Sometimes in a classroom it can be hard to commit yourself to doing a whole lapbook. There’s the cost, of course (not that manila folders are all that expensive, but it does add up), but more than that, there’s the time commitment. And as carefully-thought-out as your lesson plan may be, there will always be something that takes longer than you thought, or that needs explaining more than you expected, or simply interruptions that you didn’t plan on. (Such as the student who threw up in the middle of the classroom floor….)
Sometimes a lapbook that was supposed to be finished in a week hasn’t gone home for almost a month. Sometimes pieces somehow get lost and lapbooks end up incomplete. Sometimes I just can’t think up enough original elements to make a whole lapbook.
More and more in the past few weeks, I’ve been doing individual minibooks and sending them home with the kids the same day. One of our favorites is the Flip-Flap Book , a version of the Shutterfold minibooks. We do a four flap book, so the folds are really simple, which means that little hands can do them on their own (and I save a TON of time!). Half sheets of colored paper make fun little books to record the day’s vocabulary words; the English word goes on the outside, and the Spanish word and a picture go on the inside.
To make the books, each student gets one half-sheet of colored paper (they get to pick the colors!). I demonstrate the folds and cuts on a separate sheet of paper: first, we fold it in half the long way (like a hot dog). Then we open it and fold it in half the short way (like a hamburger). Then we fold it in half again in the same direction, making a “baby hot dog”.
When we unfold the paper, we have our fold lines; one long center fold line, and three shorter ones. We then cut the three fold lines up to the center fold line. (We had a lot of little pieces lying around the first time we tried this; in spite of demonstrating it right there in front of them, a lot of the kids didn’t pick up on that “up to the center line” thing.)
Once they’re cut, we then fold the flaps down and start writing/drawing. I demonstrate everything on the board, and most words I write out in large letters for them to copy. The four-fold flaps are perfect, since we usually introduce four new vocabulary words at a time.