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  • Classroom Workbooks: How to Create a Truly Effective One

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    Digital Printing

    Teaching is easier and more enjoyable—for you and your students—when you accompany your lesson plan with classroom workbooks. Workbooks personalize the learning experience for each student, increase retention, and help you assess their progress. You may have decided to create classroom workbooks, but you’re not sure how to go about it. These tips for workbook creation will help you and your students feel more energized and enthusiastic about learning new material.

    Why You Should Create Classroom Workbooks

    Classroom workbooks may be old-fashioned, but like many old-fashioned ideas, they’ve stuck around because they work. Studies have found that learners remember better, and integrate information better, when they write about what they’re learning. Classroom attendance and reading all contribute to learning, but writing reinforces it.

    While you can buy premade classroom workbooks for almost any subject, workbook creation is a fun, creative project that allows you to develop a workbook custom-made for your class and your teaching style.

    Benefits of Using Classroom Workbooks

    Teachers often worry that the material they teach in class isn’t fully reaching their students. Even the best teachers can face problems with students who feel disengaged, struggle with difficult concepts, or feel bored during class. Retention is also a problem: How much of the material you’re teaching really sticks with your learners? Children have shorter attention spans than adults do, and classroom work may tire them more quickly than you realize.

    Using classroom workbooks addresses all these issues. Classroom workbooks have many benefits for them—and for you.

    • Organization: Keep your class organized and on track with classroom workbooks that supply a guided map through the material. This keeps students from jumping ahead and helps you see which students need some help to catch up.
    • Note-taking: Classroom workbooks encourage good note-taking abilities, which are critical for learning. Students who learn to take good notes will use those skills in the future.
    • Reviews: Classroom workbooks are a built-in review tool. Students who are preparing for tests or exams can use them to reinforce their studies and feel well-prepared for any test.
    • Homework: Instead of assigning homework, have your students consult their classroom workbooks if they feel they need extra help or practice with the material.
    • Fun: Yes, learning can be fun. Your students may not believe this, but classroom workbooks may change their mind. Classroom workbooks encourage interactive learning, which helps them feel more engaged with the material and the class.
    • Reduced screen time: While online and computer learning have their uses, many parents and educators would like to get their children off their devices. Classroom workbooks filled with fun activities are a better alternative.

    How to Create Classroom Workbooks

    Start with a goal: What do you want your workbook to do? Once you’ve decided that, you can start thinking about the structure of your book.

    What type of workbook is it?

    Before you start workbook creation, make sure you’ve first decided what type of workbook it is. Some classroom workbooks can incorporate several of these types, but these are the basics.

    • Supplemental materials: These workbooks focus on outside reading and other items that enhance what you’re teaching in class.
    • Review and practice workbooks: Review workbooks offer students the chance to practice what they learned in class with repeated review examples. These are especially useful for classes like spelling and math.
    • Coloring workbooks: For young learners, a coloring workbook is a clever way to reinforce concepts and ideas.
    • Reading and vocabulary workbooks: With reading workbooks, students practice reading and looking up words. A reading passage might include questions that check their comprehension. The books also may have room to write the meanings of words they look up in the dictionary or other reference.
    • Activity workbooks: A mix of readings, supplemental materials, puzzles, and games keeps your learners engaged.

    Elements of a workbook

    • An introduction: Explain what the workbook is and what class it’s used in. Explain that you expect your students to use it and that you’ll be following up to make sure they do.
    • How-to-use guide: Every workbook needs this. Explain how you want your students to use the workbook. Should they read it every day? Should they do the exercises and be prepared to show their work at the next class? Will they be graded on their workbook use?
    • Artwork and illustrations: Liven up your workbook with pictures and graphics. While you’re at it, choose colors that your students will find appealing. Don’t forget an eye-catching picture for the cover.

    Gather your supplemental materials

    What supplemental materials will go into your workbooks? Depending on the subject matter, these might be extra reading assignments, newspaper articles, reproductions of historic documents, photos, puzzles, or games. Have you successfully used a particular game or other teaching material in the past? Use it in your custom workbook.

    Write the workbook text

    Once you’ve gathered all your materials, begin organizing it. Decide how many sections or chapters the workbook needs. Typically, you want one chapter or section for each daily lesson plan or class meeting. On the section for that day, decide which elements you’ll include.

    It may be helpful to do a rough outline of your book on paper. Sketch it out ahead of time to get an idea of how you want the finished book to look. This will help you in your design and layout.

    Use a Design Program for Easy Workbook Creation

    Once you have all your material, you can begin putting together a workbook. You can do this with a workbook design template. Templates are available on most design software programs or Microsoft Word. Look for a free customizable template that does all the work of designing and laying out your workbook.

    You can also think about your preferred binding style. If you’re taking them to a professional printer, you can choose perfect bound, plastic coil, or wire-o binding.

    Perfect binding will work for most workbooks. It produces an attractive, professional-looking booklet that is lightweight and easy to carry. Perfect binding doesn’t lie flat on surfaces when it’s open, however, so it may be difficult if your workbook requires frequent writing assignments.

    Wire-o or plastic coil binding is another excellent choice for workbooks. These workbooks have rings along the spine that allow the book to lay open flat on a desk, so they’re good for classroom use. Students generally like them for this reason. On the other hand, they can be bulky and difficult to place on a shelf.

    What size should your workbook be? Here are some standard textbook sizes:

    • 8.3 x 11.7
    • 6 x 9
    • 7 x 10
    • 8.5 x 11

    Print your workbook

    Once your workbook is finished, and you’re happy with the layout, it’s time to print it. Work with a professional printing company that can produce them in your preferred binding style. If professional printing isn’t in your budget, you can also take your finished pdf to a local printing and shipping office where they can make stapled copies for you.

    Create a Workbook That’s Special

    Workbook creation starts with a basic plan, but you can always add your own special, creative touch.

    For instance, if you create a workbook for a geography class, make the workbook come alive with reproductions of maps, postcards, and flags. Add intriguing facts about specific countries, for instance, that reindeer are native to Finland or that Venice is a floating city.

    For a science class, create a workbook that looks like a scientist’s laboratory notebook with grid paper, formulas, and a wire binding. Include headings that refer to hypotheses, tests, and results.

    Are you going to create a workbook for a math class? Use word problems that include people familiar to your students, or ask them to calculate things that they see every day, like count how many pencils are in the mug on the teacher’s desk, or calculate the square footage of the classroom.

    Workbook Creation Is Fun for All Ages

    Workbook creation will make your classroom more fun. Workbooks keep students more engaged, increase retention, and help you judge how well your class is progressing. If you want to create a workbook for your classroom, it’s time to unlock your creativity.

    We hope you’ve enjoyed these tips. If you need help with a professional printing product, contact the experts at Dazzle Printing.


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