FAMILY HOLIDAY TRADITIONS – Bookmaking, Shape, Contrast

Students use construction paper to create a special, house-shaped book. Then they use Model Magic to create hanging ornaments to insert in the pockets of the book. They use the book to write about a family holiday tradition.

Required Time

180 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 1 to Grade 5


Language Arts
Social Studies
Visual Arts



Crayola Model Magic Classpack - assorted colours Crayola Scissors Crayola Washable No-Run School Glue Crayola Glitter Glue Crayola Fine Line Markers - 12 Count Crayola Construction Paper - assorted colours Copy Paper Embellishments Bamboo Skewers Ribbon Pencils Small Googly Eyes Heavy Weight Construction Paper - 30.5 cm x 45.7 cm (12" x 18") Rulers

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FAMILY HOLIDAY TRADITIONS – Bookmaking, Shape, Contrast - Step One

Step One


  1. Choose the colour of paper you want to use for your house.
  2. Follow the instructions to make the book. (Downloads - HouseBook.pdf)
FAMILY HOLIDAY TRADITIONS – Bookmaking, Shape, Contrast - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Flatten the paper and fold it in half to make the book.
FAMILY HOLIDAY TRADITIONS – Bookmaking, Shape, Contrast - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Place a thin line of glue along the bottom and the open side edge inside the page with the cutout triangle to make a pouch.
  2. Do not put glue along the edges of the cutout trinagle.
FAMILY HOLIDAY TRADITIONS – Bookmaking, Shape, Contrast - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Press the paper together firmly to create a small pouch.
  2. Repeat with the other cutout triangle page.
FAMILY HOLIDAY TRADITIONS – Bookmaking, Shape, Contrast - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Glue writing paper on the book pages and write your story on them.
  2. Decorate the cover.
FAMILY HOLIDAY TRADITIONS – Bookmaking, Shape, Contrast - Step Six

Step Six


  1. Decide what shapes you want to make into hanging ornaments to include in your book.
  2. Mix primary colours of Model Magic to create the colours you need for your shapes.
    - red + yellow + blue = brown
    - red + blue = violet
    - red + yellow = orange
    - blue + yellow = green
    - add white ot a colour to make it lighter
FAMILY HOLIDAY TRADITIONS – Bookmaking, Shape, Contrast - Step Seven

Step Seven

  1. Use a rolling pin, the barrel of a marker, or a dowel to roll the Model Magic out smooth and flat.
  2. Make your own shapes or use cookie cutters to cut out 2 shapes.
FAMILY HOLIDAY TRADITIONS – Bookmaking, Shape, Contrast - Step Eight

Step Eight

  1. Use a bamboo skewer to make small holes at the top of the shapes.
  2. Decorate the shapes with more Model Magic.
  3. Allow them to dry for 2 days.
  4. Insert a ribbon or string into the hole and tie it in a loop
FAMILY HOLIDAY TRADITIONS – Bookmaking, Shape, Contrast - Step Nine

Step Nine

  1. Place a Model Magic hanging ornament in each pouch.
  2. Give the book to someone special.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • create a house-shaped book from a single sheet of paper;
  • create 2 small Model Magic ornaments to complement a story they have written;
  • use contrast to create areas of emphasis;
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment; 
  • support their ideas with evidence found in the artworks.


Have students:

  • explore simple bookmaking techniques such as the Polygon Shaped Mini Foldout Books available on this website;
  • use their handmade books to write a variety of stories or poems about things that are important to them;
  • share their work with others.


  1. Gather the materials required for this lesson.
  2. Create a sample book without decoration.
  3. Gather and make available books about family holiday traditions and gift giving in general, for example, The Book of New Family Traditions (Revised and Updated): How to Create Great Rituals for Holidays and Every Day, by Meg Cox; Family Pictures, by Carmen Garza; An Orange for Frankie, by Patricia Polacco; The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree: An Appalachian Story, by Gloria Houstonl; Thanking the Moon: Celebrating the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, by Grace Lin; A New Year's Reunion: A Chinese Story, by Yu Li-Qiong
  4. Prior to this lesson:
    - Read a story about family traditions and share some experiences children have had. 
    - Make a chart list of characterisitics of traditions. For example, we learn traditions by participating in them; traditions involve sharing time and experiences with others; there may be special symbols associated with different traditions; traditions involve doing things in a special way; some traditions are passed down from one generation to another; some traditions involve the giving of gifts.
  5. Discuss gift giving in general. Why and when do we give gifts? How do we choose the gifts we give? What are some of their favourite gifts? 
  6. Have students write a story about their favourite family holiday tradition.


  1. Review the ideas discussed earlier about traditions and gifts. 
  2. Have some students share their stories about traditions and discuss key elements of the story. 
  3. Show students the house shaped book and talk about how it might be decorated inside and out to match the story.
    In this example it is a gingerbread house, what else could it be? 
  4. Discuss what kind of ornament would best complement the story.
    In this example it is gingerbread cookies, what else could it be?
  5. Introduce the challenge.


The Challenge

  1. Create a house-shaped book from a single sheet of paper.
  2. Create 2 small Model Magic ornaments to complement a story you have written.
  3. Use contrast to create areas of emphasis.
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment.
  5. Support your ideas with evidence found in the works.

The Process

  1. Make sure everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    - house-shaped book is accurately made from one sheet of paper
    - decorations match the story
    - contrast creates areas of emphasis
    - Model Magic ornament matches the story
    - book in good condition
    - story is neatly printed inside the book
  3. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  4. Encourage students to think of how they can use contrast to create areas of emphasis.
  5. Observe students as they work. 
  6. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.


  1. Once all the books are complete ask students to share them in partners or small groups. 
    Ask them to:
    Look closely at the designs and how they are made.
    - Share thoughts about the work.
    - Talk about how the designs match the story.

    - Explain why the symbol they chose can be called a cultural symbol, and why they chose it.
    - Tell what was satisfying about making the book and ornament and explain why.
  2. Ask some students to share their ideas with the whole class.
  3. Display the house-shaped books as if they are on a street.
  4. Provide time for students to read each others' books.


  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting.
  2. Observe students as they discuss their books – speaks with a clear voice, looks at audience while speaking, points to areas in the book and ornament, provides accurate information, answers questions from the audience effectively.
  3. Observe students as they listen – looks at presenter, asks effective questions, supports ideas with evidence found in the artwork.
  4. Use a checklist to track progress. (Download - Traditions_tracking.pdf)
  5. Have students use the self-assessment form to reflect on their work. (Download - Book_self-assessment.pdf)