There's really no middle ground here, though. You're either a lap-book-loving teacher or you're not. I've heard, "I LOVE them!" and "I HATE them!" but never "Yeah, they're kind of okay, I guess."
I think the teachers on the hate-side cringe at the thought of lap books because they seem tedious and labor intensive, like scrapbooking. (I totally get the scrapbooking thing... that's way too much work. I have bins and bins of unused scrapbooking supplies if anyone's interested, BTW.)
But what if they didn't have to be tedious? What if they weren't labor intensive because the kids were doing all the work of researching and designing and creating? You could walk around and coach and guide and marvel at all the awesomeness going on. Okay, that last part might be a bit dramatic, but you get the point. (And that could happen.)
I love lap books. They're...
• hands-on, open-ended, and creative
• like small themed notebooks, subject or topic specific, fiction or nonfiction
• ongoing projects where kids can collect notes and explain their thinking
• similar to scrapbooking so they appeal to kids with artistic and spatial strengths
• multi-dimensional with pop-ups, flaps, wheels, accordions, tabbed books, etc.
• interactive if they include games, flash cards, word searches, maps, sticky notes, study tools, etc.
• useful for test review and as unit assessments
• able (usually) to stand on their own to display... great for a "gallery walk" where other students can see their peers' work and interact with the book features
So for all the haters out there, I just finished putting together a set of open-ended lap book templates. They have multiple uses and will work with any topic your students are studying. You can either decide which templates the children will use (based on their developmental needs and fine motor skills) or you can leave the design options open to them... especially for older students. Letting the children choose their own templates to represent their learning is a great way to allow for individual creativity.
I'm giving away 5 of these sets. Want one? Just be one of the first five teachers to comment below. Tell us if you're a lap book lover or a hater and why. (No judgement... I get it.) Then leave your email address and I'll send it on over.
If you don't respond in time, you can check it out here...
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Happy teaching! :)