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Organization - notebooking, lapbooking, projects, crafts

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The past few years I have done very few projects in our school time. This year will be different I hope!


I'm normally a crafty person so not doing them was depressing for me and the kids want to do it too. Our first year was great for projects and then I fizzled.


I'm feel very unorganized though. I want to really be prepared for notebooking/lapbooking... I'm not sure which I'll do but they are very similar it seems so I'm not getting hung up on that right now. It's organizing the supplies that has me frustrated.


The only thing I've decided on for sure is that I'm making a poster of sample foldables. I'm organzing them by the amount of data they can typically hold. I figure this will let the kids choose more easily what to do for whatever info they are inputting. We will take a day to practice foldables before we start so they know how to make them.


But now to organize the supplies... I guess paper is the messiest? What works better stacked drawers or hanging files? I'm thinking drawers since there will be scraps... those seem to get lost in file folders. Plus the paper doesn't stay flat. BUT drawers take up a lot of space so I want to be sure it's best before I commit to them.


And then how do I make it happen?


My first year I actually preplanned the whole lapbook so I knew where every piece of info would fit. But I don't want to be quite that controlling anymore... I'm doing this with 4th and 5th graders mostly and they need to own the process. But at the same time I hated last year on our one attempt where the kids made things and then it didn't fit nicely into the lapbook. I was considering starting with post it notes. Writing the info down as we go and sticking it into the lapbook where they think they want it. Then when a section is finished they'd transfer the info onto the foldables.


Is there a better way?


Anything major I'm missing?


I figured glue, markers, colored pencils... those can all be in a thingymajiggy on top of the drawers?


My kids are each crafty in their own way so they can take this and do it if I set them up for success. If you have any good advice please help me help them!

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I do a lot of lapbooks.

I usually buy the pre-made ones from HOAC, though I often add some things to them.

In this way, neither the kids nor I need to figure out what kind of foldable to use. I just pull the next activity out of my binder, which I pre-print during the summer before the school year.


I have the kids usually do one activity at the end of our school day (or two at the most).

After they finish the foldable, they usually glue it to a cardstock background so it looks nicer, though that is not necessary.


After the foldables are dry, I put them in a Ziplock gallon bag (a separate bag for each child).

When we are done with all of the activities for a particular lapbook, the kids take their Ziplock bags and determine how they will organize the foldables and how many extra cardstock pages they need me to tape into the folder. This skill of organizing and planning the project is a useful one for the kids to practice. If the kids need an extra page or two later, it is not difficult to add them.


During the summer before the school year, I pre-print the activities and directions, and I keep these in a 3-ring binder in the order in which we will do them.

I keep our cardstock and construction paper (for backgrounds and extra pages), as well as our file folders, in a large box in a cabinet. I take the box out when we are doing lapbooks.

I have a tupperware box for scissors and glue, and a pencil box for pencils, pens and erasers.


I think drawers would work better than file folders.


Does that help at all?

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I have shelves in our closet in the school room. There are tubs for the papers to go in. There is one for scraps.


My bigger issue is how to STORE Everythign AFTER! So, I have begun taking a picture or scanning it in if it is 8.5 x 11. What fits in a 3 ring binder can go in there until the end of the year. If it doesn't fit, I have a milke crate right now that things like that go in.


I scan on Fridays or Saturdays anything I want from that week. Then, I will save it in a computer file for them to review. I can turn it into a slide show at the end of the year, use it on a blog, etc. And, as the end of the year hits, we will toss the physical papers and have the pictures. :)

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