Sunday, May 27, 2012

Lapbooks and Cheesecake!

Let me take a minute to address my post regarding Staples new rewards program for teachers.  I thank everyone who commented.  It seems I am not alone in my dismay with this revised program.  Please, reach out to Staples and let them know how you feel, whether you agree with me or agree with them.  It is important for our voices to be heard either way.  I would love to see them revert back to the old program or at least offer up some reason as to why the change was necessary.

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I wrote a post a while back about foldables and lapbooks.  If you haven't seen the post, go visit.  I was able to link to some great pdfs of foldable books by Dinah Zike, the queen of all things foldable! :-)  I used some of her foldable ideas on lapbooks my friends were working on recently.  I have done lapbooks on occasion before, but they are not a staple in my teaching for one main reason; they take a long time to get done!  While I do believe they are worth every minutes spent on them, the current curriculum I have to follow does not allow me to linger.  I know that they can be done in less time if you do them on a smaller scale, but mine always seem to take on a life of their own! 

I like doing them because you can really do so much with them.  Most importantly, my friends love the project feel of it all.  Every time I have done them, my friends are always eager to work.  Also, when they see their final project completed, they are a little in awe of themselves.  Love it!

In our guided reading groups, my friends were working in three different books, one on volcanoes, one on King Tut, and the last on the history of Jazz music.  Speaking of which, on a total aside, do you know the Cheesecake song as sung by Louis Armstrong?  If you don't know it, watch this!  I show this to my friends every year, and we end up singing it all year long.  I promise you will have this song stuck in your head!  And, just wait for Bing Crosby to come hopping through!  Too funny!

Isn't that just great!!!!  We will often substitute the word cheesecake with pizza or tacos or any featured lunch menu item. Any two syllable word will work.  Most of my friends are also in their second year of instrumental lessons, so they love seeing some of the instruments they play featured.

Anyway, back to lapbooks!  I thought I would show you some of what we did.  I forgot to get pictures of the Jazz books, but here is some of what my friends did with Volcanoes and King Tut.  Be warned, many pictures to follow!

One of the big lessons for this activity was getting my friends to effectively summarize and show synthesis.  I'm happy to say they did a very nice job.  What was also another perk was the interest my friends had for the books they didn't read. Once they saw the various lapbooks, they wanted to read all the books.

I have to say, I do love doing lapbooks with my friends.  But, for me, it can be very time consuming.  It also requires a lot of pre-planning.  You have to have the foldable papers cut to size and ready to go.  You also have to carefully plan what you will be doing with each section.  You also need to be prepared for that friend whose fine motor skills make a mess of the folding!  Always have some extras ready to go!

Having said that, I will definitely be doing lapbooks again next year.  :-)


  1. Wow, what a great post! Aside from now loving the cheesecake song (and even the Muppet's Dr. Teeth rendition), I am impressed with your lap books. I tried one earlier this year for Ancient China, but I really didn't know what I was doing. It ended up more like a picture museum- but the kids liked it. I've been experimenting with foldables ever since, and have made some good use of them in my current economics unit. Tonight I'll be posting the store foldable sample we'll be making this week- and now that I think about it, it is a little like a lap book. So hey! I'm learning! Seeing the pictures of the King Tut foldable were very inspiring for me- thanks for posting!
    Feel free to check out my shop foldable/lapbook for the econ unit and give me some pointers.

  2. I love your foldables! The level of student work makes me miss 5th grade. :) I'm a new blogger and I love your blog.


  3. I love your lapbook idea. I really want to use those in Social Studies this year. I tried making a reading portfolio lap book with my 3rd graders for the first time this week, I was very nervous but it went really well! Foldables are awesome!


    Learning With Laughter

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  5. This is so wonderful. I would love to do this with my students. How many lapbooks do you do with your friends each year? How long is the unit of study? How long does it take to create one or how long do you give the students to complete one?

    1. Hi Crystal. I generally do 2 or 3 during the year. As for how long the unit of study is, well it depends on the unit. Some are longer than others. Sometimes, if it's a guided reading group project, it just takes as long as it takes to get the lapbooks done. For me, it takes a long time to create them, but we do it ober time. We usually do it in parts, so the students are always on a deadline for certain sections. However, you can assign it as a whole project. I find my friends do better with more guidance along the way. One way to speed it all up is to cut the file folder in half. Then, you create two lapbooks from one file folder. It makes for a smaller lapbook to complete!

  6. Hi Nancy, I love your site! I read Book Whisperer this past month because of your recommendation. I read it in a day and am inspired to try and teach reading with new lenses on. Since I love to search blogs I finally decided to bite the bullet and make my more thing to do but am excited to have a place with all my notes etc.
    I was wondering what is the best way to get involved with blogging and how do you get followers etc? I just did my first 2 blogs. Thanks for being a great teacher and sharing so much! My blog is not much to look at yet but hopes to get more soon.

  7. Where do you print out the papaers ????