Using mini-books for active learning lessons

In this post I share ideas on how to create mini-books for teaching and learning purposes along with tutorials on how you can create them for your own classes.

Why mini-books?
A couple of years ago, I took a course on how to make books: a personal project. During the course, we learned how to make fanzines (mini-books) and we were asked to design an 8 page mini-book out of a letter-size paper. It seemed like a simple thing, but I was amazed! Designing, folding and cutting made this project so much fun.

After finishing the course, I started thinking of ways to include this new thing I had learned in my teaching. So, I want to show you what I have come up with and what colleagues of mine have also done in their classes.

Using mini-books in my teaching
Here are some examples of how I have used this strategy in my own classes.

Flipped learning workshop mini-book

I used this mini-book for I workshop I gave about flipped learning to a group of 100 educators. It served as the step by step of the workshop. Each page indicated an activity they had to do.

In-class flip workshop: Types of stations mini-book

This mini-book was used in a workshop about In-class flip using in-class flip stations. One of the stations required participants to watch a video and fold the page into a mini-book then reflect about the implications of teaching with an in-class flip approach.

Speaking class: Tips for presenting

For one of my speaking classes, I introduced tips for presenting and walked students through each tip as they turned the pages.

Growth Mindset class: Reading about Marigold effect

I adapted the content of this mini-book from a blog post by Jennifer Gonzalez which I absolutely love. This was used as a warm-up to discuss mindsets in educators and their connection with marigolds vs. walnuts.

Academic writing class: Creating a 16’page mini-book about comma rules

In one of my academic writing courses, we worked on the use of comma rules, which was one of the biggest confusions my students had. So students were asked to create their own book with the rules as a learning and memory note-taking strategy.

What other educators are doing

Some friends and colleagues of mine shared how they are using this strategy. Take note because these are some really great ideas!




Ideas for teaching

Here’s a summary of what you can do with these books.

To introduce a course
As a reading activity
As a lesson plan
For flipped content
As a learning task
As a workshop guide
To develop creativity in students in different ways
Add your idea here…

How to make mini-books

Let’s see how to make an 8-page and 16-page mini book out of a letter-size paper.

Making an 8-page mini-book:
Click here to download the tutorial doc.

  

See how to fold the 8-page mini-book:

Making a 16-page mini-book:
Click here to download tutorial doc.

See how this 16-page mini-book is folded (pause when necessary):

How to digitally design these mini-books
For my mini-book designs, I use the grid option that canva offers.
For the 8-page mini-book, I create a design and put in the letter-size dimensions so that it is horizontal (8,5 x 11 in). Then I look for a grid of 8.

For the 16-page mini-book, I create a design with letter-size dimensions (vertical) and then add a grid of 16.

Then I design over the grid. This implies turning words and images upside down (as in the examples I showed above) so that when they are printed and folded everything fits.  The printing is a little tricky because printers don’t print the edges or they add a little more to borders, so keep this in mind and always make a draft print and try it out or make adjustments.

Of course, you can design these mini-books with a word doc, the digital design tool of your preference or by hand. You choose what works best for you!

Hope this post has been useful! A special thanks to my colleagues and friends for sharing their ideas!

Please feel free to share new ideas in the comments below and I will update the list provided in this post! 

Credits:
All images in this post made by Martha Ramirez in canva.com
Icon made by Freepik from www.flaticon.com

3 Comments

  1. Yohan says:

    This is amazing!

  2. Jorcelis Merizalde says:

    Muchas gracias por compartir. Inspiras a docentes curiosos ( como yo) a seguir creando y dando todo por la docencia. Que el Señor te bendiga.

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