I need some help, please. I’d like to start notebooking with my kids (3rd and 1st grade), but I’m not exactly sure how to begin. I’m thinking of using them for science and history units. Specifically, I’m wondering if there is some kind of template to use for each subject, not blank pages, but more of a list of topics to research for each subject? I think having something like this would really help us, at least for starters, until my kids gain some confidence using this approach. For example, if I was to do an animal study, they could research geography, diet, habitat, etc. However, I feel completely lost with knowing what to include with other history and science subjects and really need some guidance. Is there a book or planning guide that specifically spells out what to investigate/include for other main topics?
I find notebooking to work best when it is more child-driven than parent-driven. So I try not to come up with very specific things I want them to notebook. I usually don’t ask them more than a few questions and then provide them some materials. To me, notebooking is really just a form of narration.
One good way to get ideas would be to look at sites where others show their notebooking pages.
But the best tool for us has been the “journalist questions” It is very simple but seems to help the kids to narrate at times AND to do pages for their notebooks. If you took journalism in school, you’ll recognize these.
WHO? What people did we read about? (or perhaps animals, 🙂 Why were they important, what did they do? When did they live? Were they successful or unsuccessful? God-honoring or not?
WHAT? What happened here? Was there an event, or a process? Is something ABOUT to happen?
WHEN? When did all this take place? What else was going on in the world at the same time?
WHERE? Where did this happen? MAPS!
WHY? Can we tell why these people acted the way they did? Why did this event occur? Why was it here and not somewhere else? Now and not another time? What would have happened if X had not happened? Was it similar or different to another event or another person?
I find that approaching topics like this makes it pretty easy to find materials, also. Several “newspaper” style forms, a bunch of maps, and some lined paper and timeline figures/coloring pages will do it. Also we keep things around for lab reports, nature study, etc.
With young children I’d just keep it very, very simple. Maybe “who” and “what” questions would be plenty, with a few very simple maps. Notebooking, if overdone or “pushed” too much, really tends to become “busywork” and not much better than worksheets. Now, I love notebooking! My kids’ notebooks are treasures. But when *I* came up with all kinds of nifty page ideas and “made” them do it, they didn’t learn as much as they do when I ask them a few thoughtful questions and turn the process over to them. This can be hard! My “inner scrapbooker” can think up so many really cool things to do, lol.
There is one resource I can think of that might help you along with some visuals, and that is Jennifer Steward’s Everything You Need to Build a Unit Study Notebook. You can find Jennifer’s materials here:
I’ve had this for several years, and while I don’t always do ALL the things in her book, the newspaper-page template she provided has been something I’ve used over and over and over again.
I hope this helps! It might also help you to decide just WHAT purpose you have for the notebooking. Is it going to be a variety of narration? A “showpiece” for school district or family members? A research tool? A way to get your children more involved? Your purpose might help you decide how elaborate you want to get, whether you are going to “assign” or let your kids come up with the pages, do things in their own “style” or way.
Thanks for your help, Michelle. Yes, I am hoping to get the kids more involved. They really seem to enjoy rolling up their sleeves and researching. They have a WAY different attitude towards doing that than workbook-ey stuff, so I thought I’d give it a try. Also, they are very creative, so, again, this approach seems right up their alley. I’m sure seeing notebook samples would be very helpful; I’m just having trouble locating some. I’ll give that book you posted about a try, and if you, or anyone else, can think of any good notebooking links (specifically with samples), I’d love to check them out.
You might consider joining one of the notebookign email groups. I belong to a few although I’m on digest, but I’m pretty sure there are some pictures and other ideas in the files.
Also, I don’t know how her website is any more, but the first large collection of notebooking pages I ever saw was on Cindy Rushton’s old website. I’m not sure if she still has those up–she has several different websites now, I think. I haven’t been on there for a while.
Robin Sampson with Heart of Wisdom has a great notebooking/scrapbooking site with many sample pages. Incase you’re interested http://www.scrapbookingtolearn.com Also if you click on the store link there are even more sample pages.
Another great notebooking resourse we’ve found if you want something a bit more simple is http://www.holdthatthought.com
Happy Notebooking 🙂
I don’t know about a book that tells you “what to investigate/include for other main topics.” I think that your own study should direct that type of thing.
But as far as examples, here are some pages where I’ve written about and shown pics of notebooking:
And this page is a good basic overview with links to free, online notebooking pages:
Oops, thought of some more:
Carnival of Notebooking:
http://www.notebook learning. com/2008/ 04/its-carnival- of-notebooking. html
Thanks for your help, everyone! I’m so excited to have so many great starting points. I also recently saw a sample page of Dina Zike’s ‘Big Book of Ideas’, or something like that. It had a few suggestions for what to include/research on a variety of subjects. Has anyone seen or used that book? At this point, I’m leaning more towards making binder pages rather than actual lapbooks, but it looks pretty adaptable. What a great approach to learning!! I can’t wait to get started!
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