Hands on learning is so important for all students, but especially younger ones. Students are able to explore new concepts in all kinds of different ways. Hands on learning also helps to engage the brain to create and expand new ideas. It is our job as teachers to find new and exciting ways to make this happen. I have tried many different ideas and strategies throughout the years. Today I’m going to share one of my favorites with you…Lapbooks. Here are 5 ways to use Lapbooks in your classroom.
What are Lapbooks?
Lapbooks, also known as Flippy Flaps to my students, are one of my favorite classroom tools. They are like the cross between an interactive notebook and a lapbook. They are designed to enhance student learning by incorporating higher level thinking into our classroom activities. They allow students to gain deeper understandings of a topic while participating in hands on learning. They are usually made in a composition notebook or a file folder, and they go much further than typical note-taking or a lesson worksheet.
5 Reasons to Use Them in Your Classroom
Lapbooks have TONS of benefits! I could go on and on about them all day, but I’ve come up with a list of some of my favorite reasons why you should use Lapbooks in your classroom. Here are my top!
Lapbooks promote organization without actually “teaching” it. Your students will learn by doing. A Lapbook book keeps all of the students notes and learning materials organized in one place. There is a place for them to add in activities, write, draw and connect what they are learning. And . . . each component is immediately added to the book. This helps to keep everything neat and clean. The kids don’t have as many papers floating around to spill all over the floor or accidentally throw away. They always know exactly where to find what they need. This practice is a great way to teach organization through doing.
2. Hands on Learning
There’s nothing better than hands on learning in the classroom. Not only is it fun and engaging for students, but there is also scientific evidence that students learn more through doing than they do through merely listening or reading.
Lapbooks are the perfect way to incorporate doing into your lessons. Our young students love cutting, pasting, and coloring as they build their Lapbook.
3. Differentiated Instruction
I love how easy Lapbooks make it for me to accommodate different learning styles and levels. Lapbooks, by nature, work well for students who are visual and kinesthetic learners. Connect the activities to your oral lessons and you’ve accommodated the auditory learner also!
As students work on building their Lapbook, it is easy to make adjustments for students who need a little more help or guidance. And they provide lots of space for more advanced students to add in writing and drawings to make it their own.
There’s no better way to show off what you’ve learned than a Lapbook! By completing a single Lapbook topic in one place, students have a portfolio of all they learned on that topic. You can also put multiple Lapbooks in a larger notebook and collect your learning over a longer period of time. They are a great keepsake to take home at the end of the year.
I love keeping a Lapbook from the beginning of the year, middle of the year and end of the year as data for student progress. By looking through these work samples, you can see the progress of students writing, coloring, fine motor skills and more!
5. Cross-Curricular Learning
Lapbooks can be used in any and all subjects. They are great for reading, math, science, and even social studies. In fact, I use Lapbooks in every subject that we cover. But completing a Lapbook activity is a great way to connect language arts with whatever topic you are learning about. With so many standards to weave into our year, cross-curricular learning is a great way to use one unit, lesson or activity to teach and practice standards from multiple subject areas.
Getting Started With Lapbooks
Don’t let the idea of getting started intimidate you. It may seem complicated or like there are too many parts and pieces for young students. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, these Lapbooks were designed with young students in mind.
As you work on a Lapbook you are going to provide students with the just few pieces they need to complete the current activity. Those will get glued into the Lapbook before more pieces are added.
The reality is that they are totally manageable and don’t take up tons of instructional time. Once you’ve done one or two, your students will be Lapbook pros and know just what to do!
Here are the supplies you need to get started on a Lapbook:
- Composition notebook or File Folder
- Colors, Markers, or Colored Pencils
As with everything else in the classroom, planning is key! Take some time to look through the Lapbook project and connect each activity with your lessons. This will help you plan which activity to complete each day. You can also decide if you are going to complete each activity in the Lapbook project or leave some out. Both options work well!
Then, print and prep the materials you want to include. I like to get everything copied, stacked and clipped together by activity. Then I just grab the stack for the day and everything I need is there.
Don’t forget to establish rules and procedures for using Lapbooks. Students will be working with scissors and glue so it is important to review those procedures before working.
Since I use so many Lapbooks in the classroom, I like to begin the year using Lapbooks so these procedures are introduced very early on. As with any new activity, it may be slightly chaotic at first, but once they get the hang of things you’ll be smooth sailing.
Making Interactive Notebooks
Maybe you are not ready to fully dive into Lapbooks because they seem too overwhelming or complicated to use in your classroom. But you do like the idea of the Lapbook but the materials, and assembling just seem like too much for your students, or you, right now. Well no worries at all. You can also use these pieces to create an Interactive Notebook instead!
Creating an Interactive Notebook is very simple with these Lapbook pieces. All you need is a spiral or composition notebook and the pieces. And of course scissors and glue. You can have the students assemble all of the pieces in their notebooks instead of a file folder. They can continue each lapbook in the same notebook and keep all of their lapbooks, or now interactive notebooks, in one place for the entire year. Great way to keep it simple!
Fill Your Year With Lapbooks
Ready to fill your lesson plans with Lapbooks? Me too! If you are just starting out I would suggest trying a Lapbook for a holiday or seasonal topic. This is a great way to introduce them to students without committing to a year of science Lapbooks. But, I have a feeling that after trying them out you will be ready to do more with your students.
I have tons of Flippy Flaps ready to go in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. No season, holiday, or topic has been left out.
You’ll probably want to head into Fall with this interactive Pumpkin Flippy Flap! Tons of different activities are included like vocabulary, writing prompts, life cycles, and more! Here’s a little peek into this fun Pumpkin Lapbook activity.
Here’s just a few examples of different themes you can teach with Lapbooks:
And. . . you can even add some holiday fun with Lapbooks. Here’s some examples:
You can find all of the holiday activities in the Flippy Flaps Holiday Bundle. It’ll save you hours of searching for that perfect holiday activity. It includes 14 different holidays like Chinese New Year, Cinco De Mayo, and Earth Day.
If you think Lapbooks are something you want to incorporate across the board then my Mega Theme Bundle is for you! This huge bundle includes all the Lapbook units, including the holidays. Your students will have so much fun throughout the school year exploring and learning about different holidays and themes with these hands-on, interactive notebooks!
Be sure and pin this to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so you can quickly come back when you need to add a fun and engaging Lapbooks to your lesson.