Afterschool Tinkering: Hardcover Journals


Lianna and I had facilitated our first Tinkering Club session of the year at Lighthouse Community Charter School. With an entire class filled with returning students, it’s safe to say that they are as excited about tinkering as we are!

We started with a project that has now become a tradition in Tinkering Club: journal making. We believe that journaling is very important to the tinkering process, and we always want students to have a journal during Tinkering Club. For some, this is their third journal that they have made with us. In the spring, we made cardstock notebooks and last fall, we made plastic fused journals.

Amy Dobras, one of the making teachers at Lighthouse and the head Lighthouse teacher for Tinkering Club this year, and Lianna explained the activity. This time, we wanted students to create hardbound, fabric journals. The reason we chose this type of journal was out of student desire to have a more permanent, substantial journal. We also believe that repeating activities with new material sets are valuable experiences in the learning process.

In making hardbound journals, we explored creating signatures, or bundles of folded pages that are attached together, by stapling or sewing folded pages together. The hard covers were created with chipboard and students attached their signature bundles to a narrow spine. The last step was to decorate their covers with fabric.





We’re looking forward to experimenting with different styles of journal entries and note taking throughout this semester!

This collaboration is funded by the Overdeck Foundation and the National Science Foundation.

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