Monday, July 7, 2014

Interactive Notebooks- Q&A

After posting my entire interactive notebook last week, I have gotten several questions about them, so I wanted to write a quick post to answer them and to share a few more details. 

The biggest question I have had is about the binders. 
Do I prefer them over the composition notebooks? 

I wrote a blog posts about this here
The simple answer is I personally prefer the binders. 

BUUUUUUUTTTTT... composition notebooks are good, very good. 

I am still at a point where I am not sure what I am using this upcoming school year. First, it depends on the school supply list. Secondly, we are moving to an iPad school and much of my kids notes are expected to be on their iPad. 

I will definitely be using them though, no doubt about that. I still believe in them and I still think kids like the hands on creating the notebooks involve. 

Do you grade them? No, they are a teaching tool for me and note taking/learning tool for my students. I hold my kids accountable by using them daily. 

Do students take them home? No, I keep them in my room. I have created enough shelves for each of my six classes. 

What if they need the notes at home? 
I have all my notes on my classroom website. 
This past year, I had a few kids ask to take a certain page or two home and I made them sign in blood that they would return them. Okay, not really, but I did give them the "teacher stare" and a stern, "you better bring it back talk". It worked, they returned it! 

How do you actually use them in a class period?
Mine are ways for me to teach. This is where my students took notes and they used those notes when doing their classwork. They weren't allowed to ask me for help unless they had checked their notebooks first. Why? Because I know my kids, they just want me to feed them the answers. 
See their flippable? They are using their notes to complete their work! SUCCESS

A class period could look like this: 
Students knew to get their notebooks as they entered the room. I always have it posted on my white board as the enter. 
Warm up for 5-7 minutes
Homework review 7-11 minutes
New lesson: this is when we take notes on a new subject. This usually consisted of creating a foldable. 

As seen in the previous post, sometimes students wrote all notes, sometimes they filled in blanks. 

Next, we would do an activity using those notes. It could be task cards, a scavenger hunt, footloose, scoot, etc... 

It was a great routine for my kids, they knew what to expect and what I expected of them. 

What about absent students? 
I always create the notes with my students. If students are absent, I am making their foldable for them. This worked 95% of the time. It only got tricky when their were multiple absences in one class. If no one was absent, I had an extra one and kept them for when new students would come in throughout the year. 
My "extra" notes
How I handled being absent: 
(This past year, I knew in advance that I was going to be out multiple days in a row, so I planned accordingly) 
It really just depended on what was being taught and what was happening that week. 
For example: I knew I was going to be gone for several days in a row. I taught notes for the 3-4 days before I was going to be gone. Then, when I was out, they had all the notes they needed to complete the class work with a substitute. 

Hopefully this has been helpful. And if you are tired of reading about interactive notebooks, I apologize, I will post about something different soon, I promise! 

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  1. Last year was the first year that I really got into INB's. Our kids had to have binders (mutual agreement among the departmentalized teachers). My kiddos kept losing pages of foldables from their binders... argh! Or they'd forget them at home... double argh!!!! This year I am requiring them to have composition notebooks and leave them in our room! Let's see how this works.


  2. I agree with Alison! Great answers:)

  3. Awesome Q & A post about INBs! I also have absent students make up their notebook activity. It might take several days during independent time to complete, but they are expected to complete what they missed. Also, I started to take pictures of the notebook activities and posted them on Edmodo with directions. Students were able to complete it at home and glue it into their notebooks when they finished! Thanks for linking up!


  4. I do the notebooks slightly different, but that is the beauty of this tool. There are a lot of ways a teacher can use interactive notebooks to meet students' needs and to mesh with the style of the teacher. I liked your answers and your pictures. Teaching Science With Lynda