Lapbooking, once the territory of homeschoolers, is becoming increasingly popular in classroom settings, at least if one may judge by the increasing number of articles online explaining how to use lapbooking in the classroom setting.  Personally, I love it for my kids, and they love it, too.  It’s much more fun than just repeating or writing in a notebook or coloring worksheets, and it gives them a sense of accomplishment when they finish their lapbooks and take them home to their parents.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find much information online about lapbooking for EFL learners.  (The all-knowing Google failed me on this one; my search turned up only two really relevant results, and of the two, only one was actually useful and practical.)

But where Google fails, good ol’ human creativity steps in and takes over.  We’ve done two lapbooks so far, one using some of our special sounds (we use A Beka in the classroom, so it was based on that) and one using our Family vocabulary.  The special sounds book had more minibooks (a minibook in the shape of a train, for example, where we wrote vocabulary words beginning with the tr sound; one of a fish for words with sh); the Family book was a bit more fun, with pockets that held paperdolls and puzzle pieces (paper dolls of each family member we had learned, and a puzzle of a family portrait that they colored and cut out), “portraits” of family members, a spinning wheel with four different family members (mom, dad, brother, sister), etc.

Matchbooks are great for vocabulary words.  I put the word in English on the front and the Spanish word and a picture on the inside.

Accordion books are a fun way to list vocabulary words that begin with the same special sound or that have the same vowel sound.

Shutterfold books are also great for vocabulary.

Pockets are fun for holding puzzles, paper dolls, and popsicle-stick puppets; we used them for our family lapbook this year, but they would also be great for community helpers/jobs and careers, transportation, and school supplies.

Pockets are also great for sorting games; we made pockets with different vowel sounds (short e, long e, special sound e) and I printed off little cards with vocabulary words (help, heat, he, shell, sheep, she, etc.) and had them sort them into the appropriate pocket.  With older kids, you could turn it into a contest – who can sort the fastest – and award a prize or sticker to the winner, but with little kids, I tend to avoid “contests”, and instead handed out stickers to everyone who correctly sorted their cards within a certain time limit.

My kids are too little to write much yet (kindergarteners!), so our lapbooks tend to rely heavily on visual elements, rather than written ones, but even so, we have done some copywork from the whiteboard, including writing family words (mom, dad, brother, sister, etc.) on a tri-fold book, and writing vocabulary words in a minibook.

It’s almost the end of the school year here in Peru.  We only have a few more weeks, which means that there really isn’t much time to make new lapbooks.  However, for next year, I plan to incorporate lapbooks from much earlier in the year, and with many different topics.


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