KAYSVILLE -- Art prep specialist Marcia Leix wanted to do origami with her students, so when the opportunity came to make origami cranes to help rebuild schools in Japan, she jumped at the chance.
She hadn't made the cranes before, so she learned along with the children about the art of folding paper into shapes.
When she started looking online for information, she discovered www.studentsrebuild.com, a website asking for people to make paper cranes to help raise money for Japan.
Schools in Japan are trying to rebuild following the recent massive earthquake and tsunami there.
The Bezos Family Foundation -- a private, independent foundation established by Jackie and Mike Bezos, which supports rigorous, inspired learning environments for young people -- will donate $2 for each origami crane that is made and donated.
Leix enlisted the help of her fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade art students at Endeavour Elementary.
Leix explained that the crane is a sacred creature in Japanese culture. A wish is granted to those who make 1,000 cranes.
Students Rebuild has a goal of collecting 100,000 origami cranes from young people, so the Bezos Family Foundation will donate $200,000 to Architecture for Humanity's reconstruction efforts in Japan.
Endeavour Elementary School art students are helping with that goal by setting a goal of their own, to make 1,000 origami cranes.
"Students are doing math when they figure out how much money they will earn for Japan. The first 100,000 cranes will be put on permanent display in Japan," Leix said.
On Wednesday, Leix said they were almost to their goal of making 1,000 cranes in just 10 days.
"One sixth-grade class made 58 in one day. Once they learn how to make them, they help others," Leix said.
Fifth-grade student Shale Goodrich sat at one end of a table and explained to the nearby students how to fold the paper to form a crane. Shale explained the process step by step as he pressed hard to crease the paper.
At another table, Abigail Larsen helped her classmates learn to fold the colored paper into a crane. Abigail has become proficient in folding the paper and has made about 50 birds for the school project.
"I make a lot at my house," she said.
Samantha Kasparian sat on one side of Abigail, learning the fine art of origami along with Katelyn Knight, who sat on the other side.
The three girls picked up yellow sheets of paper to begin the task of creating the shape of cranes. All three girls were pleased to help fulfill the goal of 1,000 cranes.
Abigail has an origami book, so she was already familiar with the art of folding paper into objects.
"I can make one in about five minutes," she said.
Shale has made origami cranes since he was 5.
"I have made about 70 for this project," he said.
This fourth-grade class was working diligently Wednesday to see if they could top the sixth-grade class' number.
And the fourth-graders did. By the end of class, they had folded 75 more cranes, bringing the class total to 317 and the school total to 975.
Taking paper with them, some of the students folded cranes as they walked back to their regular classrooms so they could meet their goal that day.
"I am excited about this project," Leix said.