Guest Post: Learning through Origami and Storytelling


Learning through Origami and Storytelling


Origami is the topic this week. It’s fun, motivating and is great for all kinds of learning. Today’s post is written by Christine Petrell Kallevig. Christine is an author and professional storyteller who writes educational materials, children’s fiction and Storigami (story + origami). She also makes school presentations to students, plus professional workshops for teachers.

Even though Christine travels the globe folding paper and telling stories, she did not learn Japanese paper folding techniques until she’d already written two novels. Origami hit like a lightning bolt, though, and completely changed the direction of her creative work.

Please visit Christine’s website, StoryTimeInk, to find out more.


Skills Enhanced By Combining Origami and Storytelling

Listening All storytelling promotes listening skills. Paperfolding and other props add interest and grab attention, so that listeners are curious and motivated to pay even closer attention.

Right cerebral hemisphere visualization Listeners imagine the scenes described in the stories and understand the symbolic representations of the progressive origami folds. This skill is integral to successful problem solving and all creative endeavors. When a mother asked Albert Einstein how she should help her son become a scientist, he said, “Read him the fairy tales.” When she asked what came next, he said, “Then have him read them again.”

Left cerebral hemisphere logic and language comprehension Listeners understand the words of the story and the sequential paperfolding steps.

Multi-sensory, whole brain learning Visual, tactile, and auditory senses are all combined to provide the right and left hemispheres with input, resulting in efficient and effective learning.

Memory Short term memory is improved through paired associations (story events with folding steps) and multi-sensory presentations.

Fine motor Manipulating paper provides practice for manual dexterity and eye/hand coordination.

Spatial relationships Key components of paperfolding include concepts of direction (left, right, inside, outside, up, down, top, bottom), symmetry, and dimension.

Thinking/Problem solving (according to Bloom’s Hierarchy):

Knowledge Learning about origami, the story elements, recognizing shapes, etc.

Comprehension Understanding the relationship between the story and folding sequences, the motivations of the story characters, determining main ideas, etc.

Application Folding the origami model according to the correct sequence, teaching or helping others learn to fold the model, etc.

Analysis Comparing the story events to other situations, defining story elements, taking the origami models apart and rebuilding them, etc.

Synthesis Creating new origami models, writing new stories about the characters, inventing new ways to use the origami, etc.

Evaluation Deciding if the character did the right thing, determining reasons why the outcome was good or bad, explaining why the folding sequence works, etc.

Basic Subjects The stories can be used as part of units related to holidays, animals, social customs or skills, science principals, current events, etc.

Math Besides spatial concepts, origami also includes geometric shapes, angles, proportions, creating geometric solids, geometric concepts (perpendicular, parallel, intersect, bisect, vertex, apex line of symmetry, bilateral symmetry), fractions, measurement, and basic computations.

Social/Self-Concept Helping or teaching origami to others, the joy of achieving a new skill, group cooperation, and learning a positive new hobby are all important to creating a positive social climate.

Creativity Besides visualization and problem solving, new experiences generate new ideas!




Big thanks to Christine for this outstanding list. As I was researching books and information about origami, I knew it had great learning potential. I just didn’t realize how much!

Be sure to visit Christine’s website, StoryTimeInk, to find out even more.




One thought on “Guest Post: Learning through Origami and Storytelling

  1. Andre, I can just see the boys folding away. I LOVE the Origami Yoda series. It’s one of my favorite set of books for middle grade. I think Angleberger is a master.

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