Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Notebook Pop Up Mary Shrine

My students are no stranger to Mary.  She is present in our classroom, school, and church.  She is part of our prayers, and we learned a lot about her as we studied our classroom Saint Maximilian Kolbe.
However, we started studying Mary a little more through the lens of Fulton Sheen's Life.  You can read about the beginning of that journey here.

I have spent quite a lot of time talking with my kids about intercessory prayer- that we can ask the Saints and Mary to pray for us as they are present before the throne of God in heaven.  We ask our friends on earth to pray for us, so why can we not ask our friends in heaven?  Of course, if you want to get into a deeper apologetic discussion, there are many Scripture references, and documents of the Church Fathers, and types in the Bible that I could talk about, but that is not the goal of this post.  (However, if you are curious, here is a quick answer, a video, and an article)  I just want to show you the awesome Marian shrine that we made.

So you can go and "visit" Mary in a church, right?  And ask for her intercession, and light a candle to leave your prayer "burning"... why not give kids the chance to create that environment in a way that they can take it with them anywhere.
We created this pop up Marian shrine complete with a statue of Mary, candles to light, roses to leave, and new prayers to use, all on a two page spread of a notebook.

Ok, steps, lots of steps.  It really wasn't that complicated to make, but pictures helped, so bear with me for the long post to scroll through.

Step 1: Find, print, and color a statue of Mary about 8" high.  You could use any picture of Mary, or appeal to a certain devotion, like to Our Lady of Guadalupe.

This Mary statue was found here.
Step 2: Cut out Mary in a shape that looks something like the one above.  You  need about 2-3 inches on each side of Mary toward the bottom of the paper for this to work.

Step 3: Fold 1 inch tabs on each side toward the middle of the picture like above.  Then, fold Mary in half vertically with the picture on the inside.  Then fold each edge of the paper toward the middle.
When you unfold Mary and lay the picture face down, it should look like this. 
Step 4:  Flip Mary over, and center her over the spine of your notebook.  Hold so that she is level and the folded sides are perpendicular to the pages of the notebook.  Tape down the tabs on either side, which should look something like this:
If you slightly close the notebook, like to prop it open, she pops out even more.  Next, you need to "coach" the statue so that it will fold in on itself when the notebook closes, and not just get squished.
As you slowly close the notebook, use your hand to make sure that it folds in the middle and lays flat in between the notebook pages.  It should pop right back out when the notebook is opened.
Step 5: Color the candles and roses page and cut out. (FYI- don't have the kids cut on the lines around the roses.  Just cut out in rough ovals like below.)
Step 6: Create the instructions and storage envelope for the candles and roses. The envelope is  a "coin" envelope from a box of donated supplies a friend gave me.  Give me donated office supplies, and I promise you they will be put to use.
Here is the link to the printable for the candles and roses:
Step 7: Make a flip book for some favorite Marian Prayers to have handy. Start with two sheets of 8 1/2" x 5 1/2" paper, two colors if you have it.
Fold one in half short end to short end ("bathtub" or "hamburger" style), but leave 1/2-3/4 of an inch between the edges.
Lay the next piece of paper over top, giving the same amount of space between the edges.
Fold it around the back.
And you end up with a four page flip book with evenly spaced flaps.  You can either tape the pieces together or add a couple of staples along the edge.
Step 8: Print and cut out the favorite Marian prayers.  Link to printable here:

The tiny strips go on the outside tabs so that you can find the prayers.
Order doesn't matter so much, except some are wider than others, so make sure to test for fit before gluing down.
There is even a spot for a self composed prayer to Mary.
Step 9: Glue the flip book on the opposite side of the candles envelope.
Step 10: Prop open your Marian Shrine and add candles and roses as you ask Mary to intercede for you!


  1. I saw somewhere in one of your blogs that you use Sadlier, We Believe in your classes.How much do you use the book and for what? How do you get everything in during the year when you use so much outside material? I am a second grade teacher, using We Believe and have a hard time deciding when to use the book and when to do my own thing. Any help? Gail Clarke Bellbrook, Ohio

    1. I understand never having enough time! We do use Sadlier's We Believe. One advantage that I have over you is that I teach 5th Grade, so we can read a lot more content and move at a faster pace than a 2nd Grade Class. I am a firm believer that the textbook is a guide and a resource, and that a teacher or catechist should supplement or even substitute when necessary based on the needs of the specific group of kids. I also think that kids have to learn in different ways in order to retain and apply knowledge, and sometimes projects are a good way to do that. Here is a document I have used to show how there are many different approaches to teaching the same content:

      Does your Diocese have a set of Religion Curriculum Guidelines for you to follow? If so, maybe use those as your starting point. Decide what topics need to be covered using the book and what you could teach using a project. Other important lessons might involve reading, the chapter review WSs, as well as some kind of project.

      By the end of the year, I will have covered nearly every page in my textbook, but we will not necessarily read and discuss every page. Sometimes the chapters are read normally, sometimes they are a resource for another activity, and sometimes I take the content and weave it into another project. Take the Blessed Virgin Mary, for example. There is only one short chapter about her in our book. We read that, but then we also will do projects like the one above. We learn about her through our classroom patron Saint, St. Maximilian Kolbe, as well as through the teachings of Venerable Fulton Sheen. I will cover information about her at several times throughout the year.

      I also take advantage of weaving religion into other curriculum areas, including language arts, reading, and art especially. Some of the projects that I have posted about I am able to make time for because they are covering two or more content areas during some point of the project. That helps me save teaching time and allows for a little more creativity in lesson planning.

      I hope my long (sorry) response was helpful. If you have any more specific questions, let me know here, or you can email me at katherine (dot) bogner (at) gmail (dot) com. Many blessings on you and your second graders!

    2. Thanks, I was a secretary for Religious Ed. for 10 years. We used Sadlier and I love it. Now my husband and I are working with special needs children and I feel that the crafts will help them learn more. Thanks for the ideas. If you have anything Preschool to 2nd grade, it would be great for them. I am not creative but use crafts I find on catholic sites and they love it.

  2. Thank you! I will check the resource aand with the diocese and my RE director about a suggested curriculum and go from there.

  3. This is so great! Thank you for sharing it. I just started teaching 4th grade RE, and was looking for something to involve the kids more. This is perfec. We're using the "We Believe" series as well. I'm hoping I can squeeze in a little more than just the chapter. An hour and 45 minutes just doesn't seem to be enough time to get much done.

    1. Wow! At least you have an hour and 45 minutes- my program was excited to move up from an hour to and hour and 15 this year! I always try to split things up if I am having trouble fitting things in. Don't be afraid to do your "normal" lesson, and do part of a project like this- maybe all of the coloring, for example. Then the following week do another lesson and finish the assembly. I think continuing projects are good for learning and retaining information anyways- plus it makes the kids want to come back next week! Blessings on you and your 4th graders!

  4. Thank you so much for your copy pages. We are putting together a lap book of our Church and this adds so well to our section on our Blessed Lady.

  5. Thank you for the link credit to my Mary's Little Crowns blog for the Mary paper statue. I love your new idea for it! I now have it pinned as a great project for May!

    1. Hi Melissa! Thank YOU for providing such a beautiful Mary statue for others to use!

  6. Hi Katie, is there an updated link? This one doesn't seem to work:
    thanks you for sharing all you wonderful work!

    1. Hi! I tried to back track from that link in the comment above, and I am honestly not sure what resource I was directing them to since that comment was from ten years ago! ;) However, I'm guessing that it had to do with using the Multiple Intelligences as a springboard for differentiating classroom instruction, and I have a ton of blog posts on that. You can find them here: