I honestly think one of the most important qualities of a teacher is the willingness to also be a learner. To keep up with changes in kids, society, education, and to increase your mastery in your content area (or to add mastery of a new one), you really have to be constantly learning and open to learning.
Well, my most recent learning experience was with lapbooks. I was asked to incorporate lapbooking into my Geography/History class and I of course said yes, but inside I was freaking out. They wanted me to start the next week, and I had never even seen a lapbook in real life. Not to mention I was really excited about (and proud of) the curriculum I had already designed and since I only have 1 hour a week with these kids in class I knew I’d have to make some major curriculum changes.
I first turned to some TpT friends to learn about lapbooks. They pointed me in the direction of resources, they calmed my anxiety, and based on one of their recommendations I was even able to begin using them for mini-units instead of completely replacing everything I had planned. Things quickly got even more interesting: none of my students had lapbooked before either! I did not hide my inexperience with lapbooks from my students. I told them up front that we would be learning about them together.
To make the transition a bit smoother, I decided that the first time we do this we would all make the same lapbook. This one right here:
I thought if the format and material were the same we would all jump in feet first but holding hands. After assembling the lap books, as a class they helped each other remember the who/what/where/when/how/why type information and filled all that out, then they did the personalization parts individually. We usually do 2 or 3 activities each class so I was holding my breath that they would stay on point with just one task all class and they did! In fact, they didn’t even realize it when class ended! I think they really liked how hands on it was, that they could in a way pick and choose what information they included, that there was room for their opinions, and that they saw the potential in where the lapbooks could go. Talk about a huge sigh of relief!
When we wrap up our Exploration/Explorers Unit this week my kids will lapbook again to review the whole unit. They will design them themselves this time and they will each be responsible for different parts of the unit’s information–come back next week for that post. You can see below round 2 of our lapbooks are almost classroom ready, I just have to print out a few more options for the kids to choose from. We will then set up the completed lapbooks around the room and the students will recap their explorer or topic for each other.
So after talking to teachers who have used them before and finally seeing them in real life, turns out lapbooks themselves aren’t all that intimidating, but figuring out which features to print out and use was overwhelming…there are a TON of options out there…and doing the prep work was time consuming…but, overall it was quite a hit and I have to say, I’m looking forward to using them again! Click HERE to read about my round 2 with lapbooks. I think I will even have my Music Theory kids make lapbooks for the composers in our next unit.