Foldin', Foldin', Foldin'...

Monday, August 4, 2014
Folded by Lori

Take one look at my house and you know I'm not talking about laundry! 

Welcome to our latest series featuring our favorite foldables! We often joke that the crux of our instruction rests on colored paper and origami, but there is a little bit of truth to that. Foldables are engaging and student-centered because you can help students organize their thinking without a worksheet or a handout. Typically, once kids have made something, they have more ownership of it. 

Our first foldable fave involves just three simple folds, and can be used in at least 3 different ways. But really, the possibilities are endless!

The Four Corners Foldable 

  • Fold your paper, short edge to short edge (hamburger).
  • Keep that fold, and then fold the long edges together (hotdog).
  • You should have 4 equal panels. 
  • Keep it folded. Take the center and fold a good-sized notch. 
  • When you open it, you have 4 equal panels plus a nice diamond in the center.

I'm so embarrassed by my white paper. Just pretend it's a vibrant green. like a Skittle.

Foldables Must Be Functional!

Pre-teach Vocabulary or Analyze Theme: Place a word in the center that will be important for your lesson that day. You can do this with your SAT words as a true vocabulary strategy, but this also works well for theme analysis. For example, Chapter 10 of To Kill a Mockingbird to explores the notion of courage. Students would write "COURAGE" in the center. The remaining panels are filled out accordingly.
  • Definition--Doesn't necessarily have to be from the dictionary.
  • Defining Traits--What is necessary to have courage? If you're working with a theme, this is a nice place to cite some evidence.
  • Non-examples--It's helpful to think of what something isn't. For example, courage is not avoiding a friend you are angry with. For teens, you have to put a cap on this because they'll say ridiculous stuff like, "courage is not a taco." Genius. Thank you.
  • Examples--What is it? Courage is standing up for a belief. 
Analyze Tone: When I taught Pre-AP, this was my favorite analysis tool. We would label the 4 panels as follows:
  • Diction
  • Syntax
  • Figurative Language
  • Imagery
Sometimes, I would give students the tone word and they would have to find the appropriate devices and evidence to prove it. Other times, I would leave it wide open to interpretation and see what they would determine for tone.

4-Corner Jigsaw: Listening and summarizing are tricky skills that are even trickier to effectively build into your lessons. With this strategy, students are grouped into 4s. Label the 4 panels with each student's name. There is a silent component where they read and respond to something that you need them to think about. Keep it short. When students are done, they summarize their section in their panel. Then students share what they read while the listeners take notes. In the center section, students individually put together all of the components for a comprehensive summary.

Try building this into your lesson plans early on this school year. 

Check back tomorrow for more folding frenzy!


  1. It's time to break out my notebook and start "borrowing" again! I have PD most of this week, and go back on 8/15. I READ like a mad woman all summer long - mostly for enjoyment, but now, it is time to get the instructional juices flowing! I want this year to be the best year yet for my students, and I can't wait to help them see the wonder of THINKING!

    1. Teresa, we're so glad to have you back! School is approaching too soon, but I'm excited to hear that you're so ready for it. Keep keeping in touch!