Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Boats lapbook

Having seen Preschool Post's boats lesson plan I decided that it would make a good next unit for Iona over the summer, so we began our next lapbook on 15th August. 

The theme of boats fitted well with lots of Bible stories, so over the fortnight we covered Noah, Jonah, Jesus calls the fishermen, the big catch, the storm on the lake, Jesus walks on the water, the parable of the dragnet, and Paul's travels.

The lapbook itself began with a dot-to-dot picture of a yacht . Iona still needs hand-over-hand help with dot-to-dots, but enjoyed both doing it and colouring the result.

Iona is now starting to try to draw over lines a lot more, so I liked the "B" worksheet that I got from First-School:

She's getting a lot better at "writing" as opposed to just colouring over the lines, but there's still a lot of work to be done. However, she's at that stage where she doesn't want me to help her a lot of the time, especially with "writing", so she'll just have to get the hang of it herself. She's also getting better at recognising initial letter sounds, which this worksheet helped with.

Underneath the worksheet I put an accordion mini-book that I made containing photos of meals that I had made on the theme of boats:
Jacket potato boats
Courgette boats

"Jesus walking on the water jelly"
"Jesus walking on the water from boat" jelly
The jellies, in particular, were very popular. Unfortunately, I've lost the reference to where I found the idea, so apologies if the idea was yours (please send me a reference to add in here if so). The jelly should have been blue raspberry, but I couldn't find any anywhere, so I used lemon and lime with copious amounts of blue food colouring, which worked very well. The peach boat was my idea, as we had some sitting around.

Rather than concentrate on initial sounds with this lapbook I decided to work more with Iona on rimes (see Oxford Reading Tree "Rhyme and Analogy"). I therefore worked collaboratively with her to make up a poem using the "-oat" rime:

At this stage she can correctly identify rhymes about 50-70% of the time, maybe more, so I think she's getting the idea, but sometimes she gets a bit overenthusiastic and comes up with entirely wrong rhymes. I liked the way she was keen to illustrate the poem, with just a bit of prompting (and drawing of the moat) by me.

We talked a little about the history of boats, and I found some colouring pictures of boats from different eras (from DLTK). I cut them out and asked Iona to put them in order of age. However, she found this very difficult, and didn't seem to have much idea. She enjoyed adding a little colouring to them, though.

To begin to develop some awareness of geography we visited a local river that runs through our town and I have reinforced its name several times since. I drew a map of our county and put the river on it, then stuck it in a small book with a map of all of England's major rivers on the front.

A further aspect of history that we covered was the sinking of the Titanic. We found a little about it in one of the general boat books that we looked through, so I then got Survivors: The Night the Titanic Sank from the library. It was a good way of talking about the history through a fictionalised story (with a happy ending!). I found this colouring page on Free Kids Coloring, and just added a few facts to remind Iona of the story in the future. She took in the story quite well, and played shipwrecks with her toys for quite a few days afterwards. We also added the sinking of the Titanic to the time line that we have going up the stairs.

For the science component of the unit we used this file folder game from File Folder Fun. As it was sunny, warm weather we were able to turn it into a water play session outdoors, which Iona loved. To try to duplicate the scientific method I asked her to predict before we played which items would sink and which would float, then we compared her predictions with the actual results. As it turned out, she predicted most items correctly.

Iona's predictions
Actual results

Testing what floats
Water play after the hard work
We also read through Fourways Farm: Floating and Sinking, which reinforced the ideas in a light-hearted way.

Further science teaching was provided by this idea from Camo and Bows, showing how water runs downhill. It was good fun to try, using a long strip of foil to recreate a river, but without a hosepipe it was a bit of a damp squib. Daddy helped for a while, by tipping the watering can while I took photos, but it would definitely have been better with a continuous stream of water. Iona seemed to enjoy it, anyway.

We also read through the section of The Earth: The Geography of Our World relating to rivers; most of it probably went over Iona's head but it was a good introduction to the idea.

The idea below came from DLTK, where it was suggested as a way to introduce the concept of halves. Iona concentrated well on it, and it was a useful way to revise shapes, as we haven't done much on them lately and she seems to have forgotten them a bit.

While doing this unit we went to an unrelated event at our local museum, where we happened to see a Bronze Age boat, carved out of a tree.

They provided a colouring station, with an artist's impression of the boat in use, so that made a useful addition to the lapbook.

There were loads of suitable story books relevant to this unit. One thing I did was re-read Iona the tale of the Jumblies, which we have in an anthology, and she began to remember the chorus. We also read, for the first time, Where the Wild Things Are, which she really enjoyed. Other books we read were Mr. Gumpy's Outing, Captain Small Pig, and We're Sailing Down the Nile (good for a bit more world geography).


  1. What a brilliant unit with loads of fantastic ideas! Especially love the jellies and the foil river. Looks like Iona had lots of learning fun. :)

  2. Thanks. I think it was probably our most successful unit yet, with Iona being the most involved that she has been.