Interactive Student Notebooks

Discussion in 'General Education' started by jsfowler, Apr 29, 2008.

  1. jsfowler

    jsfowler Companion

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    Apr 29, 2008

    For those of you that do these...

    Where/How do you store them in your classroom?

    How often do you grade them?

    How do you teach your students to make/use their notebooks?

    What are the "must knows" for teachers who want to use ISN?
     
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  3. Lives4Math

    Lives4Math Comrade

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    Last year when I taught 5th grade we used them for science. I didn't find them very helpful, but others have. I love the idea of them...if the students were to use them correctly! My students admitted to me that they never went back and looked at their pictures, that they only read the notes. I guess it's better than nothing, but to me it was a waste of time to do the pictures if they never used them. My students always kept their own notebooks, how can they study them if I keep them in the room? I never graded them...There was a rubric to use if we wanted to, but we did open note quizzes as grades to see that they had what they were supposed to have instead. To teach them to use them we just took it really slow with the first few lessons until they got the hang of it. Must knows....I found that they took a LONG time, if students were out they had to borrow someone elses to get caught up.
     
  4. ancientcivteach

    ancientcivteach Habitué

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    I have used IANs for six years now, and I just about have the process/procedures where I want them ;). Notebooks are a process, and my favorite thing about them is that they are infinitely "tweakable" to fit your students and your needs. That being said:

    Storage: I have a four block yaffa block - one block for each period. I collect them on Fridays (to keep them from being lost over the weekend).

    Grading: I grade each assignment weekly. I used to grade them on Fridays, but that was insane. :) Now I stagger collection and grade one class each day.

    Teaching Use: I take a day at the beginning of the year to set up our notebooks, explain them, and show examples. I find that the processing assignments are so different from what students are used to that they require much modeling. I also display sample student assignments that we grade together as a class using the rubrics. We do that at least three times, and periodically throughout the year as students need a "refresher".

    Must Knows:
    Be clear in your purpose for using an IAN. I use mine for several reasons:


    They keep the kids organized. I got really, really tired of copies of my handouts all over the floor. It is also REALLY obvious (even to the kids) when they are missing assignments.

    They keep me organized. No piles of loose assignments. Yeah!

    They keep me on track in my planning. The left side (teacher side) is really lower levels of Bloom's - the stuff they need to "know". The right side I see as the higher levels of Bloom's - a chance to interact and make sense of the material. After the first quarter I give them lots of choices as to the student side - it is a simple way to differentiate and allow them to choose the most meaningful way to work with their notes.

    Decide the basics: What type of notebook will you use? (Binder, Composition book, Spiral) How many will you use? (I use one for each semester) How will you put in handouts? (Glue, Tape, no handouts, handwritten notes only) How often and how will you assess them? How will you keep a record of what you've done for absent students/yourself for next year? What type of assignments will help your students process your material best? What will you keep in the IAN? These are some of the basic questions you need to answer for yourself.

    Most of my students really love their notebooks and take a great deal of pride in them. I've gotten really good feedback over the years about things that worked and things that didn't work for the students and the parents. I keep all of their work (except the occasional odd loose homework) in their notebooks so it really becomes their working portfolio for the year.

    I'm sorry this got to be so long, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask!
     
  5. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Apr 29, 2008

    Do you think this would work for an English class?
     
  6. jsfowler

    jsfowler Companion

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    I have used them before but like you said there is always room for tweaking and improvement. I like the yaffa block idea. Also, something I have done that seemed to work well were peer and parent evaluations. I also have a rubric that goes in the front so they know what I am looking for!
     
  7. jsfowler

    jsfowler Companion

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    smalltowngal, ISN will work for all classes. I think they would be perfect for reading/writing activities...even grammar exercises.
     
  8. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Thanks, jsfowler! I'm hoping to get an 8th grade ELA position for next year, and this sounds like a great organizational tool.
     
  9. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    I used them for several years until my students all got tablet computers. I loved the ISN's. I have plenty of information on them as well as the rubrics that I used and will be glad to e-mail to anyone who wants copies. Just PM me.
     
  10. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I PM'd you, chemteach! :D
     
  11. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    I started using ISN for social studies a few years ago. I saw them on a visit to another school and decided to make my own version. Here's what I do.

    The first week of school I spend at least one full class period explaining how the notebook will be used, why we need it at all times, setting up the notebook for the year (labeling each page with an A or B) etc. There is a huge focus in 5th grade (at my school) on note taking techniques. When they go on to 6th grade it is just kind of assumed they know what to do, so I have taken it upon myself to make note taking my mission in 5th grade.

    The students are required to bring their notebook to every class and keep it with them. I don't have the storage space. At the beginning of every unit of study we decorate right hand page to signify a new "chapter" of notes. They also have a short list of words to know (either vocab of VIPs) that need to be defined. Sometimes we do this with graphic organizers, sometimes with flip booklets, sometimes the traditional way. We also take notes in a variety of ways but do this together. I go around at the beginning of class to check their assignments/classwork for credit. We had an open notebook quiz in March and another coming next week. If they have been taking good notes they will do fine. If not....well, it was pretty scary last time.

    I have been trying to come up with a good way to organize a notebook for English, but I'm still not satisfied. An English curriculum plan is my project to tackle this summer.
     
  12. wig

    wig Devotee

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    I don't store them. the students are responsible for them. I rarely run into any problems with that, but I teach in a small school and they have me for SS from grades 5 - 8.


    I grade them at the time of the assessment. THey have a rubric glued to the back, inside cover of their nb so they know exactly what I am looking for.

    LOTS of modeling - especially for fifth grade

    I think ancientciv teacher did a great job with the "must knows"

    IMO, there is no right way of doing with the exception of having a teacher input page(s) followed by a student response page(s). I have tweeked it nearly every year to fit my needs and those of my students. I love them.


    Re: English. It should work well with it. I have tried it and although it is not as good as the SS ones, it works pretty well.

    This link has lots of examples of ISNs including a Language Arts one.

    http://interactive-notebooks.wikispaces.com/
     
  13. jsfowler

    jsfowler Companion

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    Apr 30, 2008

    chemteach, I PM'd you...thanks for the help

    runsw/scissors, I like the idea of creating a page that signifies a new chapter and/or unit.

    These are all great ideas...keep them coming!
     
  14. GatorGal

    GatorGal Cohort

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    I use them with my 11th grade English students. Mine look completely different than the history teacher's next door. But that's okay!

    All the basics that ancientcivteach covered in her post are musts. I use 8.5 x 11" spiral bound notebooks that my students must purchase the first week of school. I really emphasize that they must be 8.5 x 11", otherwise all the papers will be hanging off the side, ripped, torn, etc. I explain everything about the notebook on the second day of school. For the first week of school, they do all assignments on loose sheets of paper. On the next Monday (when all students should have purchased their notebooks) we organize and glue/staple everything in and start the table of contents. It's usually that Monday that we do a notebook cover activity which the kids LOVE. (PM me for more info...I'm trying to type this post quick because I have to run).

    I do not store them in my classroom...they have to tote them back and forth to school. I rarely have a student forget to bring it to school.

    I do spontaneous organizational quizzes every once in awhile, just to make sure they are keeping up-to-date with the ISN's. These are really easy questions: "what were the vocabulary words on page 55?" etc. Once every 9 weeks, I collect them all and for a test grade. When I collect them for a test grade, I include a rubric and have the students self-assess themselves based on organization, neatness, quality/effort, and completeness. I like to keep them involved in the process.

    If you do decide to use ISN's, just realize that it does take a lot of organization on your part. I keep a transparency of each class' table of contents, and each time I assign a page number, I immediately write it down. You can easily get confused if you aren't organized.
    Also, be prepared to hear a daily chorus of "what page does this go on." :rolleyes:
     
  15. ancientcivteach

    ancientcivteach Habitué

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    I write the page number on the master copy before I copy it. Got to stay one step ahead of the lil darlins . . . ;)

    We also use that first right hand page for a title page. My students have a choice - turn the topic of the next unit into an acrostic (colored and with an appropriate illustration) or they divide the page into six pieces, and draw six pictures from the source material we have. I have written instructions if anyone wants them - just pm me.
     
  16. jsfowler

    jsfowler Companion

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    I have never kept a "master copy" of the notebook before but I am thinking of doing this next year. Is it worth it?
     
  17. wig

    wig Devotee

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    This is a great thread. I am learning new ways of tweaking my ISNs

    I always kept a master book until this year, due to teaching extra classes. I had absent students get the info from another responsible student in the class. It has worked so well, I may continue it next year. However, it is nice to have a master copy because you can write notes to yourself for next year.

    I also give "open notes" quizzes occasionally when I see minimal effort being put into it.

    I do a cover page for each section also. I love your idea AncientCiv
     
  18. Historyteaching

    Historyteaching Cohort

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    I'm wanting to start ISNs next year. These are all good ideas and rules for me. I've thought about doing it almost portfolio style..i teach social studies for 9th/10th...and having them get binders to keep their papers in-like handouts and then either having them keep a spiral bound notebook to add inside it for notes or they can tear it out and put them in sheet protectors or hole punch and place them inside.
     
  19. ancientcivteach

    ancientcivteach Habitué

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    I admire the organizational skills of anyone who can maintain a master copy of the notebook. :) I don't have them. I do what Wig suggested, have the students check with a responsible student.

    I also have an assignment board which has a calendar and all the extra copies of notebook pages that the children would need. Between the board and a friend it is pretty easy to stay on track. I trade a few children at the end of each semester - a nice big candy bar for their notebook. That way I have a record.

    I also got "wild and crazy" this year around January and started publishing a "This Week in Humanities" - it spelled out all of the notebook work and homework for the week. I was doing really well with it until the end of my last unit - now I'm six school days away from standardized testing and my website is sadly in need of updating. Here a link to a sample though.

    I got a lot of great feedback. I printed the table two to a page and this went in their notebooks. I plan on doing this again next year, but starting at the beginning.
     
  20. wldywall

    wldywall Connoisseur

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    I kept a master copy for the ones I did earlier this year. It is really nice to have so students can check out what they need to complete, or just need more time with the example to be sure they are doing things right.


    It also gives me a good idea of the things that worked and what didn't. Some of assignments I came up with were very good, but were a bit to hard for the students to do in one sitting, so I have those notes to myself so I can do it differenlty next time.
     
  21. Terrence

    Terrence Comrade

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    I am taking after the idea of a math teacher's web site about a "for my class only" binder. Their interactive notebook is going to be one of those three-brad folders and they are going to put a bunch of paper in it for each trimester. I'm still trying to come up with good processing activities for math.
     
  22. wig

    wig Devotee

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    What a great idea!!!! Thanks!

    Truthfully, I did have a had time keeping uo with the master book. This year was a great excuse not to do it. :lol: But it does have its advantages.
     
  23. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    I like this idea! The past few years I have just given them a phrase and told them to look for names of people, places, events, etc. to inlude with the phrase on the decorated page. This might be an option some of them would enjoy!
     
  24. GatorGal

    GatorGal Cohort

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    I kept a master copy my first semester of teaching, but after seeing that not a single student came up to use it, I ditched it. This semester I made a "While You Were Out" notebook (I know others use something similar) that has the updated table of contents and daily agenda for each class. Then when I hear that annoying question, "Did I miss anything yesterday?" I simply point to the podium where the notebook is. I give the task of updating the notebook to my student aide...which is awesome for me. :blush: I also assigned the students "study buddies" at the beginning of the semester, so they see their partner for any notes, etc. I keep extra copies of worksheets no a magnetic clip on the whiteboard for the absent students.
    This system has really worked for me, because I can't remember what we did 5 minutes ago. :whistle:
     
  25. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    To all those that PM'd me to send them my ISN materials. I will get to it sometime this weekend. I am a state sponsor for Beta and had to attend the Jr convention this week and my senior grades are due today. Sorry!
     
  26. jsfowler

    jsfowler Companion

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    Thank you, chemteach55! The materials are very helpful!
     
  27. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    I have a master copy of the notebook, but it's only for me. My notebook only goes through the end of the unit on government and the Constitution though. After that i kind of wing it depending where we are in the year, what we cover, and to what extent. The kids never touch it. I tell them to find a reliable classmate who will loan their notebook.
     

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