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Response to Reading: Quadramas

Hi everyone! This is Shelley Gray from Teaching in the Early Years and I am thrilled to be a new author on Blog Hoppin'. I am so inspired by many of the fantastic bloggers here and I can't wait to get started! So, on that note, I would love to tell you about quadramas!

Quadramas are a fantastic classroom project, and if provided with appropriate scaffolding, young students are quite capable of creating them. I have personally used quadramas for many different subject areas, but they work particularly well as a reading response activity.

Below is an example of what a quadrama looks like. It is made up of four quadrants, each one summarizing a specific aspect of the topic. What makes quadramas really exciting for students is that they can become three-dimensional by adding pop-ups or other objects.

The picture below shows what a quadrama looks like from the top. Notice the four distinct quadrants.

To make quadramas with your students, simply follow the directions below.

Begin with four pieces of paper. Heavy paper such as manila tag is best, as it will stand better when finished. However, if you don't have heavy paper available to you, regular white copy paper will work.

Next, the paper needs to be cut into squares. To make a square out of a rectangular piece of paper, the easiest way is to fold it over like this:

and then cut off the excess like this:

Then, when the paper is unfolded, you will have a square piece with one diagonal crease:

Next, you will fold the paper the other way to create a second diagonal crease in the paper:

The next step is to make a cut on one of the creases. Note that the cut is only made from one corner of the paper to the center.

Next, put glue on the "triangle" that is to the left of the cut.

and fold the paper like this:

Once you press down the paper so that it sticks to the glue, you will have finished creating one of the quadrants of your quadrama!

Now, do the same thing to the other three pieces of paper so that you end up with four identical quadrants.

The quadrants can then be glued together to form the quadrama!

Then, students can decorate the quadrants based on your goals for the project.

Decorating and coloring the quadrants is easier to do before the quadrama is assembled. If you decide to have students decorate before assembly, get them to do it before the gluing stage. Pop-ups and three-dimensional objects can be added after assembly.

As a response to literature, you may have the students base one quadrant on characters, one on setting, one on plot, and one on climax. Alternatively, you could ask students to choose their four favorite parts of the story and represent them using pictures and words in each quadrant. Encourage students to use real materials, such as cardboard, sticks or clay to create a three-dimensional feel.

The quadramas below were done as a culminating project for Social Studies, but you can see how each student used unique techniques to make the projects "their own."

As I mentioned earlier, scaffolding may be required depending on the grade that you teach. I have done quadramas with grades three and four students, and most were able to complete the steps alone. However, a volunteer can come in handy for the paper-folding steps. For lower grades, you may want to consider having several helpers on hand, or complete some steps before beginning. All in all, this is a fun, engaging project, whether used as a response to reading activity, or as something totally different!


  1. Oh I LOVE these as a reading response!! That is a fantastic idea! When I taught second grade, we made these for the biomes we studied, but I never thought to incorporate them into literature. Thanks for the idea!

  2. I have done these for rural, urban, and suburban areas! Love them so much! Thanks for the post!

    Third Grade Meanderings

  3. I love this idea! I am so gonna use these this year.

  4. Is it difficult to draw and color on these once they are assembled?

  5. Super cute!!! This would be great for so many different subjects! Kids love hands on projects.

  6. Brandy: Yes! Thank you for reminding me that I forgot an important step in this tutorial! It is possible to decorate the quadrants after it is assembled, but definitely much easier if you do it before the gluing step. I am going to add that tip in right now :) Thanks again! Have a great day!

    Teaching in the Early Years by Shelley Gray

  7. Thank you so much for this wonderful idea! If you don't mind I'm going to use in for a social studies project on Native Americans. If you would like you can see what I'm doing at my website...

    Again, thank you for sharing this!

  8. Matt, your website looks great. Thanks for including a link!

  9. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!!! This is a fabulous idea!!! I'm going to use this is my 8th grader who hates to write.

  10. I told myself I was making one as an example for my class....but that was a lie, I was making it because it looked like a lot of fun AND IT WAS! I'm 25 and this is what my kind of fun looks like. I cannot wait to share this with my students! THANK YOU!

  11. Love this idea. This is the perfect fun and motivating project for our last book report of the year! Thank you for the clear directions!

  12. thanks a lot!!! I'm so exited and can't wait Un make them and use them with my students. Greetings from Tacuarembó, Uruguay.

  13. Thanks for this... This is ideal for the story setting I'm about to start this week.
    Mr. W

  14. loving this idea for my storytelling class ... plus, pyramids provide great spiritual power to boot! Holistic education rulez the day... mind, body and soul