Lapbooking: A How-To Guide, by Cheryl

 

If you have followed my Biome study posts, you may have looked at the lapbook pages.  (If not click HERE to see them.) I used to look at lapbooks other people made and be overwhelmed at the thought of making my own. Instead, I downloaded free or inexpensive pre-made lapbooks. Eventually, I gained the confidence to start from scratch and discovered that it was not as difficult as I had once thought.

What is a lapbook?

A lapbook is a scrapbook of things you and your kids have learned. It can be anything. Most lapbooks are made up of “mini book” pieces, each piece covering a different concept or idea. You then glue the mini books into a file folder, onto card stock in a binder, or into a spiral notebook.

The idea is that you teach something, your kids make the mini books, then look at them again as they continue adding to the larger book. It gets them involved with the information three or more times. The more times they see the information, the better they remember it. Lapbooks are a great way to get things into their long-term memory. Plus, if you are in a state that requires a portfolio, they make a fun addition to the record of your school year.

Where Can I Get Premade Lapbooks?

Two of my favorite sites for finding these lapbooks are:

Homeschool Share – lots of free lapbooks on all subjects, and free templates for making your own book.

Currclick – lapbooks to purchase, including Knowledge Box lapbooks. I love the quality of Knowledge Box lapbooks, but the price prohibits me from purchasing many; I have caught a few that I really wanted when they were on sale at Currclick.

Some of the premade lapbooks give all of the information you need to teach a full unit study (I have purchased this Oklahoma State History study from Knowledge Box), some are made to follow a certain book (like this lapbook for The Wonderful Wizard of Oz), and sometimes they require research to fill in the blanks (this Frog lapbook is cute and fun, but it will require some research). Often, the book we found did not have all the information the lapbook wanted. I wanted lapbooks to go with what we were learning and the books we used. I just did not know where to start.

I made my first lapbook for Lilly when she was 3. Aidan was studying The Story of the World Volume 1 for history, and we were making an amazing lapbook I found online (you can download it here.) Lilly wanted to make a book. She was studying a letter a week. On Friday when Aidan did his history lapbook page, we made a letter page for hers as well. I went to Homeschool Share and picked a template, printed it and while Lilly colored on it, I found clip art pictures in Microsoft Office. We printed pictures of objects beginning with our letter for that week’s and put them in the template. Easy! I can do this!

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When I started with my Map Skills lap book, I knew I needed something different. I had 12 students and I did not want multiple pages to hand out to each child. I needed each minibook on one sheet of paper. I had to design it all for that to work. It was about this time that I discovered Google Docs and all it could do. The drawing tool became my best friend!

I knew enough about basic mini-book parts to start with a few interesting pieces. Below are a few “how to” images for my favorites. (Click on the picture to see a larger image, or on the name of the piece for a downloadable version.)

Pocket:

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Wheel:

wheel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hot Dog Book:

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Flap Books and Fold-in Books:

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For pictures and diagrams you can draw in Paint, search the web for a picture that serves your purpose, have the kids search through magazines, or have your kids draw a picture! The idea is to reinforce what you are studying. Do whatever will help cement things into your kids’ heads.

Get creative and make your own types of mini-books. You can do anything! Start by looking at what other people have created, or the templates on Homeschool Share, and then start making your own designs.

Now, if you really like things neat and you want your hard work to look pretty – make your own lapbook! Again, if you have looked at the Biome posts, you see the neat and pretty books. Here is a big secret: I put that together, my kids’ books look nothing like that! Below you see two versions of the same book (our Map Skills Lapbook):

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My son’s looks nothing like my vision for the book. That is okay! He still learned, he had fun, and we have a record of what was learned.

If the thought of designing a lapbook still overwhelms you, make your kids do it. Print a few blank templates, hand one to your child, tell him/her what information you want to see, and let them be creative!

 

Cheryl–Ccherylheryl is a singing, dancing, baking, homeschooling mom of three. She has danced her whole life and taught ballet and theatre for most of her adult life. Her favorite pastime has always been cooking and baking, and as a Pampered Chef Independent Consultant she gets to share that love with others. Home educating her three children has been and continues to be one of her greatest learning experiences! It is an adventure she is ready to continue.

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Deserts: The Next Stop on the Biomes Tour! by Cheryl

 

Previously in our Biomes series: Grasslands

Why did we select deserts as our second biome? Because I found some amazing books at the library that I could not wait to dive into with my kids! Our study of the desert led us on a journey around the world with a look at some fun plants and animals.

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Books

As with our grasslands study, I picked up all of the books at our local library. Click the links to see the books. I will start by listing our two favorites!

Desert Days, Desert Nights by Roxie Munro has beautifully illustrated pictures of the North American Deserts during the day and at night. It is a search a find book that my kids truly enjoyed! For each desert, she has a daytime picture and a nighttime picture that illustrated the diurnal and nocturnal (vocab words from our grassland study!) animals of the desert. It made a fun introduction to our study.

Looking Closely Across the Desert by Frank Serifini takes closeup pictures of things found in the desert and has you guess what it could be. Each close up is followed by a full picture and description of the animal, plant, or land feature.

Life in Extreme Enviroments: Life in the Desert by Katherine Lawrence holds some great information on the topic. We did not read the whole thing; we looked at the plant and animal sections and skimmed the sections on people who live in the desert. Not because the book was a problem–my kids’ focus was a problem that day!

About Habitats: Deserts by Cathryn Sill is wonderfully illustrated by John Sill. We found some fun facts, and thoroughly enjoyed the illustrations!

America’s Deserts by Marianne D. Wallace was another book full of great illustrations!

Draw Write Now Book 8 by Marie Hablitzel and Kim Stitzer contains the lessons that correspond to the desert study.

Animals

We learned about some fun animals who make their homes in the desert. We also discovered that some animals we find in grasslands can be found in deserts as well. The pronghorn was one we found in both biomes. Other animals (and insects) of the desert include: horned lizards, javelinas, termites, ants, giant desert centipedes, stink beetles, roadrunners, desert iguanas, red racers, scorpions, turkey vultures, sidewinder rattlesnakes, jackrabbits, mule deer, kit foxes, gray foxes, and diamondbacks.

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Our favorite desert plant is the saguaro cactus. We even made up a silly game to help my five-year-old remember what it is. Anytime someone yells, “Saguaro!” you must stop where you are and hold both arms up at right angles, like the cartoon cacti we have seen in books and movies.

Other plants to look for: golden poppy, agave, Joshua trees, teddy bear chollas, welwitschia

Vocabulary

Arid, Sonoran Desert, Mojave Desert, Gobi Desert, Saharan Desert, Syrian Desert, Arctic Desert, estivate/aestivate, antivenin, tap root, oasis, wadi

 

Lapbook

We added a desert section to our  lap book. We also added another animal behavior piece. Our books are broken down into sections: Each biome has a section, with a separate section at the front for the general information on plants and animals that we come across.

CoverpageAnimalsPlantsMapAnimal Behavior (hibernation/estivation)

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Our lap book pages for deserts

Cheryl–Cheryl is a singing, dancing, baking, homeschooling mom of three. She has danced her whole life and taught ballet and theatre for most of her adult life. Her favorite pastime has always been cherylcooking and baking, and as a Pampered Chef Independent Consultant she gets to share that love with others. Home educating her three children has been and continues to be one of her greatest learning experiences! It is an adventure she is ready to continue.

Next time: Rainforests!

Grasslands: The First Stop on Our Biomes Tour, by Cheryl

Teaching Science at Home

 

We chose to start with the grasslands of the world because we live in a grassland. We could walk outside and see what we were studying and our local zoo is filled with grassland animals. Our method was to read books, go to the zoo, and make a lap book of what we learned.

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First, the books. I picked up all of the books at our local library. Links to the books are provided, but numerous good books exist on this topic; if you wish to do your own biome study start with your own library and see what they have!

A Grassland Habitat by Bobbie Kalman (Perfect introductory book to get us started.)

Here Is the African Savanna by Madeleine Dunphy (This was my daughter’s favorite! It is a fun poem with good information about the animals and plants in the poem.)

Out on the Prairie by Donna M. Bateman (Another favorite at out house.)

Grasslands by Susan H. Gray (I was able to pull copywork for my son from this book! Lots of fun facts! This is also part of a series. Sadly, our library is selling them off, but I have grabbed some from the sale shelf!)

Temperate Grasslands by Ben Hoare (Part of a Series on Biomes carried by our library. It made a great intro to our topic and we will use the series, when available, for the rest of the study. Each book has great maps that mark all the biomes of the world!)

One Day in the Prairie by Jean Craighead George (This book tells the story of a boy taking pictures on the prairie as a storm comes in. It describes the animal activity on the prairie throughout the day. It was a fun read!)

An American Safari by Jim Brankdenburg ( Beautiful pictures of the American Prairie!)

I compiled a list of world grasslands, animals and plants inhabiting those grasslands, and general vocabulary we encountered on our study. Unless otherwise noted, we encountered all of these words in the books we read. Most were well-defined in the books; we did look a few up in the dictionary.

Animals of the Grasslands

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African Savanna and the Velds: Tick Bird (Yellow Billed Oxpecker), Hippopotamus, Zebra, Baboon, Lion, African Elephant, Giraffe, Impala, Cheetah, Gazelle

North American Prairie: Bald Eagle, Prairie Dog, Pronghorn, Ground Squirrel, Mouse, Rattlesnake, Coyote, Butterfly, Canadian Geese, Badger, Fox Rabbit, Hawk, Ferret, Bobcat, Deer, Bison, Grasshopper, Great Plains Toad, Howdy Owl, Meadowlark, Sharp-Tailed Grouse, Sparrows

Australian  Rangeland: Kangaroo, Dingo, Sheep

Steppes of Europe and Asia: Lynx, Eurasian Otter, Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros, Przewalski’s Horse

Pampas and Llanos of South America: Anteater, Jaguar, Puma

Plants

There are over 9000 types of grasses growing the world! There are 200 in North America alone. Here are a few of the grasses we came across: Grama Grasses, Wheat Grass, Locoweed, Tumble Grass, Puffsheath Grass, Weeping Love Grass, Windmill grass, Big Blue Stem, Buffalo Grass. Other plants we encountered in out reading: Purple Coneflower (snakeroot), Clover, Primrose, Yucca Plants (soap weed), Bluebonnets, and Paintbrush.

Vocabulary

Tall Grass Prairie, Short Grass Prairie, Mixed Grass Prairie, Crepuscular, Nocturnal, Diurnal (we looked this up after we learned Crepuscular and Nocturnal, we wanted to know what animals who were active in the daytime were called!), Migration, Hibernation, Aestivation, Semiarid, Herbavore, Carnivore, Omnivore, Photosynthesis, Sod, Decompose, Nutrients, Humus, Festoon and Biotic.

Fun Fact: Cheetahs are the fastest land animal, and Pronghorns are the fastest land animal in North America!

Lapbook

I created a few lapbook entries for the basics of photosynthesis, animal behavior, as well as the plants and animals of the world’s grasslands. We also used a blank map to color and label all the grasslands.

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Coverpage, Animals Pt1, Animals Pt2, Plants, Map, “Circle of Life,” Animal Behavior (time), Animal Behavior (Diet)

Next time: Deserts!

Cheryl–Cheryl is a singing, dancing, baking, homeschooling mom of three. She has danced her cherylwhole life and taught ballet and theatre for most of her adult life. Her favorite pastime has always been cooking and baking, and as a Pampered Chef Independent Consultant she gets to share that love with others. Home educating her three children has been and continues to be one of her greatest learning experiences! It is an adventure she is ready to continue.