Guest Author - Alissa Moy
Creating a lapbook is a wonderful way to help your child learn material and review it in a fun and engaging way. Choosing a topic for creating a lapbook can be a challenge, as there are so many types that have already been created. However, choosing your own topic and designing it from the start enables you to not only customize the material you are teaching, but also to individualize the lapbook content as well.
First begin with a basic list of current studies for the school year. While a lapbook on Aztecs and Incas sounds awesome, if you are not learning about that topic currently, it is not timely. Choose from your list of current lessons and subjects as to what topic might be most interesting to lapbook on. Or, choose the topic your child seems to be having the most trouble with, as completing a lapbook will be review and reinforcement of the topic for them. After brainstorming and choosing a topic begin gathering materials. This process will include creating a book list, maybe of the library books you intend to use. Also, you will need to have a general idea as to the length of the lapbook, so you can prepare paper and binding.
Based on your topic you can create a list of ideas for pages, including shapes for fold out pages, (ie. a fish shape for an undersea lapbook) and paper you will need. Decide if you will use cardstock, construction paper or something different, such as cardboard. Will your child hand write the content for the book, draw illustrations, type their work or all of the above? The options are endless.
Subject ideas can be difficult to brainstorm, and picking a topic like "The Civil War" can be very general and possibly too encompassing. For your first self created lapbook you might want to try and focus on a subtopic within a topic, such as "Slavery During the Civil War". Once you are comfortable creating and completing lapbooks with your child larger topics will be less daunting.
Social Studies offers many choices for lapbooking, from specific eras (ie. "The 1950's") to biographical lapbooks, like Abraham Lincoln. Think about adding timelines when doing historical based lapbooks, as well as art from the time period. Geography can be wonderful as well, and maps are a tool for your child to draw and label. Map skills are essential for children, and their ability to create maps can be a good skill building project. Choose a continent, state, country, island, etc. to lapbook about. Don't forget to include the customs, food, clothing, weather and lifestyle of your chosen location. Think about creating the lapbook in the shape of your location also.
Language Arts and Reading offer endless lapbook choices, from an author themed book to a story specific book. Maybe "Ramona the Pest" by Beverly Cleary is on your Reading list. Try creating a lapbook on Ramona, with a "Day in the Life of Ramona" writing piece. Create an Acrostic poem about Ramona or make a Venn Diagram comparing her and her sister Beezus. Design Ramona paper dolls with clothing to change based on her adventures. Creating ideas based on story characters can be alot of fun for both you and your child!
However you choose to embark on your first lapbook adventure remember that it is for the benefit of your child's education, and it doesn't have to be perfect. As long as it is an enriching and educational project it will be a success.