Careers of Today Lapbooks

My first graders just finished their Careers of Today Lapbooks, and they look amazing.  Not only were the final products great, my students were able to apply all of the researching and reading comprehension skills they have been working on over the past 7 months.

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20160404_104115 copy

Choosing a Career

To begin the project, I placed ten books about different careers in the middle of each table group.  I tried to include a variety of modern jobs for students to choose from.  I asked students to take a book from the middle and spend two minutes previewing it by looking at the pictures, reading the back cover and first page, and deciding if this was a career they would like to have someday.  I then rang a bell and students placed their books back in the middle and chose a new book.  We did this ten times.  The process took about 25 minutes but the time they spent reading, evaluating, and synthesizing was well worth it.

At this point, students had to choose one career that they would like to research.  Some students definitely had a hard time narrowing it down, but in the end, everyone chose just one!


The next step was doing research.  Students were given graphic organizers that broke down the information they had to find into five categories: what do they do?, where do they work?, what tools or equipment do they need?, how do I become one?, and other interesting facts.

Laptops Picture

We had just read a book about park rangers together as a class and completed a similar organizer together on chart paper.  I really emphasize to the kids the importance of using bullet points and paraphrasing.  As an upper grades teacher, I know how important it is for kids to be able to take notes and not to plagiarize.   This is definitely a challenge with first graders but they have gotten so much better the more we have practice.

Students used the books they had previewed to complete their organizers. The category, how I become one?, was definitely the most challenging section for students to complete.  I asked that kiddos include 3-5 bullet points for each heading and most books didn’t go into great detail into the education and work that went into getting that job.

The Lapbook

After my kiddos had completed all of their research, we completed the cover of the organizer and each foldable one at a time.  Each foldable took about 20 minutes to complete.  I precut everything as much as I could beforehand and I also folded all of the lap books before passing them out to students. I took the project slow but allowed students who moved quickly the chance to keep going and begin working on the next foldable.

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20160407_105404 copy


As students finished their lapbooks, I had them pair up and use their lapbook as a tool to teach the other students about the career they researched.  I loved hearing them talk so knowledgeably and excitedly about their jobs.  Once they were finished presenting, I had them switch partners.  In the end, students presented at least four times and became mini experts of their chosen career!



If you are interested in doing this project in your own classroom, you can find this resource here.


This resource includes all the foldables you will need with step by step instructions.


Pictures of student samples are also included.


I hope your students have as much fun doing this project as mine did.


Not Your Typical Biography Project

Each year, the school I teach at celebrates the arts by having a Night of the Arts.  Each specials class (art, music, GATE, PE, science) creates something unique to share with parents (choir concert, PE demonstration, science experiments) and all of the classes display art/writing pieces that center around a common theme.   This year the theme is multiculturalism.  This is my first year at the GATE teacher, so I want to do something special.  I have definitely spent a lot of time thinking about a unique project my students could create that would not only expose them to new cultures but would also provide a complex and challenging learning experience. 

Then finally the perfect project fell into my lap (actually it hit me on the head).  I was pulling some resources from the shelves in my garage when a box hit me on the head.  I looked down at it and realized it was the multigenre project I created when I was an undergrad at the University of Arizona.   I had reinvented the project and used it once before when teaching in sixth grade in Idaho.  This was definitely the perfect I had been waiting for.

Here is how it works:

Students research the life of a famous historical figure and choose six major events from his/her life.  Then instead of writing a typical research paper, they create meaningful and accurate primary source artifacts that they eventually present to the class.


For Night of the Arts, my students will choose a famous historical figure from an assigned country.  This way kiddos have some choice about what they research (which is very important when you are looking for by in).  In addition, students will get the opportunity to hear reports about people and cultures from all over the world.

During the project students will create:

Authentic Artifacts 

Students will create long, short, and artistic artifacts to represent the different stages of their historical figure’s life.  Examples of artifacts include birth certificates, campaign buttons, marriage certificates, awards, invitations, newspaper articles, journal entries, portraits, photographs, or obituaries, just to name a few.

Portrail Example

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Campaign Button Example

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Transcript of Interview

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Container, Works Cited, and Rationale

My students will also have to choose a container to house all of their artifacts. The container must be important to the life of their figure.  For example, I have had students in the past use violin cases, luggage, medicine bags, brief cases, and cereal boxes.  In addition, the kids will create a works cited page listing their sources and write a rationale explaining the artifacts they created.  This is such an important part of the process because students must think critically about the reasons behind their choices.

I love this project so much that I decided to share with it with others in my TPT store.  You can find it here.


Included in the packet are:

– Day by Day Lesson Plans

– Project Description Handout

– Sample Biography (2 levels)

– Research Graphic Organizer

– Student Artifact Samples

– Creating Authentic Artifacts Guide

– Project Completion Checklist

– Scoring Rubric


My hope is for students to display and present their artifacts and containers at Night of the Arts.   I will definitely take pictures and share how it goes!

I know my students will love it and can’t wait to get started! ! !