Sunday, June 15, 2014

Interactive Student Notebooks - The Correct Way!

My Facebook fans asked me to write a post on how to do Interactive Student Notebooks.  First let's discuss what they are NOT.

They are NOT:

  • Posting word problems and answering them
  • Writing responses to stories
  • Writing responses from a writing prompt
  • Pasting in foldables after completing them
  • Writing in results to science experiments.
  • Worksheets
What are Interactive Science Notebooks (ISNs)?
  • Tools for formative assessments
  • Previews to see what do your students already know?
  • Fun, meaningful engaging lessons to help your student's master content
  • They can take more than a day to finish a lesson, that is okay!
What you need to get started:
  • Scissors
  • Glue sticks, Elmer's glue, tape, glue dots, glue sponges, etc. (everyone has their preference)
  • A spiral notebook or a composition notebook.  If using a composition notebook you may want to print 2 pages per sheet to be able fit everything in.
  • Activities for 3 sections: preview, interactive, and process
I was taught my two amazing teachers at my former school how to do Interactive Student Notebooks the correct way.  I had started them earlier in the school year, but only did a fun interactive piece, which is what I had found on blogs, Teachers Pay Teachers, and Teacher's Notebook.  The reality is there is more to it than slapping something fun in the notebook for children to do with you.

On the left upper side of the notebook, children complete a preview piece.  This could be an Essential Question, a few questions for your students to answer, or even a prediction.  This let's you know a very important thing "What do your students know now?"  The top part of the below picture.



Then on the right side, students complete something interactive.  This is where you could put the foldable or something for them to match up.  This is typically done with the teacher and includes a lot of cutting and gluing.  This is the part that I see being done all the time, but the preview and process are important and are being skipped.  In the picture below children have to cut out and reassemble the Popsicles to match the addition facts, thus making it interactive.  This is done with the students, everyone should have the correct answer!



Last, students return to the left side of the notebook for the process part.  Students need a chance to process the information given and to show you they understand what was taught.  This part can be taken as a formative for a grade!  This could be the answer to an essential question, another interactive piece, or a few questions to answer.  They could also reflect on their learning or answer What did I learn?  The bottom part of the first picture is an example.  They are matching the sum with the correct addition sentence.  It is only a few questions.  In the below picture on the bottom they are simply writing the sum on the watermelons.  This bottom picture is not part of the above lesson, it will be featured in a future product.  I just wanted to give everyone another example of the process part.


I suggest having children cut, glue, and answer the questions first.  Let them color using colored pencils, crayons, or markers if time allows.  This is a terrific fast finisher activity!  There are also teachers who let children bring them home to share with their families before bringing them back to school.  They could do the coloring at home and thus saving time in class!

Clicking the first two pictures will take you to my TPT store where you can try out a lesson!  More lessons to be uploaded soon!  Currently you can try the same lesson for FREE if you are a fan of my FB page by clicking the Fan Tab.  I will be replacing it with something else in the future so hop on by soon!

How do you use Interactive Student Notebooks in the classroom?  What are your preferred materials? Share in the comments.

Thanks for hoppin' by Hopkins' Hoppin' Happenings.  Keep on smiling!



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