Monday, August 28, 2017

REVIEW: An Overview of the 20th Century by A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks

We very much enjoyed our opportunity to review An Overview of the 20th Century by A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks.


An Overview of the 20th Century is a very easy-to-use printable (or pre-printed) lapbook pack from A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks that is intended for grades 2-7.  I used it with my 4th and 8th graders.

The topics covered include the Wright brothers, Henry Ford, the Panama Canal, World Wars I & II, women’s suffrage, the roaring twenties, Charles Lindbergh, the Great Depression, the Hoover Dam, propaganda posters, the Cold War, the 1950’s, the Vietnam War, the civil rights movement, John F. Kennedy, the lunar landing, the boom of technology, the Persian Gulf War, and the Y2K scare.  That’s 20 different topics that give an excellent synopsis of the 20th century!

It’s available for download for just $8, or if you prefer a printed version, it’s $18.00.


Right away, I was impressed with how easy this project was to set up.  My kids don’t particularly enjoy the assembly part of lapbooks…the cutting out and gluing are not their favorite things to do.  So I decided to try a different approach and pre-assemble the entire lapbook before we began.  It actually worked for us quite well and probably led to a greater level of enjoyment for them!  It certainly made using it easier for me, as well, since it was always ready-to-go whenever we wanted to work on it.  And it really didn’t take me that long to print it out and get the whole thing assembled.  I sat down one evening and got the whole thing ready by myself.  The whole project gets printed on regular paper, so that makes it easy to print up and prepare, too.  No colored paper or cardstock is required.


The kit contains full instructions for the layout and assembly of your lapbook, so even if you have never made a lapbook before, you could easily follow the instructions and be successful if this were your first attempt.  Personally, I have never liked traditional lapbooks made from file folders, so I made mine from sheets of colored cardstock taped together into a book.  It makes it less awkward and unwieldy for me, and it’s easier to store.  So after I made my lapbook, I stored it in the clear cover of a binder so that it acted as a label for the binder.  Then I put all of the study guide pages and instructions for completing each lapbook piece inside the binder all whole-punched and in order.  So whenever we wanted to work on it, all I had to do was grab the binder, and everything we needed was right there.  Doing it this way made this the easiest lapbook we’ve ever completed, so I would definitely take this approach again!


One of the things I like most about these lapbooks from A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks is that all the materials are very straight-forward and easy to follow.  Each topic had a one-page summary that I read aloud to the kids.  The summaries were very concise yet informative.  Even I learned a few things!  There were lots of interesting and fascinating facts included to peak everyone’s interest.  I found myself sharing tidbits with even my husband and adult son!  Needless to say, we enjoyed this very much.  And once we read the study guide topic, I just turned the page to the instructions for completing that particular lapbook element, and one of the kids would complete it.  It included activities like labeling the parts of a plane, completing a crossword puzzle or a word search, defining related terms, coloring flags or pictures, recording an interesting fact, or noting why someone was a significant historic figure.  Maps were also used to show routes or boundaries, we listed countries on each side of a war.  For the Great Depression, there were even a few recipes that we could try! 


And even though my daughter just started 8th grade, this was still a great review activity for her, and I’m pretty sure she learned a thing or two, as well!  She did most of the writing, and I plan to go through these with my 4th grader once the lapbook is finished so I can use the completed project as a teaching tool for him as we study the various topics going forward.  It makes a lovely keepsake, and the interactive elements will make it a fun way for my younger son to learn!  I plan to keep the binder in tact with the study guides and the completed lapbook inside the clear cover where it will be protected. 


We were able to complete 16 of the 20 topics during the review period.  I really liked the way we went about it, because it made it easy to do as much or as little at a sitting as we wanted.  The study guides also included a few extra activities, like finding a picture of the first Ford Delivery Truck or pictures of toys from the 50’s and pasting them onto the study guide pages.  That was fun!  The only critique I came up with was a couple of editing errors that were missed, but that was only in the study guides and not in the lapbook itself, so the teacher would be the only one to notice them.


I thought this was a great little study, and I would definitely feel comfortable using other lapbooks from this company.  Some lapbooks we’ve used are far more involved and require a greater investment of time, and I’ve found we tend not to finish them once we’ve started.  But this was a great supplement to our studies, very easy to use and implement into our school days, and I would recommend that you give this a try!

Take a look at what other Crew members have to say about this and other lapbooks from A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks by clicking the banner below.

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