will be inspired by the fold and tell story.

Before I even thought this would be a book, I did a storytelling/fold and tell presentation of "Spread Your Wings and Fly" to a group of senior citizens.  After my presentation, a woman came up to me and said, " What you did with the paper was nice, but I REALLY LIKED that story".  That is when I knew that this would be a story that could fly on it's own.

                                                                             Creatively yours,

#wings16  Will you help me relaunch this book?
I would appreciate your sharing it out on any and all social media.
                                  THANK YOU!
Did you know I am also on Twitter @schoolsaunders 
Hello. I am making this offer while supplies last. Purchase "yellow cover" of "Spread Your Wings and Fly" from your favorite bookstore, Amazon...wherever you buy books. Tweet a photo of it in your classroom and on any other social media. Then for just the cost of shipping ($20) you will receive 36 signed copies of first edition, award winning (Writer's Digest Self Publishing) "purple cover" "Spread Your Wings and Fly". I look forward to hearing from you.
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