The Open Studio held in my artroom before school has a smaller crowd these days - weather is getting nicer so more students head straight for the playground nowadays. (The true measure of Fall in Phoenix is driving to work without the AC on.) That's okay - gives the rest of us a quiet space to do artmaking and gets our creative juices flowing.
A small group of boys that visit most days are enthralled with paper airplanes.
Last year, I used a rather grown-up paper airplane book that had fancy decorated papers included. Unfortunately, it was written on an adult level and the designs required more dexterity than little hands could manage. So I ended up making the planes during Open Studio & they ended up flying them. Not exactly what I had in mind...
This year, I started looking for more kid-friendly designs. Books are great but I knew I'd have several wanting to do the work at the same time so I turned to Pinterest for websites or blogs that could help me out. Bingo!
This site has well-written directions (functional/instructional text) and easy to follow diagrams showing the step-by-step process. My third graders occasionally stumble over a word (orient - to align or position) but for the most part are able to work completely independently.
They have mastered all the basic designs and are moving on to intermediate constructions. I make copies of the printed instructions which go in a binder on the activity counter. Basic plane directions are printed on white paper and placed in a page protector. Intermediate and advanced plans are printed on colored paper to distinguish the different levels. Copies of the airplane templates are kept in folders on my desk. I provide one at a time so there's very little waste.
I was thinking this would be a great whole class project for a sub but for now we'll develop our skills in small groups...