Communication – Pop-Up Book


Pop-Up Books

Grade Level

Elementary – Beginner


Through class discussion, the students will enumerate the many different words we use when greeting others.  An understanding of the variety of greeting words, of the meanings associated with them, and of nonverbal visual messages that accompany those words is essential in gaining a broader understanding of how we communicate with others. 

Students will create simple pop-up books using cardboard, construction paper, and other media and assembling pieces they have made based off words, actions, and emotions they have generated through class discussions. This will allow them to explore ideas from life experiences as sources for original works of art, demonstrating that we can use art to communicate abstract ideas.

Students will participate in an informal critique of their book jacket art work. Through critique the students will learn to talk about art, and to think more critically about their own art and art they see. This will in turn help them to be better artists and more visually aware.

Essential Questions

1. How do we communicate with other people?
2. How do we communicate without using words?


•   The student will be able to enumerate many different ways that we use to communicate when greeting each other.
•   The student will be able to use shape and color combined with text to symbolize a greeting.
•   The student will be able to use collage techniques and create meaning by adding details in an artwork.


The teacher should begin the lesson by asking the first Essential Question – “How do we communication with others?”  A follow-up question might be, “What are some examples of words we use when greeting others?”  List all of the answers in a “word bank” on the board to be used later in the lesson.

Next, the teacher will share a slideshow of iconic book cover images, found here.  Students will describe what they see and what they think each book is about.  After that the students will use pencils, crayons, black sharpies, and tempera paint to decorate two pieces each of corrugated cardboard (8.5″x5.5″) for their book jackets.  They may draw pictures, or paint patterns or any other non-representational imagery.  There are no requirements except that the pieces be completely covered.  Students should be encouraged to think about how they feel when they greet others and to express those feelings through the images they create.  

In the next part of the lesson, the teacher will share images of “comic book words” with the class.  The teacher should speak to the class about how the shapes and colors form different layers around the words.   Students will be asked what types of shapes or lines they see and how the comic book words make them feel.  After a demonstration by the teacher, students will use construction paper to create layered comic-book-style shapes.  They will then use foam letter stickers to spell out one of the greeting words from the word bank created at the beginning of the lesson.  They should create as many word-shape combinations as they have time for. 

After that, the students will take their painted book jacket pieces and “bind” them by glueing a single sheet of construction paper to the inside of both pieces and then covering the spine with another piece of thinner construction paper (3″x8.5″).  Before glueing in the paper, the students will  create three simple pop-up tabs by folding the paper in half and cutting parallel lines perpendicular to the folded edge.  Students will also use the letter stickers to decorate their book jackets or add titles if they wish. 

Next, the students will sit in a group on the floor while the teacher reads a book, Prairie Dogs Kiss and Lobsters Wave.  After finishing the book, the students will be asked the second Essential Question – “How do we communicate without using words?”  Students should be prompted to speak about different actions humans perform when they greet each other.  Create a new bank of ideas on the board full of these “greeting actions.”  Students will create paper symbols for these actions later in the lesson.

Before moving on to the next part, students will create a third bank of words relating to feelings or emotions.  Students will be asked about how they feel when they greet others.  All of the feelings will be listed on the board in a third word bank.  Then the students will continue working on the pieces for their greeting cards by creating symbols for greeting actions and greeting emotions using layered pieces of construction paper and glue. 

Next the students will participate in a short informal critique of the book jackets they have created.  The teacher will lead the critique, sharing one book jacket at a time.  The students will be asked to format their comments in one of three ways – “I Like…”, “I Wonder…” or as answer to the question, “What can we do to make it better?” 

In the final part of this lesson students will glue in their word art, greeting action, and greeting emotion pieces.  Each piece will be attached to the front of one of the pop-up tabs so that they are displayed when the book is open.  Each student will have at least one of each in their book.  Students should be allowed to decide where each piece should go, as long as they stay within the bounds of the book.  Once they have all of their pieces glued in they can continue being creative by adding to their pop-up books using collage techniques and any of the materials listed above. 

Guided Practice

What are some methods we use to communicate with others? Do we only use words? What are some other ways? What are some examples of words we use to greet others? How many can we list?  What words did you choose?  Why did you choose that word?  What colors did you choose?  Why did you choose those colors?  What are some actions we perform when greeting others?  What are some emotions we feel when greeting others?  What are some things you like about this artwork?  How can we make it better?


When ten minutes are left in class it is time to clean up.  After clean-up, when all the students are waiting quietly, use the Guided Practice questions to lead a brief discussion before ending class.


Guided Practice questions will be used as formative assessment during the lesson.  If the students are unable to answer these questions, then they will need to be rephrased or simplified in a way that allows the students to demonstrate that learning is taking place.  If a student is not clear on what they should be doing, the teacher will sit with them on an individual or small group basis and re-demonstrate the tasks that are required for the day’s lesson again until the student can confidently proceed.

The words banks and the art itself will serve as formative assessment.  The word banks will demonstrate the students’ ability to enumerate the different ways that we use to communicate when greeting each other.  Their finished pop-up books will demonstrate their ability to use collage techniques and create meaning by adding details in an artwork.


•  117.202 (c)(1)(A) – identify and illustrate concepts from direct observation, original sources, personal experiences, and communities;
•  117.202 (c)(1)(D) – discuss the expressive properties of artworks such as appropriation, meaning, narrative, message, and symbol using art vocabulary accurately.
•  117.202 (c)(2)(A) – create original artworks based on direct observations, original sources, personal experiences, and the community;
•  117.202 (c)(2)(B) – apply the art-making process to solve problems and generate design solutions
•  117.202 (c)(3)(B) – identify examples of art that convey universal themes 

National Art Standards

•  Anchor Standard #1. Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.
•  Anchor Standard #6. Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work.
•  Anchor Standard #8. Interpret intent and meaning in artistic work.
•  Anchor Standard #9. Apply criteria to evaluate artistic work.
•  Anchor Standard #10. Synthesize and relate knowledge and personal experiences to make art.