Interactive Student Notebooks

Discussion in 'General Education' started by linswin23, May 22, 2015.

  1. linswin23

    linswin23 Cohort

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    May 22, 2015

    Hi all,

    I am thinking of using ISNs next year for first grade science. I've never used ISNs before, but they look so fun!

    Any advice, ideas, pros, cons? My friend uses them for reading in fourth grade and RAVES about them, so I'm really curious. Also, I've already found loads of templates and resources on TpT, so I wouldn't have to start from zero.

    Let me know your experiences.
     
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  3. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    May 22, 2015

    I have several Dinah Zike notebook books. I use those in social studies (geography) and science (Earth Science). I keep a notebook for each class so I can model what we're doing. I also make sure, as I write my plans to include what I want to put in their iNotebooks. We do a variety of things in them, vocab, note taking, lab reports, quick writes, predictions, and the foldables. The first year I did them we did very little, now I can't imagine not doing them.
    Here's some of her notebook foldables:
    http://dinah.mybigcommerce.com/index.php
     
  4. linswin23

    linswin23 Cohort

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    May 22, 2015

    Wow, great, thanks!! I am going to check this out.
     
  5. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    May 23, 2015

    Make sure they are VERY SIMPLE in first grade. I'll be honest - I did not love doing things like this when I taught that grade level. It just takes them so so SO long to cut and paste, especially at the beginning of the year, that I began to wonder if it was worth the time spent. I think they can be great, but just realize that in first grade it will take you twice as long as you expect, most likely.

    That said, there is a lot of great stuff on TPT. That's where I've gotten some stuff.
     
  6. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    May 23, 2015

    When we first start out notebooks I spend some time in the first weeks actually practicing how to do the things we do the rest of the year. How to cut quickly (much different in 4th than 1st lol), how to glue in the notebook, how to do basic folds, etc. It seems tedious at the time, but it makes the rest of the year go smoothly.
     
  7. *Schoolmarm*

    *Schoolmarm* Rookie

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    May 23, 2015

    I'm SO glad someone asked this question. I teach 1st & 2nd combination class and I would like to use ISN's next year too. I was thinking of using them for Reading and Math, but it I can definitely see using them for Science. I'm sure this topic will be a big part of my summer research.

    Thanks for the link, ChristyF.
     
  8. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    May 24, 2015

    I've thought about it for one of my high school courses. My own child used one last year and I liked how it worked.

    The reasons why I haven't done it yet:

    Pre-planning. I change up what I do on a weekly basis. I also can't forsee having everything planned out to the extent that I'd need, in advance

    Glue. I can't find GOOD glue sticks that would keep things adhered for an entire semester. At least not at a price that I'm willing to pay. I lose 2-3 glue sticks each time I bring them out. I can't imagine how many I'd have to buy (out of my own pocket) to get the job done.

    Absences. As it is now, when a student misses notes I put the responsibility of getting missed material on them. They have to find a friend and copy the notes. Most of the interactive notebook pages I've seen require assembly and instruction. I don't want to have to re-teach a page time and time again.
     
  9. Koriemo

    Koriemo Comrade

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    May 24, 2015

    I'm going to venture into using ISNs for high school English next year. I don't plan to use a ton of cut/paste/foldable type things, but any handouts I do give them will be put into the notebooks.

    The right hand side will be used for notes that we take in class. I'm going to switch all of my notes to a Cornell note format, with students writing a question in the skinny column and the answer to the question in the bigger column. This will help them to study, and it will also help me since I give quizzes 2-3 times per week and I'll have ready made questions and answers.

    The left hand side will be used for student reflection, practice, and activities. I plan to start most of the left handed activities with a question. For example, if we take notes about Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson on the right side, on the left side, students will write "What are the differences between the poetry of Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman?" on the top of the page, and make a Venn diagram on the bottom. I'll also do journal entries on the left side for closure activities on most days. Students who are absent are still able to copy a friend's page. I plan to check notebooks informally every day to make sure that students have all of the information that they need.
     
  10. linswin23

    linswin23 Cohort

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    May 24, 2015

    Great point about the cutting and pasting issue. I'll have to make sure the stuff I'm looking at on TPT is simple enough for 1st grade.
     
  11. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    May 24, 2015

    I have a helper student make an extra foldable if a student is absent.

    You can also staple or tape items in if you can't glue. Granted, it might be a little time consuming, but it would work.
     
  12. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    May 24, 2015

    I'd list the pros and cons before going into using interactive notebooks at such a young age. They started as a much older resource and have been pushed down from middle school to very young grades.

    What value do you see the interactive notebooks having for their academic learning? Do you see them referring back to them? Who is going to check them and maintain them? What if they are lost? How much time do you plan to devote to them cutting and pasting? How much learning will the included material provide and is the time justified rather than taking time to reinforce the topic or review previously learned information?

    I like interactive notebooks for older students. They can be great resources. I just can't see it for first graders. The time and huge discrepancy of skills makes it not as worth while as for older students who may have information in their notebooks that is grade level content but at a reading/writing level they can use. I just don't see that happening in first grade.
     
  13. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    May 24, 2015

    My students use them for most of their tests. They most definitely use them to refer to throughout the year.
     
  14. linswin23

    linswin23 Cohort

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    May 25, 2015

    Has anyone on here used them for first grade? I'd love to hear your experiences.
     
  15. Teacher Chele

    Teacher Chele Habitué

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    May 25, 2015

    I am moving from 1st to third next year and want to use ISNs. I was so excited to see everyone's comments and advice. I am particularly worried about how to check them.
     
  16. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    May 25, 2015

    OP, I'm thinking the answer to your question about people using them in 1st is a no because no one is saying otherwise. Those that might be considering it are saying they aren't doing it yet and giving reasons not to do it.

    I know if you look on-line there are some teachers using them and pushing the idea to others. If you are looking for affirmation, you may want to google it and find what you want. I don't think you are getting the yes from this site.
     
  17. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    May 25, 2015

    Doing them with gifted third graders is tedious, and I'm not sure it's as valuable as I want it to be. I'm definitely planning on changing expectations for next year. For first grade... no, I wouldn't try it, period.
     
  18. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    May 25, 2015

    I use notebooks with my 4th graders and occasionally bring in interactive foldables. The foldables are engaging and the students enjoy them. At my grade level, students are about 50/50 split between hearing directions and being able to cut, fold, and glue immediately, with the other half needing to hear or see directions multiple times before understanding what I am asking them to do.
     
  19. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    May 25, 2015

    Instead of writing a narrative comment in each student's journal, I suggest you have a stamp-of-the-day. You can stamp each journal when the student has completed the day's assignment.

    I find that when I use the stamp, students get instant feedback that they completed the assignment, and I get to see how well they are understanding the lesson.
     
  20. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    May 25, 2015

    I really would be inclined to agree with this. I never tried them in first because I just wasn't convinced all the time it would take to cut and paste would be worth it. With that age, I felt like it would end up being a waste of time that would overshadow the actual learning goals for the foldable.

    Frankly, I'm not super crazy about them in 5th, either. I just feel like they take SO much time. I don't know, I haven't totally ruled them out.
     
  21. linswin23

    linswin23 Cohort

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    May 26, 2015

    I'm not going to completely rule them out, either. I'm going to do more research.
     
  22. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    May 26, 2015

    I think if you want to do them, maybe do it occasionally or only do it for one subject. Otherwise, that's an awful lot of cutting and pasting for those little guys!
     
  23. linswin23

    linswin23 Cohort

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    May 27, 2015

    Right, I'd only be doing it for science. Probably once or twice per unit to supplement our other activities and what we are learning.

    Also, I found some great resources on TpT that are designed by first grade teachers. They are simple ISN activities that I could use for sure.

    I won't have a science textbook next year, so I think having an ISN would work for me.
     
  24. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    May 27, 2015

    How do you plan to have the students use the notebooks?
     
  25. linswin23

    linswin23 Cohort

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    May 27, 2015

    This isn't set in stone, but I'd like each student to have a composition notebook for the entire year. This composition notebook will be their "Scientist Book". I'm planning on having the kids become "Little Scientists" because we are using the NGSS science standards and it focuses on problem solving and investigation.

    The "Scientist Book" will then house interactive student notebook activities for each unit. The amount of activities per unit will depend on how long the unit is. I want each activity to help students understand and deepen their understanding of the concept, and be in their notebook to refer back to during cross curricular moments.

    I will be able to link up many of my reading units to science, so for example we have a HUGE plants and animals reading unit, so I'm going to plan the science unit to coincide. The students will have their science notebook to reference during reading.

    In terms of the actual activities to cut and paste in the notebook, I've seen things I think are totally appropriate for first graders. For example, if we are doing the animal and plant unit I want students to master the concept of a plant's life cycle. Students could cut and paste an interactive notebook activity of a plant life cycle into their notebooks and then it's there for the rest of the year. We have a story in our reading called, "A Tree is a Plant"...they can reference their science notebook and discuss we me what the plant life cycle is during this reading unit.
     
  26. Lisabobisa

    Lisabobisa Comrade

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    May 28, 2015

    I love love love interactive notebooks. I have them for science and social studies. I attempted them for math and language arts but with all the different levels it added up to a lot of work. I came up with a quick and easy rubric for grading them each week. They can earn a score of 1 (blank pages) up to 10 (looks [almost] like mine). It's pasted to the inside front cover of the book. They put their notebooks on my desk every Friday. I jot down the page numbers we completed that week, and give them a grade. I only have 12 students so that makes life a little easier.

    Originally I used a composition book which worked. This year I switched to a regular spiral bound notebook. Yes it falls apart quicker but I pull out the packing tape and we're good to go. Having a full size page of notes vs a half sheet has been especially helpful for my students.

    I found that setting it up is incredibly tedious but taking the time to do that at the beginning of the year was very helpful and well worth the time. Yes, I had them number all 200 pages!

    Glue sticks are essential. To save time on cutting and pasting I don't have them attach anything until we are finished with the lesson.
     
  27. Aussiegirl

    Aussiegirl Habitué

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    May 29, 2015

    I actually switched to Elmer's glue. I think it was on Pintrest that I saw a teacher's INB and she said she teaches the kids - dot-dot-dot. Just a little does it. My kids said they like it better because it sticks. It took a few dollars at the beginning of the year to purchase bottles on sale. I invested 20 dollars for a gallon-sized refill bottle. I cut off the bottom of a small bottle and I use that as a funnel to refill the rest of the bottles of glue. I had one incident in the beginning of the year, which was handled swiftly by administration, and there were no more issues.
     
  28. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    May 29, 2015

    I have glue bottles for each and a refill. I sprang for the pump and love it. I didn't realize how much I repeated myself until a few weeks in, as they were preparing to glue something in, I said, "Remember, you're not -" and they finished, "gluing in an elephant!" A few always make elephant sounds while gluing. Lol
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2015
  29. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    May 30, 2015

    I like that! :)
     
  30. DHE

    DHE Connoisseur

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    May 31, 2015

    I love ISNs and I teach second grade. I use them for science and social studies. At the recommendation of my former principal, I cut the materials out for each student to avoid wasted time and I also have an example ready for them to follow. Another project to add to my summer list, LOL.
     
  31. linswin23

    linswin23 Cohort

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    Jun 1, 2015

    I'm thinking about doing this, too. It is a lot of work, but I believe in one's teaching practice you have to choose what you are willing to spend a lot of time on. If you use certain instructional practices (likes ISNs) and they work, why not?
     
  32. linswin23

    linswin23 Cohort

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    Haha, that's so funny!
     
  33. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    How and when do your students use them once they have information in them? Are most of your students at a level where they can benefit from the resource? If so, how?
     
  34. DHE

    DHE Connoisseur

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    Jun 2, 2015

    We use them as a method of review, but it is good for the actual lesson that I am teaching.
     
  35. Aussiegirl

    Aussiegirl Habitué

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    That is so funny! I can see my 8th graders doing that too.
     

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