Thursday, January 8, 2009

Grammar Lapbook

I am an English teacher by training and I am always curious about different ways to teach grammar. Primarily, I taught high school students ( mostly 12th graders) and it always puzzled me that majority of the average to below average students did not know their grammar AT ALL. I would say quietly to myself- "How did you ever get this far?". After having my three kids and watching Kid #1 go to 1st grade in public school, I began to wonder about this even more. My son would have mounds of GRAMMAR homework in the 1st grade - the same basic concepts that those 12th graders had not mastered!

Anyway, I will step off the soapbox. Now that I am schooling my own children I can teach the way I think works best. Now for middle and high schoolers, I believe that integrating grammar instruction into their actual writing is the way to go, but I believe that in the younger grades you can provide a basic foundation of concepts. The way that I am going to do this is with a variation of manipulatives. This is where my lapbook idea comes in to play. I had these pocket word cards that I bought from the Schoolbox store and I thought it would be great to teach the parts of speech using these cards.

For the lapbook, I used large matchbook templates from Homeschoolshare and made one for each major part of speech. I then tried to divide up the word cards into the pockets.

I used the idea of a mini office type lapbook that I saw on Lapbook Lessons to make a large pocket in the middle of the lapbook to put various sheets that I created that mimic a sentence diagram. I made a lot of variations that could be used with different types of sentences ( simple, compound nouns, or compound verbs).

What I am going to do with my kids is have them create their own sentences and then pick out the different parts of speech and figure out where they go on the sentence diagram. I feel that this will help my hands on learners and make grammar a little more than book work.

Again this is my theory on grammar instruction and I will have to wait a few years to see if it works!:)

Safari Lapbook

My youngest child is wild about animals. His primary interest is in the animals from Africa. While I was trying to create the different lapbooks for my other kids, he wanted one for himself. After some thought, he decided that he wanted a "Safari Lapbook". Well, I wasn't sure what that exactly was but I tried to put together a little something that could pass as a safari lapbook.

Since most of the animals that he is interested in reside in Africa, I first started with a map of Africa with each country defined. I got this map from a Google images search of "map of Africa". My original concept was to have the map of Africa in the middle and have a pocket for various countries that held some of the animals found in those countries. I thought for a while about how to arrange the file folders to accommodate such a large space and then decided to make use of that extra poster board in the closet!:)

When you open the lapbook I wanted to have something where we could talk about how you get to Africa. I wanted to make sure he understood that it is not down the street!:) I used a lapbook template from Homeschoolshare
and Google images for the clip art safari guide.

After further opening the book, you will find a T book where we highlighted the "big five" animals found in Africa. Again I used a template for the book from Homeschoolshare and Google images for the pictures of the animals. Son #3 cut and pasted these in place. I had fun making the little road for this section. Silly, I know, because I am not sure there is actually black top roads in the safari but it is cute in the book! I used actual street signs from Africa for the street signs along the road. Again, Google images helped me out there.

Now for the main part- when the lapbook is fully opened you can see the map of Africa and the large matchbooks for the various countries. No rhyme or reason for my selection of the countries. Many I chose them so that I could spread them out around the map. I used a couple of great sites for the animal images. Majority of them were from the country I was focusing on for that matchbook.

Ultimately, my goal is for Son #3 to write about each animal on the back of their card. Hopefully, as we continue in our geography studies, we can add more animals and maybe more countries.