Sunday, June 17, 2012

Lapbooking, and the American Revolution Lapbook

This past year I was introduced to Pinterest, which in turn, introduced me to lapbooks. Lapbooks started in the homeschooling community and are making their way into schools. I was immediately drawn to lapbooks because they encompass areas of creativity with the learning process and comprehending academic content. I find that lapbooks are most conducive to history/social studies. Very few materials are needed to get a lapbook started, which makes them that much better for schools in financial crunch.

As soon as I found lapbooking I knew that I had to try it out in the classroom. While studying Ancient China with my 6th graders we put together comprehensive lapbooks that included: the Silk Road, the silk process, the Great Wall, a timeline of dynasties, Confucious' teachings and sayings, Chinese writing sticks, and more! The students loved putting these together because they were constantly creating different foldables, pockets, and mini-books that they got to fill with their learning. The final product was a compact book bursting with knowledge!

This year I am moving to 5th grade and knew immediately that I wanted get those kids hooked on lapbooks too. I had heard the 5th grade team grumble many times about the dreaded social studies textbook and difficulty finding great activities. Well, I think they will be as excited as I am (and the kids will be) about the lapbooks I am designing for the 5th grade content.

So, I started with the American Revolution.....

Some lapbooks have more "pages", but I knew that I wanted to devote plenty of time to each activity, and to also leave time for other activities besides the lapbook, so I narrowed it down to 7 mini-books/foldables/pockets:
* a timeline accordion book
* causes of the revolution petal book
* life in the battlefield flapbook
* important people pocket and cards
* vocabulary fan
* Continental Army vs. British Army flapbook
* major battles tri-fold

I like that each mini-book/foldable is like a little graphic organizer, and the variety keeps things interesting. I also love that students understand that their textbook is not the sole vehicle for learning, but rather a resource that we use in the process of learning. Rather than assigning pages to read, students are searching for the needed information on their own, making learning meaningful and helping students retain information!

I hope that you will consider using lapbooks with your students too! A quick search online will reveal tons of resources (many free) and ideas! If you are interested in purchasing my American Revolution Lapbook which includes teacher directions, blackline masters for all mini-books/foldables/pockets, reflection page, and scoring rubric, please visit my TpT store.

Have you used lapbooks with your students before? What other ideas do you have for making lapbooks even more meaningful for students?


  1. Love the lap books. I am going to pin this and share with teachers at my school! Lauren
    Teacher Mom of 3

  2. Okay, I just sent off my revised curriculum after 2 straight days of supplementing 5th grade SS units... then saw this and instantly wanted to add it! Like you, I love teaching upper grades. I've taught Writing in 6th-8th the past 3 years and just moved to 5th grade. Thanks so much for sharing this. I'll definitely consider it for Westward Expansion or the Civil War. (One more revision to the curriculum won't kill me... will it?)

  3. I can't tell you how much my students look forward to Social Studies now that we're lapbooking. I did this last year for the first time, and it was a hit. This fits into common core so well and my kids are begging to take their notebooks home at night to do extra work.

  4. Gail, I've found the same thing with my kids! Even I get more excited about Social Studies when I get to watch them progress with their lapbooks! I'm planning on doing more this year.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.