Saturday, March 17, 2012

Super Seminar and Mini Books

Hello All! We made it to another weekend! My daughter's basketball season is over and for once we don't have back to back to back activities this weekend. I'm actually going to spring clean my house! It really needs it.

Before I do, I wanted to tell you about an AMAZING seminar I went to on Friday. I got to see Barbara Blanke present at a BER conference in Richmond. She spoke on Guided Math: Practical Strategies to Differentiate Your Math Instruction Using Small Group Instruction and Math Learning Stations. WOW! She was great and my passion for teaching math has been renewed and restored! I can't wait to start implementing some of her great ideas. I'll be sharing my trials and errors on the blog so be sure to tune back in! It may not be pretty at fact it may be a train wreck but I'm excited to try. If you ever get a chance to see her...take it. She is that good.
Learn more about her here:

In the meantime, I wanted to share a quick and easy mini book idea. We used these books recently to make Animal Glossaries. We are working on an animal unit in science and the kids are responsible for knowing lots and lots of science vocabulary connected to this study. We are recording words and meanings in these little books. But you could use this mini book idea for all kinds of things.
You need some hair bands. I got these at the Walmart but you probably could find them at the Dollar Store as well. Look for ones that are not too thick or tight. The cheap ones probably work better in this case.
I have made these with super large index cards before but didn't have any so I just took cardstock and cut it in half. Then I put the number of pages together that I needed and then cut two slits and the center. One at the top and one at the bottom.
I slide the band over the pages and it fits in the center to hold the book together.
This is what the spine looks like. There you go....I mini book with no glue or staples! Easy!

Each child got a book and a set of vocabulary words. I told you we had a lot!!! Then they sorted the words in ABC order and we glued one on the top of each page.
As we get to words through our unit, we record the definition (kid friendly one) and students create the all important illustration:

I like to get the vocabulary words introduced before we go into our researching. That way kids have lots of opportunities to use these words in context. We have just begun the research and are working on learning about the tools a researcher uses to find information. We are lucky to have access to online Encylopedias at our school. For our intro into using those, my children picked an animal that lives in the deciduous forest and did some browsing in the encyclopedia in the computer lab to get information to create this acrostic poem.

Now that we know the vocabulary and have a bit of experience with encyclopedias, we are ready to jump into our Animal Research Project. I'll be back later to share the research folder the students create to help them organize their work and learning.


  1. I love the idea of using hair bands for binding! What font did you use on the animal acrostics? It's so fun!

    Luckeyfrog's Lilypad

  2. Love the mini-books! I will have to give it a try. Thanks for the idea!

    Lifelong Learning

  3. What a wonderful way to make books! I LOVE this! Thanks for sharing your idea - I'll definitely be finding a way to incorporate this into a lesson soon!

    Have a great weekend!

    Third Grade Teacher Files 

  4. Thanks for sharing! The hairbands is a wonderful idea!