Altered books are a fun way to start the year, empower the student, and archive student learning. Teaching the five elements of geography (regions, place, movement, human/environment interaction, location) are exciting when they are used to create “Your Own Country” in your own altered book.
I bring in a selection of used books purchased cheaply and several rolls of duct tape in various colors. Each student selects their own book and is allowed to cover up to fifty percent of it with duct tape. The act of customizing their book is the first act of empowerment.
Each element of geography is individually taught and ends with an assignment to create appropriate evidence of learning in their altered book. During the course of the unit students archive their learning through: collage, drawing, worksheets, maps, and stamps. They are encouraged to cut out windows, fold edges/pages, and distress the book in various ways.