Interactive Notebooks--Anyone else's a disaster?

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by MDinMA, Oct 17, 2007.

  1. MDinMA

    MDinMA New Member

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    Oct 17, 2007

    Hi everyone,

    I'm a first year teacher and I tried to implement interactive notebooks into my curriculum this year (I teach 8th grade U.S. History in a highly successful charter school in Massachusetts). However, I have found that because my class periods are so short (50minutes, I'm used to 90) and because I have such big lessons, I am not finding time to dedicate to the maintenance of the notebook. That extra 5 minutes or so is very precious. Besides, the logistics of the glue sticks and the making sure the 3 ring hole punch is on the correct side of the page, I'm finding that this operation is a disaster.

    I'm thinking about phasing out the notebooks and trying again next year. I'm just wondering, first, if anyone else had this problem (so I don't feel crazy!) and also if anyone has any suggestions as to what I can do next time. Are Interactive Notebooks possible for the shorter class periods?
     
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  3. ancientcivteach

    ancientcivteach Habitué

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    Oct 17, 2007

    I use the notebooks in sixty minute classes, but I often use two days for my lessons. I've also switched to having the students glue in one day a week (Friday has worked awesomely for me)

    I'm not sure what you mean about the three hole punch, but if you have any other questions I'd be happy to help!
     
  4. Ms. Geography

    Ms. Geography Comrade

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    Oct 17, 2007

    Notebooks

    My class periods are 45 minutes long...with an 8 period day. I use notebooks with my students and have always done so. My version of the interactive notebook, the one that I've found works best for me, is in using a 3 ring binder. I tried the glue method last year; nice concept, but not as effective for my classes. One problem was having the glue - it seems that there was never enough glue for the kids to use no matter how much I bought and many of the students did not have their own. Another problem for me was the time to cut all the stuff & glue it into their notebooks. I quit using that method at semester.

    My verison of the notebook is still interactive, but modified to meet my needs and those of my students. This is how I do it: 3 ring binder (1 inch binder per 9 weeks) 97 cents at Wal Mart; 5 subject dividers (84 cents); and I provide a sheet protector that goes into the front of their notebook. Inside the sheet protector is their author page; the name of the student, my name, class period and date that the notebook begins & decorated with 7 items about them (7 for 7th grade); following this is the table of contents - I have them divide the TOC into sections to follow the dividers. The first divider is for Current Events; 2nd is DOGs (daily geography or warm us questions); 3rd is Handouts & Maps; 4th Notes; and last is Terms. (notice that its alphabetical?) I run some material back to back and some with the back blank if I have something that I want for them to glue into the notebook. An example is when I taught Human Environment Interaction I found via the web some cute letters with animals & plants and printed the HEI for my students to color, cut & glue into their notebooks. Another example was for regions the notes were on their right side & on the left side they colored, cut & glued two maps one of the US and one of Arkansas. Some of the left sides are where the students reflect, react or visually demonstrate their understanding of the material. All of the work that the students do goes into the notebook, but not all of it is 'interactive.' I have found that this works best for what I need to cover and teaches the students to maintain a notebook. Some items are graded before they are placed into the notebook and some are graded as a part of the notebook. I hole punch the papers before giving them to the students. This really doesn't take that much time as you can hole punch as you are talking with them about the material. I would advise that you have your students buy reinforcers for the papers since the notebook is kept for 9 weeks.

    Hope this helps and remember the notebook needs to fit both your needs and the needs of your students.
     
  5. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    Oct 17, 2007

    I have them do their work on loose leaf then glue it in at a later date because I wasn't able to correctly assess their work when it was done directly in their IAN since there was NO way I wa collecting and grading numerous assignments and IANs on ANY day!!
    The glue thing drives me nuts though because the glue sticks dry up and the papers fall out!! Also, the table of contents filled up much too quickly!!
    As soon as Winter Break is over...beginning of Jan., we will switch to a 3-ring binder and use plastic sleeves for some of the papers. What was I thinking????
     
  6. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    Oct 17, 2007

    :2cents: Our school copier can do the 3 hole punch while making copies.
     
  7. Ms. Geography

    Ms. Geography Comrade

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    Oct 17, 2007

    copier

    One of ours can hole punch, but it's the slower one...so I use the Riso and punch myself. A good hole punch runs around $20.
     
  8. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Oct 17, 2007

    That is exactly why I use binders, I am to lazy to collect them at the end of each day/week, and it is easier for me just to collect one paper at a time and grade it. However, I do give the notebooks an overall grade at the end of each unit.
     
  9. wig

    wig Devotee

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    Oct 17, 2007

    I have 45 minutes. The only modification I have made is going sequentially instead of left teacher, right student (which I actually prefer but it took too much time). After I do my "thing" they do theirs right after it. I gave up on a table of contents a year or so ago because even with a model notebook their are always those students who did not do it correctly. Now, the pages are numbered and they make their own table of contents at the end of the unit. I collect them at that point. A rubric, adapted from "Ancient Civ's rubric" is glued to the inside cover of their notebook so they always know what I am looking for. I periodically give notebook quizzes. It saved the time it took to make sure they were all on the same page in the nb and gluing extensions to the pages where the students needed more space.

    Re: handouts - I have them trimmed and they make a star * on the back with their glue stick and glue them in. It takes minutes. If they use white glue they do the same thing except they "dot" the glue in the same pattern.
     
  10. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    That's a good idea to have the handouts trimmed ahead of time!! Thanks!

    and I also don't mind collecting at the end of the unit to check the overall notebook with the rubric but if I don't collect and grade assignments as they asre done, students get lazy and sloppy thinkng that I'm not checking their work!! I am much less aggravated checking the work daily now!
     
  11. MDinMA

    MDinMA New Member

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    Oct 18, 2007

    Thank you!!

    Thank you so much everyone, ESPECIALLY Ms. Geography! Your binder method looks a lot more efficient than the way I went about this. I'm going to try to implement it with my next unit (in 2 weeks). Students already have binders and are used to them, so this may be a lot simpler.

    I so appreciate everyone's input. TCI makes the interactive notebook look so easy, but when it comes time to do it with 50 students, it is so difficult! Thank you so much!
     
  12. wig

    wig Devotee

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    Oct 18, 2007

    What I love about these notebooks is that they can be done to fit everyone's teaching style and/or the group of students you have, and still be correct
     
  13. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    Oct 18, 2007

    I am kind of making this up as I go along this year for my fourth graders. I have had parents comment that they like it, because they see more of what the kids are doing, and they can help them review and look over material.

    Does anyone know of any workshops on this?
     
  14. wig

    wig Devotee

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    Oct 18, 2007

    It originally came from History Alive, but outside of their workshops I don't think there are workshops on this. Here is a link with ideas compiled from many posters here and other teacher forums.

    http://interactive-notebooks.wikispaces.com/
     
  15. Ms. Geography

    Ms. Geography Comrade

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    Oct 18, 2007

    You are welcome

    I believe that any resource we use in teaching has to be modified so that it works best with our students and meets the needs of our curriculum. I spend an average of two weeks per 9 weeks looking over and grading notebooks - at the end of the periods & not the entire period. I like doing it this way so that I have one on one time with each student, it gives me the opportunity to talk with each student about their work, their notebook, and allows me time to offer suggestions for improvement. After the first grading - mid term - I have an idea of who I need to see first the next time around. Some students will be a quick grade because they are organized and have all their work completed while others will need additional feedback, encouragement, or perhaps a "kick in the pants" to get them motivated so they get the work done. Rather than taking up the notebooks and grading them without the student...tho' I have to do that on some of them...I like giving the verbal feedback and having the student guide me to whatever it is I'm asking to see. I pick a "cut off point" in the notebook to allow me time to see all that I feel is necessary for them to have and the other items I put on the list for the next check. I NEVER take their notebooks out of my classroom - that means I might have to stay a day or two so I can look over whatever it is that I've not graded or for those who have been absent & need the extra make up time. Also, don't try to grade everything for right/wrong..some items just need to be looked over for completion. I try to change it up so that I see the full notebook and they have complete feedback. I hope this makes sense to you.

    My suggestion is to try to find the method that works for you and your students. I like the modified "interactive" notebook best. It works for me and mine & I can tell you in a smaller district I have the opportunity to see many of my former students & their parents and many of them tell me that they still have their 7th grade notebook(s). I think that is the true test of time and learning.

    Let me know if you have questions or concerns that I might be able to help with.
     
  16. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    Oct 18, 2007

    Thanks for the link, wig. I actually have the History Alive series (to pilot), but 4th grade in Ohio SS is all about Ohio, and the series covers regions, so it is not useful.
     
  17. Leedy

    Leedy Rookie

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    Oct 18, 2007

    great ideas...thanks
     
  18. GatorGal

    GatorGal Cohort

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    Oct 19, 2007

    I agree with Ms. Geography about never taking the notebooks out of the classroom. I made that mistake this year, carting 60 huge spiral notebooks upstairs to my apartment on a Friday. :down:
     
  19. msb

    msb Rookie

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    Oct 20, 2007

    Hi, I have used INs for the last three years. The first year was okay, lots to learn about the process. The second year, I gave up halfway because I didn't reinforce the rules with the notebook.

    However, I'm using it again this year. This time I'm using a 1" 3-ring binder. I have the kids update their TOC notebooks once or twice a week. We grade their work together. During bellwork or warm-up, I check if they did their work, and spot check and make comments as I go around. At this point, I know what concepts I need to reinforce with them. I use an inexpensive apple stamp (something that they can't find at Wal-mart or Target) and stamp their papers. No stamp, no credit. Work not done? A slash through the apple tells them it's half credit. Trust me, they bug me if I missed their paper. For certain assignments (things I modeled for them in class), I will have a trusted student, who I have trained for the stamping, stamp the papers. Handouts don't need to be stamped--just placed in order. My copier can hole punch! :)

    This part is important; every three weeks we do a notebook check. Anything longer than that is too long. The students are graded upon completeness of the TOC, page numbers on each page, and completeness of their work. I give them a score sheet of the points assigned for each assignment. The students switch off with a partner (sometimes I will designate) and they will grade. I will also spot check a few notebooks to see if they are doing it correctly. Remember, I know over the course of three weeks who has kept up with their notebooks, so if a student gets an A+ on their grade and I know they probably have a lower score, then I just pull their notebook and score it myself. Make sure you tell them the consequences of cheating, and that the scorer is just as responsible for their grade, and they will be held responsible for an overly generous grade. Make sure you set the tone for this by being hard on their grading the first notebook check. I usually email a few parents if I know their student will definitely botch their notebook check. Trust me, they're extremely grateful that you contacted them.

    Anyway, we have two weeks until the next one, and now when I put up the TOC on the overhead, I see everyone updating their notebooks because they learned the hard way that it wasn't good to slack off the first quarter.

    Last thing, make sure you keep parents involved with this. Send home a letter the importance of the notebook and how you grade it. During back-to-school night or parent conferences, show them a copy of a good Interactive Notebook and a sloppy one. I told my parents during back-to-school night that the notebooks help keep students organized. This is a life skill that they will need to keep them successful in their academic career. This usually gives me the buy in with the parents. :)

    The INs has helped cut down on most of my paperwork, and I think this has shifted the responsibility of their work on them since they need to keep it updated. :)

    Hope this helps!

    MSB
     

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