Thursday, December 18, 2008

My Father's Dragon Lapbook

Several weeks ago we received a note from my oldest son's Montessori school that they would be reading My Father's Dragon as a read-aloud. They encouraged parents to read the book at home with their child as well. Luckily, we had a copy, pulled it out and started reading it. The other great thing is that this coincided with our Thanksgiving break AND I had just recently found out about a fantastic website with lots of free printables for lapbooking called Homeschoolshare. AND..............they had a totally great set of printables just for this book. So, we started the lapbook over Thanksgiving break. My son LOVED it. There are printable activities for each chapter of the book, and he was very eager to finish each chapter and do the corresponding activities. For the link to this particular book's activities, click here. I cannot say enough about this amazing website and the resources available, but I WILL say more about it at the end of this post. :0)

My son finished his lapbook a few weeks ago, and he looks at it each day. It is a really special product that he will always have to remember a very special favorite book. In honor and recognition of his hard work on this project, I wanted to showcase it here on the blog.

Photo courtesy of

Here is a photo of the book. There are two more books in the series and we have already ordered the next one. The third one is available in our public library.

The above photo shows the cover of his lapbook. He enjoyed using my scrapbooking alphabet stickers to put the title on the front. I am new to lapbooking, but I think the correct word for how we folded this book is a shutterfold. For the base of this lapbook we used one regular manilla file folder, opened it flat and folded each side to the center fold to make the "shutters." On the inside I cut another file folder in half and taped one half to the top and one to the bottom to increase the amount of space for projects.

This photo shows the lapbook fully opened. The flaps sticking up on the top and bottom are the two halves of the second file folder that I cut apart and taped onto the original file folder. You can see that we also used the inside of the shutter-flaps to attach projects.

This photo shows the lapbook with the inner vertical flaps folded in. You can lift up the center flap (the one with the dragon and knapsack) to reveal more information on the underside.

This photo shows the top flap (described and shown in the previous photo) folded up to reveal the information on the underside of the bottom flap. If this is confusing, refer back to the fully open photo and it might make more sense.

This didn't photograph well, but I wanted to show a map my son drew of the islands from the book. He drew things from each chapter and labelled them on the map according to what went with each chapter. He totally initiated this on his own tonight. This kid would be completely happy with a stack of blank paper, a pencil, some crayons or colored pencils and his favorite books. I'm serious. That's one of the many things I love so much about him. He gets completely absorbed in something and his creativity is unstoppable.

Tonight he also pulled out some of our toy animals to represent the ones from the book and acted out each chapter. Again, completely self-initiated. I was downstairs for a bit talking to the DH, and my younger son was playing down there. I heard my big boy yelling upstairs and went up to investigate. He was just acting out part of the story where the wild boars are yelling about the evidence of an invasion they have found on the island. It was totally cute and so typical of how he plays. I am so grateful I started this blog to preserve some of the memories of the little wonders like this that go on in our household each day. Now we'll never forget our weeks of being in love with a great book and all the extensions and creativity that resulted from that. a little more gushing about the Homeschoolshare website. One thing I am doing for the boys for Christmas is buying them each several new books. Homeschoolshare was instrumental in helping me choose which books because they have a TON of printable resources for the Five in a Row book study series. If you are not familiar with Five in a Row it is worth checking out. I bought the original Five in a Row manual at a homeschool book fair a few years ago. The concept behind this is that you choose a book (the manual lists several) and read it to your child each day for five days in a row. And each day you focus on a different aspect of the story and therefore cover many curricular areas all related to that one book. For example, one day you might study geography by finding the location of the book's setting on a map. Next, you might learn about art by carefully studying the book's illustrations. The Homeschoolshare website has lapbooking resources for many of the Five in a Row (FIAR) titles. (Click here to see the resources they have for the Papa Picolo lapbook.) And that is how I selected which books to buy the boys. For each book I am giving them, we will be able to do a lapbook project. I am WAY excited about this. I haven't decided yet how I will give them the books. On a blog a while back (I can't remember which one, which drives me nuts!) I loved the idea someone had of wrapping each book separately and then tying them up in a stack with a ribbon. What I am thinking is that I will do this, but have the boys open their stacks sometime AFTER the craziness of Christmas. I may even date each wrapped book so they can look forward to opening them gradually over time. I will definitely be doing a post here soon about the books I've chosen for this. What I am really excited about is that I found books that I never would have considered or even known about otherwise. Jane Claire Lambert, the author of the FIAR manuals, has really carefully thought out the books she highlights in her manuals. And I appreciate that so much because I am sure we will make some new book friends and favorites that way that we wouldn't have otherwise!


Laura H said...

I love your blog. Great ideas.

I want to check out lapbooking but my kids are young. (3 years old) . Do they have stuff for younger kids??

Anonymous said...

Hi there!! I am a "lurker" on both of your blogs but had to say HI after you mentioned 2 of my favorite resources! :) We are a homeschooling family who has used FIAR for 3-4 years now. And, I have become friends online with Ami, the creator of Homeschool Share. I help write units for the site and also help moderate the message board that we have just recently created for HSS!! :) It truly is a fabulous resource, much thanks to Ami and her husband for wanting to bless all of us by organizing and doing all this for free!! :)

Your first commenter, Laura - YES there are TONS of preschool leveled literature based unit studies AND lapbooks on homeschool share!! Here is a direct link to the preschool leveled resources!

Thanks for sharing all that YOU do with the montessori blog and your home blog!! I love all the hands-on stuff and have incorporated many of your ideas into our homeschool!!


Laura said...

Thanks for your comment and helpful suggestions. My son and I are now reading "Elmer and the Dragon" and I'm making up my own lapbook for it using the free resources on Homeschoolshare. Maybe I'll try to submit my ideas to them.
Thanks again!

Laura H said...

Thanks to both of you for the ideas. I'm going to start our first lapbook in Jan.