An Origami Yoda Program Post (97% Free of Yodaspeak)

22 Jul


I have two approaches to developing programs for school-aged kids.  The first is the unprogramming/low-maintenance/self-directed, model which can be set up quickly and doesn’t necessarily have to follow a set schedule.  Making board games and puzzles available for anyone to use, or hosting an impromptu ‘Crafternoon’ where you set out a bunch of supplies and let your visitors have at it are examples of Approach #1.

Approach #2 involves coming up with a concept that will be a sure-fire draw, and then committing to whatever prep-work is needed to make the program a success .  I have a name for this type of programming, at least in my head.  Cue the sparkly letters, I call it…Dest ProgA destination program is the reason why most of your program participants visit the library that day.  It is an activity that gets penciled into the family calendar and doesn’t get crossed out.  We don’t offer these programs frequently as others, but when we do, we can count on a healthy turnout, which justifies the extra planning and prep-work we do to make the experience worth the trip.  By the way, I am totally jealous of you libraries who can schedule a craft or writing program or show a movie, and get at least 15 kids to show up.  That’s not my library.

Programs built around popular book series are obvious destination programs, and I try to do one every summer.  Earlier this year, a colleague gave me two gift copies of Art2-D2’s Guide to Folding and Drawing, and I immediately decided I would do an Origami Yoda program this summer and raffle off the books as door prizes.  The program happened last Tuesday, we had an attendance of 45, and it was a ton o’ fun!  Here’s the rundown…


I made posters of the three Origami Yoda books by printing out the covers using the color printer and gluing them together.  You can do this in Microsoft Publisher using the banner-making function.


I also set up a book display of Tom Angleberger’s series (I requested extra copies from our branches), and a few Star Wars books to boot.  I had no origami books last Tuesday!  Zero!

??????????????Finally, I  put together a Star Wars music mix, which because of a tech snafu, wouldn’t play as loudly as I wanted it to.  Luckily, a couple of super-fans helped make up for it by singing Darth Vader’s Imperial March (my personal favorite from my Star Wars soundtrack 8-track from back in the day) .  If you’re on Spotify, you can stream the entire playlist here.  Samples of most of the songs are  below.  Of course we ended with The Twist!

Professional Tip!  Before adding a non-children’s song to a program playlist, first Google, “Name of Song” + Lyrics.  Then read the lyrics and make sure nothing objectionable is there.  There’s no Fett’s Vette by MC Chris on my playlist!



I had three tables set up, Origami Yodas, Darth Papers, and Fortune Wookiies.  At the Yoda and Darth Paper tables, I put out printed instructions, pre-cut pieces of paper (including small strips for light sabers), markers to decorate them, and scotch tape.  In retrospect, I should have had both Yoda and Darth at the same tables, with different colors of paper assigned to each figure to prevent kids from using the wrong size.  There were too many people in in the room to make circulating comfortable.  At the Fortune Wookiee table I had color Chewbacca printouts from Tom Angleberger’s site, scissors, and squares of white paper and colored pencils for anyone who wanted to make a non-wookiee fortune teller.


Nine Darth Papers on a Dirty Floor

Competition and Incentive to KEEP FOLDING

I mentioned at the top of this post that I had two copies of Art2-D2’s Guide to Folding and Drawing to give away as raffle prizes.  I made two types of tickets as entries to win.  Everyone got to fill out one orange ticket.  Then they could earn up to three yellow tickets as added chances to win.  They got one yellow ticket for folding a Yoda, one for a Darth Paper, and the third was for getting at least half the answers right on a quiz about the Origami Yoda series I created.  Click on the image below for a full-size PDF of the quiz:

Yoda Quiz Image

I had an hour plus scheduled for this program, and I wanted to come up with a way to keep  kids engaged for the full 60 minutes who might be, (a) fans of the series; or (b) already what Tom Angleberger refers to as Super-Folders on his website.  I found a mention on Angleberger’s site about Super Folders who were folding 1,000 Origami Yodas, à la the traditional folding of 1,000 paper cranes in Japan (Senbazuru).  I adopted (er, stole) the concept and invited everyone at my program to fold their little hearts out and get us CLOSE TO THE GOAL before they left.  I had this version of the Yoda Box available for display at the program, and I promised I would display it out at the Children’s Desk for the rest of the Summer if they kept bringing in their Yoda’s.

??????????????It’s gone a wee bit viral since then, after being posted on the Brooklyn Public Library’s Youth and Family Page on Facebook, and picked up by a neighborhood blog, The Park Slope Stoop, and finally in (please allow a brief interlude for a fangirl *SQUEEEEEE!*)  Tom Angleberger’s blog!

It has almost been a week since the onset of the 1,000 Origami Yodas Movement kicked off.  It may have its roots as a Destination Program, but it has now transformed into an Approach #1 type of program (I’ll come up with a sparkle-letter-worthy name for it someday.  Leave  your suggestions in the comments!)  We are slowly receiving Yodas.  The Yoda Box is on display at the Children’s Reference Desk.  Ingrid drew the big, eye-catching Yoda head for me.:

??????????????I made a sign to track our progress every week (please ignore the date stamp, I was using a digital camera where the date stamp was out-of-whack):

Twenty-five Yoda's is from last Wednesday.  I'll keep you all updated on your progress.

And lo-and-behold, we’re getting Yoda’s!  I didn’t work over the weekend, so imagine how tickled I was to find these beauties in the Yoda box this morning:

My Summer Reading ambassadors from now until I retire.

My Summer Reading ambassadors from now until I retire.

Check out the bling on this pair:

They have (I assume) big, gold-plated 'Y's' in the middle of their necklaces.

They have (I assume) big, gold-plated ‘Y’s’ drawn into the middle of their necklaces.

I’ll keep you updated on how we’re doing from now until the end of August.  My plan is to tape them all up on our big, gray, uninspiring wall in September (before I go on vacation), so they can smile down upon us with all their Jedi wisdom and kick-ass benevolence.


6 Responses to “An Origami Yoda Program Post (97% Free of Yodaspeak)”

  1. magpielibrarian July 22, 2013 at 11:21 pm #

    Can’t say that with more clarity
    Me going legit would be like
    Jar Jar on speech therapy

  2. Jenn C May 1, 2014 at 2:04 pm #

    I’m a Youth Services Librarian in rural Nova Scotia and I would love to steal this fabulous program idea for our summer reading club (this year’s theme is “Make,” which fits perfectly). While we probably can’t reach 1000 Origami Yodas at one branch in this part of the world, we hope to reach that number by running the challenge within our 7 branches over 2.5 months. If we have your blessing to use this program, do you have any advice? Or should we just consult our mystical Yodas?

    Thanks for sharing this with the library world!

    • zbeforey May 2, 2014 at 12:42 pm #

      Hi Jenn– Thank you for the kind words. By all means,use whatever you want! I have used material inspired by, adapted from, or outright stolen from countless bloggers, and I am pleased that a program I wrote about has sparked your interest. Case in point, I didn’t come up with the 1,000 Origami Yodas idea myself. I read about it on Tom Angleberger’s website and decided at the last minute to make it a part of my first Origami Yoda program as a means of keeping the kids occupied for an entire hour. In the weeks following, it morphed into a super-cool race against the clock. I love your idea of partnering with other branches to meet your goal. It will help kids feel connected to kids outside of their immediate community. And if you are falling behind on your systemwide goal, you can always pit one branch against the other and hold a contest (such as, which branch can fold the most Yodas this week?) 8-). I would love to see how your project progresses. Please write again and let me know how it’s going!

  3. zbeforey July 26, 2013 at 6:41 am #

    Thank you for the publicity, m’aam!


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    […] ♥ Boss Lady is trying to collect 1000 Origami Yodas! […]

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