Saturday, July 12, 2014

Reflecting on my first year using Interactive Notebooks

      Last summer I started reading about interactive notebooks and fell in love with the idea. I was familiar with foldables, by Dinah Zike, from the Glencoe math books we had at the time. Each chapter had a foldable that we made and the notes from the chapter were placed inside.  When I used foldables I noticed that the students loved them. They thought they were taking less notes but actually it was the same amount or more. (Fooled them!) Students who would forget their spirals for their notes on a daily basis, would not forget the foldables. They always had them handy. My special education  and ELL students really enjoyed them because everything was available to in one place in an easy to read format. So last year I jumped right  in full force with my 8th grade Pre-Algebra students. 
     The students liked the foldables and even my students who struggle were busy and engaged during the lessons. The only problem was they didn't use them as a study tool. So many of my students just left them in my room so they wouldn't forget them. That was good  but  they didn't use them for the reference that I was hoping they would. Next year the students really need to use them as I will be following Common Core Standards and our book does not follow that sequence at all. Their INB's will be their books. After reading several blogs, I am going to stress with the kids that this is their book and they need it with them everyday. I read a blog, (sorry can't remember who), that said all work was done in the spiral even homework so the kids always brought them. I might try that next year and see how it works. 
     There are some things that I am going to do differently next year. The first change is that I am going to have a table of contents. What was I thinking that I didn't have the kids put that in their notebooks and number the pages. I really like the unit table of contents page from math = loveI anticipate that I will have a beginning table of contents page at the beginning that will list the page for the unit table of contents. Then they can turn to the unit page index for a detailed listing.

Unit index page from math = love, notice nothing is filled in yet! Yikes!

     Vocabulary is important for all of my students but even more so for my second language learners. I am going to make it a major goal and really really stress it this year. So we are going to make Frayer model or other graphic organizers for all of the targeted vocabulary in the unit.(See Unit 1 Vocabulary post HERE.)

                                                        Frayer Models


                                              Vocabulary Foldable Unit 1  


      I am also going to have a word wall for the first time. I just need to figure out where to put it. There is not a lot of wall space in my room so it may have to go on a blackboard.
     Last year we used spiral notebooks for our Interactive Notebooks. The composition notebooks are sturdier but I write large and need more room. I liked the amount of space that the spirals gave us for each page but the pages did tend to fall out of the spirals easily. You just can't find spirals anymore that don't have the easy tear out pages! UGH! I've debated about using binders as well but I think I will stick with the spirals for one more year. I will give the kids the option to get a college rule composition notebook if they want to.
     I know that many people use the right hand side of the notebook for teacher input and the left side is for student input. I didn't really follow that rule at all last year. Sometimes I did it that way and other times not. I am going to try to have the kids do their homework on the left so they are using them everyday. We'll see.
     The right side versus left side, what to do? I read a blog where they had the foldable on the left and the class work or homework on the right. This prevented any clumping from the glue where the kids were doing their writing. Now that is something I hadn't thought about before. We did have issues when using glue of the paper getting wrinkly and it was hard for the kids to write on the other side. I have to think about this one. I like to place any foldables that have flip pages on the right hand side and have flat sheets on the left. I have found that the tabs flip over when they are on the left and stay neater on the right. So I will experiment and see which way I like better.

Beginning INB pages. 

      My first day of class I introduced myself using numbers about me that several people have discussed on their blogs. If you haven't seen it just google and you will find several. I did a power point where the kids had to guess why certain numbers were important to me. Like 3 is how many children we have etc. Then the kids did the Numbers about me page from math = love. I made different colors for each of the classes and then we hung them up. I may have them make 2 this year, one to hang and one for their INB covers.
      Click here for my classroom expectations sheet. I found the original for this at everyone is a genius and made a few changes. Check out Sarah's blog to see all the
great tips she has for starting your interactive notebooks.  I found this on someone's blog but cannot find out who or where it was. I love this page and would like to give 
credit to the author. Anyone know who made this? I like the way it shows the students exactly what a good homework paper should look like. You can't imagine how much time I spend with my students in 8th grade teaching them how to set up their papers. I really liked these two pages and will use them again this year.

      I've been toying with the idea from 4mulafun about doing unit foldables. I  like the idea of having the notebook in a two pocket folder and then maybe storing old folders in the classroom. I don't know, I have to think about what I want it to look like. One thing is for sure, I will be using Interactive Notebooks again next year! They were great.
      My classes used the interactive notebooks all the time. They were a great easy to read reference for them. I would love the hear about the different types of Interactive Notebooks you may use. I hope to post my first unit pages soon.
                                                                                    Til next time,

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