If you are a classroom teacher, reading that post title most likely made you go “huh? What’s a lap book.” Or perhaps you know what a lap book is and thought, “it’s that thing that homeschoolers do.” For those of you who have already used a lap book in your classroom, I will have some tips for improving your next classroom lap booking experience in this post.
Lap books are generally made of manilla file folders folded in like a science project board and then filled inside and out with mini books, art projects, and student writing on a predetermined topic. hey often include some sort of art project to add interest to the activity. Lap books are generally a teaching strategy used by homeschoolers to teach their children how to sort and organize important ideas an facts of interest on a similar topic. When the lap book is finished, children have a ready resource for reviewing previously learned information, and a project they can be proud of.
While this learning activity is most often utilized by homeschoolers, classroom teachers also could get a lot of benefit from this teaching strategy. For example, some subjects like science are all too often scheduled to only be taught a few minutes a day, or a few days of the week. A lap book project can quickly remind students about their previous learning on the subject before they move on to the next lesson. Lap books can also introduce students to the concept on an in depth research project, such as a biography study, or a genre study of different books read over several weeks.
I really think you should give one a try, you may find it is your new favorite way to end a teaching unit, or for setting up a skill review children can take home and use again and again.
There are loads of great resources online for setting up your first lap book. Some resources are free like this great one from homeschoolhelperonline.com. There are also loads of paid lap booking products available on the Teachers Pay Teachers website (there were actually 1778 paid and free lap books for sale on TpT when I checked just now).
With so many options, it can be difficult to decide where to begin. My first piece of advice give yourself permission to take it one step at a time. I do not recommend beginning by trying to make your own. I know, I usually don’t take that advice myself, and the first time I tried setting up a lapbook myself there may have been tears involved. I am a very organized person by nature, and I love crafting and doing-it-myself, but there are so many options for what you can do with your lap book it can be extremely overwhelming. For the first time around you should download a remade lap booking template to get your feet wet on so to speak.
As I said before there are loads of paid and free lap books out there, so how do you decide on which one to choose? The first time around choose one that has no options for extra books. Some of the downloadable files contain 20 different foldable books you or your students can choose from to include in your lap book. While this amount of choice is awesome for teachers and children who have organized a lap book before, it is not great for your fist time. First time around choose a lap booking template that has one layout design with just the books you need for setting up – no more no less. Next time around a bigger file with more choices would be great, but not the first time, trust me.
Try out the project yourself. I know most teachers make exemplar’s of the activity for students to see. The first time around I recommend making the exemplar at home, and then in class doing it again one book at a time in front of the students so they can see the whole process.
It has been my experience that children really love completing lap books. It ties all their learning together in a pretty package and they feel a great sense of accomplishment when they get to show off their work. I love lap books in the classroom, because it gives me something to show that my students have been digging deeper into he concepts we are working. After all, that is the big push with common core, and let’s face it, we all know our administrators love seeing a good project.
If you are ready to try one for yourself I do have a few up on my TpT store you might be interested in. My Nutrition Lapbook is one of my biggest selling items, and my Biography Lapbook is brand new and in need of some love. Also check back Friday for a flash freebie TBA on this topic (surprise surprise).
Thanks for reading through this long post. Have you tried lap booking in the classroom before? Do you have any tips you would like to share with others? Leave a note in the comments section below and join the conversation.
I would love to hear from you!