Tuesday, October 2, 2012

In the Art Room: Packing Our Bags

Bags packed? Check. Passport and identification? Chickity check. Good. Let's blow this popsicle stand.
My mom can't sing but she likes to. She also only knows bits and pieces of songs. I remember this from when I was a kid. And every since we started creating these passports and suitcases, I find myself singing one of mom's song-bites: "I'm leavin' on a jet plane, don't know when I'll be back again...(repeat a good 5-6 times)."

And, that's all I got. Sorry 'bout that John Denver.
When I was passing back the kids' suitcases so they could start filling them with their masterpieces, one of them weighed it in his hand and said, "What did I pack in this thing, it is so heavy!" They so silly.
Each year, the kids create a portfolio to hold their small 9" X 12" artworks. These smaller works are usually sketches for their larger masterpieces. The bulk of their 2-D artwork is usually 12" X 18". These little folders come in handy when passing back a group of their sketches without riffling through their classroom's art box. 

This year, to go along with our travel theme, I decided that their portfolios should be suitcases. One with a pocket to hold their passport, of course. And with a luggage tag to I.D. the bags. Oh, and a handle to carry it around. Don't forget the travel stickers to show where we've been. Whew! It ended up being a larger project than I imaged...and one that really has captured their imagination and enthusiasm.
Remember my traveling companion Jes? Well, the kids and I have been having so much fun following his adventures in Paris. And I'm thrilled to say, he's just finished a lovely trip to Strasbourg, France. I love living vicariously through a stuffed tiger.
Our world traveling adventure has been enhanced by our Flat Stanley-esque school mascot, Jes, the little stuffed tiger. The kids and I are traveling the world through his eyes. He informed us by postcard that we'd need a passport in order to leave the country. So we began the school year by creating passports. We also created a school-wide self-portrait map so we could see just where in the world we were going.
To create these simple passports, you'll need the following:

  • navy blue construction paper
  • light blue copy paper with the same information typed up that is inside of a passport. Scroll down to see what I'm talking about because I know I'm not making any sense.
  • a photo of every student
  • stamps of countries and black ink pad
  • passport stamp (optional). I picked mine up at this awesome etsy shop: stampoutonline
  • gold stamp pad
  • thin black sharpies
Yeah, have you EVER seen a customs agent smile? I need to work on my cranky "I hate you, go back to your own country" face.
After a nice long chat about passports, what a surname is versus a given name, nationalities and the meaning of  "date of birth" (if only it said "when's your birthday?", they'd get it so much faster), we were nearly finished. We signed the contract that is on each passport, added our photo and then made our way to Customs and Passport Control.
There each child stamped the cover of their passport.
And stamped the places they have traveled to. Because we learned about Egypt last year, we stamped that country as well as France.
A passport sneak peak.
This young artist is from New Zealand. She wanted to add that to her suitcase as apart of her travels. I love the kiwi bird.
Supplies for the suitcase portfolios:
  • 12" X 18" construction paper, folded for the suitcase
  • 5" X 6" construction paper for the pocket
  • strips of paper to help bind the pocket
  • two pieces of 5" X 6" paper for the handles
  • price tags found at an office supply store
  • shapies
  • glue
  1. Fold large construction paper in half. We added texture to our papers  by using rubbing plates and naked (aka paperless), sleeping (aka horizontal) crayons.
  2. Put glue on the sides and bottom of the rectangular shape and press onto the folded edge of the construction paper. While glue is drying, squeeze the sides of the paper together to create a pocket. Add the vertical lines on the sides of the pocket to secure. 
  3. Pick any color for the handle. Fold those two papers in half, create a half handle shape and cut out. Glue one handle on the inside front and the inside back of the suitcase.
  4. Add luggage tag.
  5. Round corners of the suitcase if desired.
  6. Use the other elements of art to create your travel sticker.
So love this sweet, carefully drawn travel sticker.
And there you have it, bags packed, ready to go! Our French adventures have already begun, complete with pink poodles and an introduction to a foreign language. More details on our projects to come. Until then, we're leavin' on a jet plane (and I'm off to find out the rest of the lyrics to that song!).


  1. This is just the cutest ever!

  2. I think you are a gifted teacher and that your pupils are very lucky. Brilliant work.

  3. I WISH you had been my art teacher. Your classes just sound like pure awesomeness.

  4. Cassie! This suitcase project is ADORABLE!! Love love love it!

  5. Thanks so much for this! I have been trying to figure out how to make a passport...thanks so much for the link to the etsy shop. You are awesome!!

  6. Oh my goodness!!!! I am so excited about this post. I am a teacher at an IB school and it is all about Global Citizenship. I love it and I am totally using this in my classroom this year!

  7. I love this idea! Where did you get the stamps for each country?

  8. Hey this is awesome. I want to use/adapt it for my high school Spanish class! Where do I pick up one of those Passport embossing stamp things for the passport covers?


Thank you so much for your comments. I appreciate each and every one :)

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.