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Lapbooking 101, The Basics

Lapbooking 101: Why Use Lapbooks

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Lapbooks have been around for nearly a decade, and have continued to gain popularity over the years. What originated in homeschooling communities across the country has grown and spread – even into traditional classrooms around the world.

Why have lapbooks continued to gain popularity instead of fizzling out as most educational trends do? There are many reasons! Here are some of the best:

  1. Lapbooking helps both visual and kinesthetic learners pick up and retain information. Lapbooks are visually stimulating. They involve not only text and images, but also a variety of shapes and colors. These elements are not only helpful to visual learners, but kinesthetic learners as well, as creating them involves cutting, gluing, drawing, and writing!
  2. Lapbooking allows seamless integration of various subjects during a unit study. Regardless of your original topic, you can almost always incorporate language arts, science, social studies, and even math into your lapbook! In a recent elementary literature class, we read Pippi Longstocking and Cricket in Times Square. Our lapbooks for these novels included maps, fun facts about insects, flippable books about counting money, and more!
  3. Lapbooking is an inexpensive way to record student learning and create a keepsake for years to come. Lapbooks can be created with supplies that you may already have on hand. All you really need are file folders, paper, scissors, glue, and colored pencils! (We will discuss supplies in further detail in a later post.)Lapbooking 101 - Pinterest
  4. Lapbooking is an easy way to capitalize on your child’s creativity. Lapbooks can be created very simply, or very intricately! There are no limits to lapbooking! If your child is very creative, you can investigate the hundreds of different foldable pieces and mini-books, and incorporate all sorts of fun paper, stickers, and scrapbook supplies.
  5. Lapbooking is more than another boring worksheet or report! While there is a time and place for formal reports and worksheets, variety is the spice of life (and education)!

Do you have any of your own reasons for creating lapbooks? Join the conversation and share your ideas in the comments!

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Lapbooking 101, The Basics

Lapbooking 101: Qualities of a Great Lapbook

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Once you’ve decided to use lapbooks, there are two ways to go about creating your first lapbook. You can either:

  1. Purchase a lapbook kit that is ready to print, assemble, and fill with research.
  2. Create a lapbook to accompany your own unit of study.

Whichever route you choose to take, there are several things to keep in mind when choosing materials. Lapbooks work best when they are more than just a cut and paste busy-work activity – they need to be designed with authentic learning in mind.

What does an excellent lapbook, designed with learning in mind look like? It should contain the following elements:

  • Cross-curricular materials. Choosing to take an interdisciplinary approach will help students develop a more holistic view of any topic. For instance, when choosing a literature lapbook, look for lapbooks that tie in (at the very least) science and social studies. Likewise, science lapbooks should tie in math and geography, and social studies lapbooks should tie in literature and science.
  • Real-life applications. Relating new facts to everyday life will make them more memorable. What does this look like in practice? You might look for activities that include writing letters to characters from stories, or comparing life today to a different era. If you’re creating a science-based lapbook, find ways to include day-to-day applications of different concepts.
  • Appropriate amounts of research and writing. This may seem like common sense, but select a lapbook geared towards your child’s age and ability level. For example, don’t choose a lapbook with lots of internet research for your second grader, or a fill-in-the-blank project for your eighth grader. If you are looking to pLapbooking 101 - Pinteresturchase a pre-designed lapbook kit and simply can’t find anything that will work, be prepared to adapt it to your child’s needs.
  • The right amount of material to fit your schedule. Don’t try to rush it! A rushed lapbook doesn’t make for a pleasant or effective learning experience. Try to find enough material to give your students a complete understanding of a topic, but avoid excess.
  • Engaging colors, shapes, fonts, etc. Lapbooks should be attractive and appealing to young learners. The brighter and more visually appealing a lapbook is, the more likely children will be to review a lapbook over and over. You may wish to do some research into color and shape psychology if you have time, but at the very least, make sure your lapbooks are engaging and inviting.

Have you noticed any other qualities of great lapbooks? Join the conversation and share them in the comments! Or, share your lapbook photos on Facebook and Instagram with #Lapbooking101 and tag me @edventuresathome.

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Lapbooking 101, The Basics

Lapbooking 101: What Are Lapbooks?

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What are lapbooks?

Maybe you’ve heard the term “lapbook,” but have never investigated what they really are. Or, maybe you’ve seen them advertised on your favorite blogs, splashed across Teachers Pay Teachers, or in your favorite catalogs, but you still don’t quite understand the concept. Today, as the first part in our Lapbooking 101 series, we’ll investigate what they are!

Here’s a basic definition: Lapbooks are a hands-on, creatively designed portfolio project that allow students to organize their learning into a small, keepsake “book” that fits in their lap.

Let’s break it down into smaller pieces:

Lapbooks are hands-on. Like the pop-up books you probably remember from your childhood, lapbooks are multi-dimensional and allow children to interact with their learning. Upon opening a lapbook folder, you’ll often find a variety of mini books and pockets that contain illustrations, stories, facts, flashcards, maps, and games.

Lapbooks are creative. If your children love cutting and pasting, coloring and designing and creating beautiful works of art, they are sure to love lapbooks! Made from file folders and colored paper that you probably already have handy, the mini-books inside of a lapbook can be made in any number of shapes or colors. Children can also get creative with their learning by adding their own personalized flair, such as drawings, stickers, and other embellishments.

Lapbooks are a portfolio. Like a passport, lapbooks provide students with a space to store artifacts of learning, and information can all be stored in one place without the hassle of keeping up with multiple loose papers.

Lapbooks are an organizational tool. In the process of creating a lapbook, children are required to sort the facts that they’ve learned into the appropriate pockets and mini books, which helps them begin to develop the studyLapbooking 101 - Pinterest skills necessary for later in life. Completed lapbooks can also be used as a study guide for review, as they contain all of the necessary details from a lesson or unit and the interactive nature boosts retention.

Lapbooks are a keepsake. Just like scrapbooks, passports, or sticker books, lapbooks are a keepsake that your children will enjoy looking through year after year as they go back, review, and deepen their knowledge on a topic. (And, as an added bonus, they take up much less space than a notebook, binder, or science fair board!)

Next week in Lapbooking 101, we’ll explore why you should start using lapbooks with your kids! In the meantime, join the conversation by sharing your lapbook photos on Facebook and Instagram with #Lapbooking101 and tag me @edventuresathome.


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