Inspiration for lessons can come from anywhere. I came across this book in Anthropologie a few months ago and I was instantly attracted to the patterns and bright colors.
I looked at the artists website www.idealbookshelf.com and saw many different examples of these cool "still lives" which are really more like portraits because you can tell so much about a person by the books they choose. I decided this would be a great project for our sixth graders who follow and identity theme.
I tried a sample done in watercolor and ink but I thought it might be too difficult for the students. Instead each student used various strips of colored paper, used pen and markers for the lettering and markers or Prismacolors for the designs. I thought it was much more successful this way and it took less time because the strips were precut. They were also able to arrange and rearrange the strips to help with their composition.
I collaborated with the librarians who taught a lesson about the 100 most influential books of all time and we both taught a little about typography and what different fonts can tell you about a book. Students chose anywhere from 4-10 books and sketched while they were in library. Then they could use their sketches or redesign the book spine to look different if they wanted.
To finish up students glued their finished strips to a big piece of white paper (I had lightly drawn ruler lines already drawn along the bottom) and then they outlined with black marker and signed their name.
It was a great way to incorporate reading and it was great seeing what the kids are reading.
Here are some student examples: