Create A Lapbook-A Few Steps

Create a Lapbook

The time has come. I have given you information on finding free lapbooks. I have given you information on lapbook templates. I have given you information on creating the base. It is now time to put all of this information together to create a lapbook of your own.

Don’t panic. It just takes a little planning. This post will be from the perspective of an elementary school teacher, since that is what I am. I am almost positive the homeschoolers use the same process. So, whether you are a school teacher or homeschool teacher, just follow the process.

Step 1

My first step in the process to create a lapbook is to see what my objectives are for my unit I am studying. These objectives are taken directly from my district curriculum. I open my teacher’s edition to the pages that the unit is presented. I usually make a Unit Plan in a document so I can make sure all the objectives are covered in the lapbook. (I also list the mini books I will be using, just in case.I will also list all materials that will be needed to create a lapbook.)I am working on a third grade unit called “Forces and Motion” where the 3 laws of motion will be examined, therefore, I will be using this as my sample.

Step 2

Now I will begin searching for appropriate worksheets that can be transformed into mini books, or the content or photos, will be useful. I also search for free premade lapbooks because there may be some usable content already made. My ongoing philosophy is, “Why reinvent the wheel.” If somebody already made one, why do I need to do the whole thing over. I am also for, “If you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.” If I borrow or use something from someone else, I am willing and ready to share back.

Now, using the objectives that I need to meet in this unit, I can begin matching worksheets or ideas for mini books to them. I do read the textbooks with my children, so I will use the text to help guide me as well.

I usually do a vocabulary mini book of some kind. Using the correct vocabulary, in other words, academic vocabulary, is the first hurdle in children learning the content. I use the words and the definitions from the book, so there is no confusion about its usage. Here is the one I made for this unit. vocab flapbook motion This is a shutter fold mini book that I copied from a pdf and pasted in a word document. I then inserted text boxes in each square with the vocabulary word. To cut and fold, cut out around the whole book. Then fold on the middle line, and both side ones so you have a very skinny book. Next, open up the folds and cut on the lines separating the words. The children will then lift the flap to write the definition under the flap. Vocabulary Shutterfold Mini book for create a lapbookvocab shutterfold

Marzano academic vocab templateI have also used _vocab_1_frayer_model this template used by Marzano. The children need to know and use these words frequently for them to become a part of their every day language.

Much of learning about science, physics in particular, is allowing and providing hands on activities. What better way to learn about magnetic force than to allow the children to “play” with magnets. So once they have had time to play, I would them have them reflect on what they learned. I found two great mini books about magnets: one from, and another from

I found a wonderful resource about Newton’s Laws of Motion. This resource is a mini book called a window book that allows the children to illustrate the three laws of motion as they are learning about them. Here is the link:

Step 3

As soon as I have all of my objectives covered, I can then create a lapbook design of the base. You will  need to print out all of the mini books and make them. Then place them on the base until they all fit. Sometimes you will need to add extensions. Once it all fits, its time to try it out with the children.

Mini Books

Making Mini Books

For many years I was very involved in rubber stamping and really enjoyed making the pop up cards, window cards, and all kinds of complicated folding cards. Although I was not into origami, I relished the idea of movement in the card. I am sure that is why I enjoy lapbooking so much. The folding and creating of these mini books is fascinating.

Every year when I get a fresh bunch of new third graders they are introduced to the world of lapbooks by making mini books. At first, they have a difficult time cutting, folding, and even pasting because they haven’t done it before. I do a lot of modeling, demonstrating each step in the process, so they can do the same step. Once they have made a couple of mini books, they feel like they are experts. It just takes a little time for them to experience the outcome. Once they see the finished product, they are amazed that they could do it.

This is a template for a Hexagon Petal mini book. The students would cut out on the solid lines, and fold on the dotted lines.hexagon petal mini books

The first picture is a hexagon petal mini book template. The students would cut out on the solid lines, and fold on the dotted lines. The second picture is a finished product of the hexagon petal mini book. After it has been cut and folded, the students now record.

Using Mini Books as an Assessment Tool

I am amazed at what the children write in the mini books. I use the mini books as ann overview or review of what we learned. After I teach the lesson, or we read from our science or social studies books, we launch the mini book of the day. We first cut, fold, and/or whatever needs to be done, then comes the fun stuff.

If there is a lot of vocabulary words in our study, we work with the vocabulary. If there was a lot of content, we work on organizing that content. Graphic organizers are great additions to lapbooks. The information you organize, can be directly organized in a mini book.

Venn-Diagram-GraphicThis venn diagram could be easily converted to a mini book by just folding in each side to the middle and opening up the shutters.

The following pictures are some mini books that have been completed by students. (I did not take pictures of my students’ lapbooks, silly me. So, I used a trusted google search to find these treasures.)

4399134_origvocabulary mini booksimages (1)Aren’t these great?

The children can then color, decorate the books in any way so long as they don’t go overboard. The information they write is the important stuff. I can then assess what they have learned, or what I need to go over the next time.

Name Area and Perimeter

Grid Paper Name Area and Perimeter

Name Area and Perimeter- As my third graders were working on learning area and perimeter I had the children design their names on grid paper. As they made their names tracing the outline of squares on grid paper, they colored the squares in and traced with either marker or black crayon around the letters. We had just finished learning about the section on perimeter and moved on to area. I suggested that they only use the full squares, as we had not yet learned how to estimate using the partial squares for area. I  used half inch grid paper so it was large enough to work with.

The children were then were asked to find the perimeter of each letter, and then their whole name. The same thing was asked of them to find the area of each letter and then the whole name. It was a great way to reinforce the concept of finding perimeter, and learning the new concept of area.

We then compared our names to see if any names had the same area and perimeter. It was interesting to see how shocked they were to find other students with different names but had the same area and/or perimeter.

Patterns to find Name Area and Perimeter

Another idea that could have been done was to have them color their names in patterns, such as a,b,a,b, where “a” is red and “b” is blue. They can find the fraction of red and the fraction of blue squares, either for area or just plain fractions of a set.


area and perimeter mosaic self portraits

I just saw a post on I Want to be a Super Teacher blog about making a mosaic using colored construction paper self portraits and finding the name area and perimeter of these pictures. How adorable is that?

My school does not have bulletin boards, but this name area and perimeter project would have been a great bulletin board! Student learning in action!!!

Name Area and Perimeter- see sample below.

Sample of Name Area and perimeter

name area and perimeter

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How to Fold and Cut a Folder into a Folder Lapbook

How to Fold and Cut a Folder into a Lapbook

A One Folder Lapbook- Shutter Fold

  1. Open a file folder and lay it flat. This can be any kind of folder, legal or letter size, colored, printed, plain.
  2. Fold each side into the middle. The tab of the folder will fit together with the other side.1b54ab4d1655756800407b309cd0a509
  3. The sides now become the cover of the lapbook, creating a shutter fold.How to create a folder lapbook- fold both edges in to middle.

Adding More to the basic folder

  1. If you need more space to place the mini books, you can add extensions by taping a piece of oaktag, a folder that was cut in half, or cardstock to the top of the base. You can then use both the front and back of the extension. You can also add another extension on the bottom. Using decorative tape will most definitely add color and dress up the base.lapbook_extra_flapAstronomy-Lapbook

How to Create a Folder Lapbook

A Fun, Slightly More Complicated Base (But, Oh, so fun to make)

  1. You will need 2 file folders of the same size. Open them both and lay flat.
  2. Take one of the folders and cut on the fold, approximately 1 inch on the top and bottom.single_file_folder_outside_cuts_shown (1)


  1. Take the other folder and cut from approximately 1 inch from the bottom to approximately 1 inch from the top.single_folded_inside_cut_shownimages (3)
  2. Take the first folder that had the two cuts at the top and bottom. You will need to roll the folder into a cylinder and fit it inside the other folder. Let it unroll. Match the cuts at the top and bottom with the uncut sections of the other folder.making_multiple_page_lapbook
  3. This now makes several pages.images (4)

How to Create a Folder Lapbook

One More Way

1. Fold 3 folders and fold them into shutterfolds. DSCN2059

2. Lay them side by side, and fold up each of the shutters.DSCN2062_thumb

3. Glue the first folders’ right hand shutter to the second folders’ left hand shutter.

4. Glue the second folders’ right hand shutter to the third folders’ left hand shutter.040547

All images from images.

Lapbook Basics-What do they look like?

Lapbook Basics- Where Do I Start

I’ve been talking about lapbooks, as if everyone knows exactly what they are. So let me take a post to show and explain exactly what they are. Here are the lapbook basics.

Each lapbook starts with a folder. Depending on how large your topic is, depends on how many folders or faces you need. The folders I use are usually plain manilla file folders, however, you can use just about any kind of folder you want. They make the coolest folders that are already printed, colored, duotang pocket folders, the list and choices are not limited. (all photos taken from google images) I have even used just plain oaktag, or cardstock.

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The size of the folder does not matter either. Letter size or legal size? It all depends on what you will be adding to the overall topic of your lapbook.

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Lapbook Basics- After the Folder

The front of the folder will be the cover. Sometimes there will be already made covers, especially if they are pre-made. I usually have the children create their own covers, and decorate according to the theme. This allows the lapbook to be personalized. The more they own the lapbook, the more they own their learning. I provide tracers so they can letter the cover, markers, crayons, colored pencils, etc.

Here is a photo of a cover from a pre-made lapbook set, and also a cover created by a child.images (2)Debussy-lapbook-600x397

Below is a picture of a lapbook showing two faces.

Beethoven-lapbook-inside-600x397 lapbook basics


These images were taken from


Here is a lapbook that has several faces.

currclick lapbook


The mini books will be displayed on each of the faces.

I love the color. I love the visual effect. I love the learning that goes into making a lapbook. This is just the beginning. My next few posts will be about crafting and building the lapbook.

Please share any lapbooks you may have made. If they are online, please provide the links. I love seeing what people have created.


New Standards Report Cards

I had an 8:00 a.m. teachers meeting this morning. Boy, was my head spinning! It doesn’t take much these days.

One of our Directors of Assessment was showing us what our new standards based report cards will look like. Gone are the days of a one page report card. Gone are the days of letter grades. Gone are the days of averaging grades. This report card was at least 4 pages, if not 5 pages long. Each standard is listed on the card (now a document), and students are to be evaluated in each one.

I bet you can imagine what started running through my mind.  How do we keep track of all of this? That’s what I thought. We will not be implementing these report cards until the next school year, so we have one year to receive professional development using them.

Has anyone started using these report cards yet?

We have been using the standards for quite a while, but have never had to change our thinking, managing, assessments, all at one time. This is a huge undertaking, but a necessary one.

Let’s try and share ideas. I am just starting out, I hope some of you have had some experience and lead us in the right direction.

End of Year Activities

End of Year Activities

As the days are getting warmer, the end of year activities are bouncing around in my brain. Packing up the classroom, end of year records and files, meetings, planning for next year…..sound familiar? The sound of the ocean is calling, but so much to do before it is a reality.

I was thinking about what to do with my class this year. In the past I have had the children make their own yearbook just by stapling papers together, decorating the first page, then collecting their friends autographs. We usually have several days at the end of the year that are shortened days, and this makes a great activity for those days.

End of Year Activity- All About Me Lapbook

Of course we have field day, and signing shirts, too. So maybe I can do a lapbook of “All About Me.” I downloaded several examples, so I have to choose which one I will use. You can try looking for one at

There is a cute All About Me lapbook displayed at that was made by the blogger. It is cute and colorful. You could possibly copy some of their ideas.

I just found this site called Doodle Art Alley There are lots of printable pages of doodles. The page I put the link in is of famous quotes with about 50 different choices. On the right side of the site is a link at their page of End of the School Year Printables. Here are some examples of these doodles:

1240602_orig4351323_orig 7288734_orig 7535163_origHow great would these be in a memory book. There is even a doodle that says autographs. I hope you check it out. There are so many categories, you can find something!

Here is a great idea and end of year activity for your class to make their own class yearbook. When our children get their school pictures we receive back a sheet with all of the kids pictures so we can place them in their permanent record folder. This photo sheet has about 4 pictures of each child. You could place one photo of each child on a piece of copy paper. Photo copy this sheet of photos for each child. The children can then put copy paper together in a book form and they can cut and paste the photos of their classmates in the pages. They can also use it as an autograph book!!

The Movie, “Frozen” End of Year Activities

I have also been mulling over having a Frozen Day as an end of year activities. I figured that by the end of the year in June it would be so hot that watching the movie Frozen would be a welcome interlude. I also found a marshmallow launcher at a yard sale. Wouldn’t it be fun to have a snowball fight with marshmallows? Or target practice using the marshmallow launcher?

Here is a link to make your own marshmallow launcher with PVC pipes. It could be very simple to more complex.

end of year activities Marshmallow Launcher from PVC Pipes

Marshmallow Launcher from PVC Pipes

Here is a link for a Frozen Scavenger Hunt clues to download: Scavenger Hunt Clues

Here is a link for a Frozen Bunting Banner: Frozen Bunting Banner

How about pin the nose on olaf?

Or, dividing the class up into teams. Give each team a roll of toilet paper. The first team to make one of their team members into a snowman, wins. Have hats, scarves, etc. on hand to place on the human snowman.

I was at a shower one time and the game was melt the ice. A plastic baby was frozen in ice cubes and the first one to melt the cube to get the baby was the winner. What if a figure of a Frozen character was frozen in an ice cube. The child who melted their ice cube first to get the character first is the winner! Christof would love this game!

A cute snack is melted olaf- a cup with ranch dressing in the bottom, a carrot and pretzel sticks!

Blue Jello- after the jello is mixed, pour into a shallow baking dish. Cool. Cut into cubes.

In the winter, Scholastic had their Dollar Days Book Sale. They had children’s book for a dollar and more. I was thinking the theme of winter in June- following the Frozen Theme. I bought lots of sets of books for $1 each about snow or winter. There were Animal Ark, Cam Jansen, a couple more about animals, I just can’t remember exactly which ones. Sorry. So this week, I will have the children read the winter books, since it finally got to about 80 today.


What do you do for the end of the year activities? Please share….



Lapbook Examples

Lapbook Examples

As I am showing you about lapbooks and where to start, so I wanted to show you some very clever and amazing lapbooks. I can’t say that the ones I create with my children in school look absolutely fabulous, because they don’t. That is not my focus. I am using the lapbooks as assessment tools, so I concentrate on the content, not so much the visuals.

I found a site from 2 homeschool moms that have several free lapbooks. I chose this site because of the pictures of the finished lapbooks. Many times the creators of the lapbooks will give you a map or plan of how the mini books are placed on the folders. With this link you can see a completed plan along with free downloads of the mini books. This link will take you to a lapbook which is about Winter.

Winter Lapbook examples

Many times, as I am looking for ideas, looking at other lapbook examples helps. Inspiration comes from many places. As I search for lapbooks on a topic,  many different levels and age groups will appear. Since I am teaching 3rd grade, I probably won’t be using a lapbook created for a preschooler, or for a 6th grader. I look to see what is available. I try to find a creative way use different mini books. I always need to keep in mind what the objectives are of the unit I am studying.

Gigi Scrap Delights Blog has some fantastic scrapbook ideas to incorporate into the lapbooks. These lapbook examples are color coordinated, with a whole color palate. There are also some mini book templates.


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Lapbook Mini Book Templates

In my last post I had shared a link to a website that had a plethera (lots and lots) of lapbooks. I hope you enjoyed looking around. I go back often to see what has been added since the last time I was there. Homeschool Helpers is a great place to start with anything to do with lapbooking. Homeschoolers are a sharing bunch! It is a daunting task to homeschool your children. Leaning on others can get you through many tough times.

Lapbook Mini Book Templates

Lapbook mini book templates are the mini books that are adhered to the folders which have been put together to make the lapbook. The template is the outline and folding directions. The mini books are the content of the lapbooks. There are so many different mini books you could use in your lapbook and making sure you don’t use the same mini book in a lapbook can get difficult. There are certain mini books that are so easy to prepare and easy for the children to respond to content, but, you need to make sure to not overuse these.

The following pictures will show you what the some of the templates look like.

template2J3 lapbook mini book template pyramidTriangle Book 41c2671bb70921dc5433eaa56bc6232dFlap Book

bpuzzle Puzzle Book  minibook-master-template-0024 Books

key_fan Fan Book 296c2707037846fb5ec9fd96c103fa16

template_bottomJtemplate_topJWindow Book

If you can picture these lapbook mini book templates in a lapbook, you are on your way to starting lapbooking. Here is a picture of a lapbook that has some of these lapbook mini book templates in it. lapbook mini book templates displayed in lapbookThese mini books can be printed on colored paper. They could also be left blank and the children can then decorate them. The idea is to put the content of the lapbook in the mini book. Some of the lapbook templates lend themselves to certain features of content.

Where can I find these lapbook mini book templates?

I would like to share a link today that has quite a few templates, printables, and ideas for lapbooks. There are the mini book designs that are pre-made for you. All you need to do is print them out! This is not the only place, however. But it is the best place to start. They have many templates available for downloading, even editable ones.

Editing Lapbook Mini Book Templates

Another thing you can do is add your own text on the template. Sometimes you may want to make sure you put the correct labels on the mini books. If the lapbook template is in a pdf. format, I use the copy tool, click and drag the tool around the template. It makes a copy and then I open my word processing program and paste the template in a document. Then you insert text boxes with your own content.

I have created a tutorial to help you with this endeavor. Here is the link.

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