ENVELOPE BOOK – Story Elements, Printmaking, Pattern

Students create an illustrated, accordion-folded, envelope book to store and organize information about five story elements.

Required Time

120 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 3 to Grade 6


Language Arts
Visual Arts



Crayola Broad Tip Markers, 16 Count Crayola Washable Glue Sticks Small Envelopes - 5 per student Small Pieces of Sponge, 3 cm x 3 cm (2" x 2") - 1 per student Water Containers Paper Towels Overhead Transparencies or Poly File Folders Masking Tape Ribbon

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ENVELOPE BOOK – Story Elements, Printmaking, Pattern - Step One

Step One

  1. Spread glue on the inside flap of one envelope.
  2. Make sure the glue goes over the whole flap and stops at the crease.
  3. Hold another envelope front side facing down.
  4. Place it onto the glued flap so that it lines up with the crease. 
  5. Glue all 5 envelopes together.
ENVELOPE BOOK – Story Elements, Printmaking, Pattern - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Tape the small piece of plastic to the back of one of the envelopes.
  2. Draw lots of colour on the plastic with the flat side of the marker. 
  3. Wet the sponge with a small amount of water and then squeeze most of the water out. 
  4. Drag the dampened sponge through the marker and onto the envelope. 
  5. Continue in this way until the whole envelope is filled with colour.  
ENVELOPE BOOK – Story Elements, Printmaking, Pattern - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Gently remove the plastic from the envelope.
  2. You have made a stencil print.
  3. Continue in this way until all the envelopes are filled with colour.
ENVELOPE BOOK – Story Elements, Printmaking, Pattern - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Turn the envelopes over.
  2. Use the small piece of plastic as a palette.
  3. Draw lots of marker onto the plastic.
  4. Dampen a sponge and dab it into the marker ink.
  5. Paint the envelopes with the sponge.
  6. Use lots of different colours.
ENVELOPE BOOK – Story Elements, Printmaking, Pattern - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Write the title of a different story element on each envelope.
    - Characters
    - Setting
    - Problem
    - Solution
    - Events
  2. Use line and colour to draw a picture that illustrates each element.
  3. Frame each rectangle with a different border pattern. 
ENVELOPE BOOK – Story Elements, Printmaking, Pattern - Step Six

Step Six

  1. Fold the pages accordion style.
  2. Make the first envelope with the flap the cover of your book.
  3. Cut a piece of ribbon long enough to wrap around the folded stack of envelopes and across the flap.
  4. Glue the ribbon across the top envelope and flap at right angles to the bottom of the envelope. 
ENVELOPE BOOK – Story Elements, Printmaking, Pattern - Step Seven

Step Seven

  1. Use the ribbon to tie the book together.
  2. Place written information about your stories inside each envelope.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • create an envelope book to organize 5 different story elements;
  • create stencil prints using marker and water;
  • create 5 different border patterns around titles;
  • identify and illustrate five story elements; 
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.


Have students:

  • use the envelope book to organize components of their original stories;
  • work with a peer to combine components from their envelope books to create a new story;
  • share their stories with the class.


  1. Prior to this lesson you may want to have students explore markers using the Marker Plus Water Technique lesson plan available on this website.
  2. Have students practice analyzing stories to determine their elements. 
  3. Develop working definitions of five story elements, for example,
    - Characters - The people and/or animals in the story
    - Setting - Where and when the story takes place 
    - Problem - What went wrong
    - Solution - How did they fix the problem
    - Events - Beginning, Middle, End 
  4. Download the Line and Colour posters available on this website.
  5. Make a sample envelope book.


  1. Review the five elements of a story and write the titles on a chart paper.
  2. Provide students with small pieces of paper that will fit inside the envelopes used in your book.
  3. Have students listen to a story such as Carla's Sandwich, read by Allison Janney at Storyline Online.
  4. Ask students to identify different elements of the story as it is being read.
  5. From time to time, pause the story and ask students to fill in information for an element on one of the pieces of paper. 
  6. Show students your sample envelope book and how it can be used to organize story elements.
  7. Invite students to place their information in the appropriate envelope.
  8. Discuss how they might illustrate and title each envelope using line and colour.
  9. Introduce the challenge.


The Challenge

  1. Create an envelope book to organize 5 different story elements.
  2. Create stencil prints using marker and water. 
  3. Create 5 different border patterns around titles.
  4. Identify and illustrate five story elements.
  5. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.

The Process

  1. Make sure everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    - accordion-folds are smooth and flat
    - envelopes are carefully glued together
    - stencil prints allow titles to stand out clearly
    - border patterns are different for each title
    - drawings use line and colour effectively
    - illustrations suit the titles
    - finished envelope book is in good condition
  3. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  4. Observe students as they work. 
  5. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.


  1. Place students into small groups. 
  2. Ask them to: 
    - Share their work and discuss the things that are especially effective and why.
    - Talk about what they found satisfying about doing this project.
    - Talk about what was difficult about doing this project and how they solved the problem?
    - Talk about how they might use what they learned in a different way.
  3. Share ideas with the whole class. 


  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting
  2. Observe students as they discuss the art works – active listening, insightful contributions, supporting ideas with evidence found in the artwork and from personal experience.
  3. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads – Book_tracking.pdf)
  4. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Downloads – Book_self-assessment.pdf)