by Elizabeth Supan, Monthly Columnist
Can you see it approaching? The end of the year is coming quickly around the corner and there still may be so many things to do! For me, the end of the year means state testing. Our state test is in May, but we have been steadily plugging along with our test taking strategies. My students are ready. They have been working very hard to get ready and I know that they will be very successful on the state test.
How do you keep learning exciting in the weeks leading up to “the test”? It’s simple, really. Student projects are the answer. Last year, I had my students create a project on one of the skills we learned in math during the year. I took the standards, divided them up into 24 different categories and my students chose a concept that interested them.
The projects were lapbooks. Have you heard of lapbooks before? Basically, you take a file folder and fold it so that it will open up like window shutters. Once you have the folder open, there are three sections. A large section in the middle (where the original fold was), and two smaller “window shutters” to the left and the right. Students then create flapbooks and interactive notes (foldables) to go on the sections. Since we use interactive notes often in our classroom, my students were able to create their own with ease.
I gave my students class time to create their lapbooks. I started by giving them a rubric so that they would know how this project would be assessed. Once they knew the criteria, they were able to create their lapbooks to teach the class about the skill they had chosen. I had them create one flapbook with vocabulary for the given skill, another flapbook to teach the main concept of the skill and one more flapbook needed to be a visual drawing of the skill. The rest of the flapbooks that they created were up to the students. They really surprised me with how creative they could “teach” their skill using their lapbooks.
Once all of the projects were completed, I had my students share them with the class. It was a great way to review for “the test”, too! Once each student shared his lapbook, we hung them on the bulletin board for everyone to be able to explore during free time.
This activity was a great way to end the year. It allowed my students time to be creative while still reviewing the skills we covered during the year. I will definitely be completing these projects again this year!