Sunday, April 15, 2012

Logistics of Interactive Notebooks

After reading all of the information available online about interactive notebooks, I gave them a shot a couple of years ago.  The concept made sense to me, but some of the rules did not.  My first year I tried the left/right scenario where teacher input was on the right and student input was on the left.  That honestly did not make sense to me, but we made it that first year with that concept.  Last year, I did the same left/right set-up, but I switch it to make more sense in my little brain.  The left side was for learning and the right side was for reflecting.  In my small world classroom, that made more sense to me.

I still struggled keeping students on the same page since some students write bigger or smaller than others and some had college ruled notebooks while others had wide ruled notebooks (next year, I am requesting all college ruled).  I went to the NC Middle School Conference (my team won Region 6 Team of the Year) and attended an interactive notebook session for science.  I know I don't teach science, but was hoping to get some goodies to convert for language arts.  It was like EUREKA because I came away with one little tidbit of information that completely changed my frustration level with keeping students on the same page.  How? you may ask:  students tape/glue in an extra sheet of paper on the page where they are working somehow if they run out of space devoted to a particular assignment.  It was GENIUS. 

Then this year, I scrapped the whole left/right side idea and we just use the next available page for whatever we want to put in our notebooks.  This process has worked so much better for us this year.  I make a conscious effort to keep pages together so students can see lessons/notes laid out next to their reflections they are creating.  We still add extra pages if needed when I devote 2 pages to notes/ideas and it takes them 3 or more.  Sometimes, I even have to add extra pages in my own notebook as I wrote bigger than expected or did not plan enough pages in the beginning.  This just allows for modeling and for students to see that it is okay to add more pages if necessary.


Below is a notes page on plot from my teacher notebook.  
 Another page of notes from my teacher notebook below. 

Below is a picture of my teacher notebook where we were taking genre notes.  You can see where I ran out of room on my two allotted pages and attached another page with tape to extend our working area. This is taped so that it folds into the notebook (from the far right toward the spiral spine).   

10 comments:

  1. Happy to see you are blogging! I really like the peeks into your teacher notes. Plotting reminders are good for me!

    Hope to learn more about interactive notebooks.

    Oh, and your choice of font totally rocks!

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  2. One question - What does middle school have to do with paper airplanes?

    Honestly, your style is impeccable.

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    1. Hey Joyce! Glad you found me! I am going to try this blogging thing. I took about 40 pictures the other day of my notebook, but just haven't had any time this week to post another blog.

      Thanks for the compliments, I so do not think I am a writer at all. Nor do I have the technical skills to blog, but I am giving this a go. The only background that I could find that seemed somewhat "guyish" and middle schoolish was the paper airplane one. And...I use a paper airplane to teach prepositions (anything an airplane can do, a preposition can do) and I think that was on my mind as well.

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  3. I'm a 5th grade teacher just now looking into interactive notebooks for next year. thanks for the info so far. I'm hoping you post some of those pictures you just took really soon!! I need more info! thanks!!

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    1. I just created another post with 5 or so more pictures. Hope this helps, I will continue to add pictures as soon as I can.

      Thanks for checking out my blog!

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  4. I would love to talk logistics. I want to create these with my students but not sure how...

    carrie.burns@parisssd.org

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  5. Just wanted to say that I use interactive notebooks in my 7th grade language arts classes. I like using a 5-subject notebook and divide it into the following sections: Figurative Language, Grammar, Writing, Reading Tools and Strategies, and Vocabulary. It works great when divided into these sections. :)

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  6. Hi Seldy, I have a question for you, i'm a student teacher and wondering where I'd be able to start with this....any help you could provide would be greatly appreciated. My email is askforlisa@yahoo.ca Also, for the picture of Characteristics 1 and 2, should they be on the same side of the notebook?

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  7. I love this idea. I have never worked with a teacher who has done this but want to implement for next year. What would you suggest as the best tools to learn about them other than your blog. I teach 7th and 8th grade language arts and am a bit stuck, like you said, finding a good example. Your pages look amazing!

    kgreenhill@hcf.org

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  8. Can you share the airplane idea? :)

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