Lesson Plans & Unit Studies

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 In the name of Allah, Most Beneficent, Most Merciful

Lapbooks and Notebooking

A Creative Learning Process

Lapbooking is a wonderful way to reinforce what children are learning, and make it fun at the same time. What is a lapbook? Lapbooking is done using a regular manila folder, folded to open like a book; students put mini books inside the lapbook to illustrate concepts they have learned in a topic of study.

For example, if a topic of study is Christopher Columbus, the parent can look through the lesson plans and decide what topics will make good mini books.

In this example, the lapbook may consist of mini books on his ships, his life as a cartographer, the voyage, etc. Lapbooking is meant to be creative. Lapbooking can include artwork, but lapbooking is also meant to be a display of what the child has learned in that unit.

Mini books for lapbook's come in many different forms. Mini books can have a variety of shapes, sizes and designs. Children can be creative and make shaped mini books, and they can also have tri-fold mini books.

Shaped mini books give an artistic look to a lapbook. Lapbooking topics that could make use of shaped mini books are the ocean (have a mini book in the shape of a fish, shark or dolphin), Egypt (have a mini book in the shape of a pyramid) or Christopher Columbus (ear of corn, or a ship).

Mini books can also be bi-fold, tri-fold, be single paged or have multiple pages. The choice is up to the student and or parent, and may vary based on the information being placed in the mini book. Having a variety of types of mini books will give the lapbook a nice varied appearance.

Lapbook's are typically made from a traditional manila folder, or poster paper, or even card stock paper. Once the mini books are all finished, students can make the lapbook itself. As previously stated, lapbooking is a creative process, and the lapbook cover is no exception.

The first step is to take the manila folder, open it up, and fold the sides in towards the center. The top edges of the folder are now in the center of the folder. The children can now decorate the "cover" of their lapbook, and perhaps even create a closure of their choice

All mini books, pictures, and other contents are added into the inside of the lapbook. Children may play around with the layout a little bit before actually gluing the mini books onto the lapbook.

If you find that there isn't enough room on the lapbook, extensions can be added. Lapbooking is a very flexible process, and lapbook's can be created, changed, or altered anyway the student or teacher feels necessary. Therefore, if more room is needed, extensions can be added. These extensions are typically another folder, cut in half, and taped on the top or the bottom of the lapbook. This provides the lapbook with more room.

Lapbooking can help reinforce a child's learning of a topic. Lapbook's are very flexible, and are limited only by the imagination of the teachers and students making them. Lapbooking is also a fantastic way of engaging a child's interest, and making learning fun!

Below Please find a Simple short Video of how to make a Lapbook

Common Features of Notebooking 

Notebooking is very flexible, so a notebook can contain most anything! But for the sake of explanation, here are some things most people could agree that notebooking commonly has.

  • Sheets of paper, three hole punched and put into a binder or a pre-bound notebook of lined or unlined paper.
  • Text is written by the student.
  • The page has graphics of some kind-- drawn by the student or pre-printed on the page.
  • A notebook could very broad -- history, science, poetry, nature, 5th grade, etc.
  • Notebooking is highly text oriented -- lots of written words with graphics to complement them.
  • Notebook pages can be narrations from your child's reading, copy work, maps, quotes, poems, images cut from magazines or printed from the Internet, drawings, and writing assignments.

Combining Lapbooking and Notebooking -the best of both worlds

What if you want to use both? You certainly can! You can do lapbook's for some topics and make notebooks for others.Or you can mix them up by putting elements of notebooking into a lapbook or by putting mini books into a notebook!
Some people call this mixture "lap-n-note."

Ways to do this:

  • affix mini books to card stock and file in the notebook. Visit Notebooking Pages for some beautiful free templates to help you do this!

  • use sheet protectors to hold mini books in notebooks

  • put the entire lapbook into a three ring binder

  • poke holes in notebooking pages and use brads/paper fasteners to affix them to the lapbook

  • attach the front of a 3 pronged folder to the back of a lapbook; put your notebooking pages into the folder and you mini books in the traditional lapbook shutter fold.
Which one should I use? 

When choosing which to use -- lapbooking or notebooking -- here are some things to consider.

  • Lapbook's are generally more suitable for smaller projects that will have a definite end to them, for example a unit study (the solar system, volcanoes, or the rainforest) or a time period within your history curriculum (Australian Aboriginals, Ancient Greece, or New World Exploration).

  • Notebooking, on the other hand, is often used when a topic or project is more ongoing and will have more related documentation.

  • Many people transition from lapbooking to notebooking as their children age.
  • Some people think that lapbooking fits a more creative child. Certainly, lapbooking does offer a lot of chances to be creative with coloured papers, fancy folds, and artwork. But notebooking can be equally as creative. But if your child despises cutting, pasting, and drawing, you may want to avoid lapbooking or modify it to limit how much of the "crafty" part the child himself has to do.
  • Some homeschoolers find certain topics lend themselves better to notebooking or to lapbooking.

Lapbook Sites

Living Literature with Lapbook Learning.

Angi and her dd show their Earth Science Lapbook with lots of pictures. It gives you ideas to help you make your own. Also see her early lapbook's here.

Earth Science Lapbook from Highland Heritage.

Lapbook's By Us shows how one family made lapbook's for different unit studies as well as FIAR. Thanks to Suzanne

Free projects from Making Books with Children include items such as a wish scroll, stick and elastic book, step book and more.

Our Homeschool Style: Lapbooking is a blog from a family who discovered lapbooking a couple of years ago and it has evolved to become the main source of structure in their eclectic homeschool. They have lots of pictures of lapbook's they've done.

Create your own portfolder using poster board instead of file folders.

Graphic organizers you can print to use in your lapbook's

Learn how to Marble Paper using just: shaving cream, tempera paints, paper plates (or trays for larger prints), brushes, combs, paper (cut to size needed), cardboard, sponges for clean-up. Once done, you can use the paper in sketchbooks, bookmaking, lapbook's, greeting cards, notebooks, and more. This is also a fun 4-H project you can make to take to Fair.

Colouring Book of Flags has flags that have been drawn in outline form, suitable for printing to be colored in by hand. You can choose from all the states, a few historical flags, Canadian provinces, and most other regions. These would be excellent to add to any unit study, lapbook, notebook, and even timeline notebook.

Need a template for your lapbook or other project? Templates by Donovan has a lot of templates. Scroll down for the mini-book templates to add to your lapbook's

Homeschool Share has over 100 free templates ranging from folds to graphic organizers and story summaries. They also have Free Lapbook's which are added to frequently. Many of those are literature lapbook's and FIAR.

Lapbook Fever - A personalized visual book

GoogleGroups: Lapbooking with Freebies is a topic based lapbook group where members work together to compile a free set of lapbook materials. All materials sent to the group must be Free.

YahooGroups: Lapbooking This list is for all who are interested in making lapbook's with their children.

Get started with lapbook's at YahooGroups: Lapbooking101

YahooGroup:Lapbooking7up is for those lapbooking with kids ages 12-up.

Book Suggestions

Dinah Zike The Big Book of Books and Activities.

Double Lapbook

How to make a double folder Lapbook.

YouTube Lapbook Lessons: Double Lapbook


Women's Studio Workshop describes many types of folds that might be used.

Mini-Books, Flaps, Folds and More has links that teach you how to make mini-books and flaps of all kinds.

Make Your Own Book has some simple, step-by-step instructions with illustrations to show you how to make some creative and fun.

YouTube Lapbook Lessons: Kite book or triangle fold

How to make a layered book

YouTube Lapbook Lessons: How to make a layered book

Lapbook Supplies

You can use many things in your lapbooks but these companies sell items for lapbookers. Many of them have free samples on their websites.

Homeschool In the Woods has great historical timeline figures to assist in your lapbooks, notebooks, scrapbooks, games and anything else you can think of.

Dinah Zike shows books and folds in the Big Book of Books and Activities and for extra assistance has a video on how to use the book.

Tobin's Lab has The Ultimate Lap Book Handbook, 104 Lap Book Ideas CD ROM, and the Tammy Teaches Lapbooks DVD to help you with your lapbook making.

In the Hands of a Child brings the excitement of hands-on learning to life with Project Packs and Research Packs for students of all ages. Each of the completed projects fits neatly into a file folder; storage is simple and the projects become wonderful keepsakes with an educational value. They also have a quarterly freebie!

Notebooking / Journaling

Notebooking, or Journaling is creatively collecting information in a notebook. If you use a 3-ring binder you can easily add or remove pages. We put our unit studies into notebooks. Angi posts how they've done a history notebook and she uses ProClick Binding machine that has re-openable spines that lock closed to insure secure binding. Notebooking allows a child to have fun while progressing in every area of learning. Samples of journal pages.

NotebookingPages.com offers free homeschool resources such as notebooking pages, lapbooking templates, and many other printables.

YahooGroups: Notebooking is for homeschoolers with an interest in notebooking. For novice to advanced notebookers, ask questions, share resources, pass along favorite tips and ideas.

To Notebook, Lapbook or Scrapbook. This article from Knowledge Quest discusses the similarities and differences of each method of how your child's work has been documented or displayed.

See these posts below for more ideas and great photos!

Lap-n-Note for Rocks in His Head
This blog entry has a slideshow of images taken of their lap-n-note for the book Rocks in His Head. For the pictures (not slideshow) visit this link.
Combine Lapbooks and Notebooking
You've got to visit this page! A great example with clear photos of how to combine a lapbook with notebooking! Very nifty!
Little Homeschool on the Hill
Here is a creative way to put lapbooks into notebooks by using duct tape!
View from the Hill
In this entry, these homeschoolers use a clear page protector and paper fasteners to add notebooking pages to a lapbook. Great photos make her instructions crystal clear.
Daniel Academy's Maya, Inca, and Aztec Notebook
"It's not a lap book, it's not a notebook, I guess it's lap/note book thingy...or I'll just call it a folder book." A great slideshow and explanations.
Peakmore Academy's Examples
Wow! Here is another site you've got to visit if you're wanting to combing lapbooking with notebooking! Amazing photos. Scroll down to see more and more.
Homeschooling His Way
Explanations and photos of how this mom incorporated lapbooking elements into her notebooks.
Snapshots of Our Lives Blog
The classic picture book Harry the Dirty Dog is the topic of this lapbook/notebook combination!
Shades of Pink Blog
This blog entry is Sheri's notebooking FAQ. She uses spiral bound scrapbooks for her children's notebooks. And inside the notebooks there are lots of lapbooking components. Click on the Five in a Row book titles in the left column to see specific examples of their work.

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