I just added what is becoming one of my favorite all-time products. It’s a creative writing lapbook about a journey to a new land. The writer has to complete activities like writing a letter from the mom or dad’s point of view about why the family has to leave home, telling about something that happens during the voyage, and jotting down statistics about the new land’s climate and geography (cool, huh?).
But the story behind how it came about is even cooler!
In a major overhaul of our bookshelves, my oldest came across a book by Joan Sandin called The Long Way Westward. Immediately all progress stopped as she exclaimed, “This is my favorite book EVER!” It’s the story of Swedish-born Carl Erik and his family as they travel from New York City to the Minnesota farmlands. Its prequel, The Long Way to a New Land, is their story about coming to America.
My initial instinct was to write a series of comprehension questions for the books. But when I suggested it, my daughter made the sort of face that says, “Uh, Mom, that’s pretty lame.” So I asked her what she would do.
“Well,” she said thoughtfully. “I would make it FUN.” In other words, not BORING like I was trying to do. “I would make it a writing project… you’d have to tell about your own journey to a new land… it could be any land, even Mars…”
Brilliant. Thus was born the Journey to a New Land creative writing lapbook. Here’s the official blurb:
Your students will practice writing, drawing, and thinking creatively as they plan to leave their home for a journey to a new land… one of their imagination! Will they travel across the ocean to a desert island? Will they escape invading swarms of bees and flee to Antarctica? Or will they blast off for Mars and establish the first colony with their family?
Activities included are:
Writing and drawing directions to the new land
Writing prompt for something interesting that happens on the voyage
Voyage statistics (date of departure, length of voyage, etc.)
Drawing of family
Writing prompt for letter from parent explaining why family must leave the old land
Listing of things to take on the journey
Writing prompt for what they will miss
Drawing of new land
2 response questions about new land
Information about the new land (terrain, language, landforms, etc.)
Also included are two cover versions for the lapbook.
My own kids loved it, and I loved the fact that they were so happy being creative! One wrote about leaving Ireland for Iowa during the 1847 potato famine. The other traveled to Robinsonea, inspired by Robinson Crusoe, because war was raging in his homeland. He also braved a shipwreck.
Get the lapbook here!