Setting Up Interactive Science Notebooks

12 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for this post. I've used interactive notebooks in the past and took a break from them for the last three years because I got tired of the cutting, gluing and amount of time it took students to get information into the notebook. Shortly thereafter, our district purchased curriculum in which the student has a consumable text in which they are encourage to write IN the book. Another reason, in my mind, not to use interactive notebooks. However, after seeing so many posts on interactive notebooks, I was considering using them again this year. Then I found out last week that my school did not purchase the consumable text for next year - only class sets. That was the push I needed to go "all-in" with interactive notebooks again. Thanks so much for the refresher. LOVE the idea of the rubber band because you're right in that those notebooks get bulky! Also, liked your idea about not letting the students go to another page (that was always a problem I had before). Any suggestions about how to train my 7th graders to quickly AND efficiently get the product into the notebook? I've tried timers and verbal reminders, pre-cutting pages for the notebook, and using warm-up time to get the T.O.C. up to date. Just find that students want to chat while gluing and while I love them, they just can't do two things at once! Suggestions are appreciated!

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    1. I don't use the textbook very much at all. To me it is just a resource that students can reference when they need to. But, my school got the consumable textbook this year, so I've been trying to think about ways that I can incorporate it into what I already do. I've decided that on occasion, I will have students cut out a paragraph or two of information that I want them to know and glue in onto the right (INput) side of their notebooks. This will be a nice change from taking notes and it will give them a chance to do some more technical reading (which is something I decided to start doing more of last year).

      As far as the time wasted cutting, I TOTALLY agree with you. On days that we are using flippables or foldables in class, my students will come in and immediately get started on cutting out the materials we need for the day, instead of doing a typical warm-up or bell ringer. In the first week of school, I set up that the expectation is that they will never just come into my class and start socializing - there will ALWAYS be something that they need to get started on. I also emphasize that if it's a typical warm-up, there is no talking or partner work. If we are cutting or gluing, you can ONLY talk if you are simultaneously working. "If you can't work and talk, then you can't talk." I also get my early finishers to go find someone else to help, which takes care of the slow cutters/gluers.

      You'll also notice that most of my notebook products have straight lines and are pretty simplistic for the most part. I've found that all of those super cute foldables look really nice, but take forever for the students to cut out and assemble. And to me, the important part is not really the foldable or assembling it, but the information inside of it. So, I tend to stay away from the difficult or fancy foldables for this reason.

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    2. This is genius!! I have tried to figure out how in the world to incorporate the consumable textbooks. But when one lesson is 10-11 pages and we are expected to do two or three lessons a week (with students reading on 2nd and 3rd grade level), I am just not good at it. I love the idea of cutting out important sections from their textbook and doing close reading, vocab, etc. Thanks for the great idea!!

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  2. I love the vocabulary cards! You can definitely get a good number of words on a page. Quick question. About how long on average does it take you to glue in card sorts? This year our school has gone from 90 minutes to 75 and I sent each minute to be valuable. Thanks for your help.

    -CJ
    Http://www.scienceandpearls.blogspot.com

    P.S. I also teach 8th grade science in Texas. Best of luck with STAAR!

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    1. 75 minutes?!?! What a dream! We've gone from 90 minutes, to 50 minutes, and this year to 45 minutes! If at all possible, I have my teacher's aide cut things out prior to us using them in class. But most of the time, I have my students cut them out at the beginning of class (like I mentioned in the comment above). Depending on the content, a card sort usually takes my 8th graders 5-10 minutes (maybe a few minutes more if you include the cutting time)

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  3. I feel like I'm one of the rare ones that uses a 3 ring binder for my interactive notebooks. Thanks for sharing the video - it gave me a lot of great ideas! I've put the 6*9 envelopes on my to-buy list!

    Cheers,
    Mrs. Harris
    www.mrsharristeaches.com

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  4. These are such inspirational ideas to make better use of our notebooks. I had a tip to add. I started to give each student a piece of wax paper to keep their notebook sheets from sticking together while they dry. They can keep the wax paper in the back of their notebook to be reused each time they glue in their notebook.
    Thanks again
    Aaron Kealey
    www.scienceinthemiddlegrades.blogspot.com

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  5. So many good ideas - thank you! A question about the cell pals. I like the idea of giving the students an opportunity to pair up periodically with a student they choose. How does that get set up?
    Thanks,
    Lisa

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  6. Thank you for these ideas! Do you have the card sort for the EMR spectrum on a word program that you wouldn't mind sending me? Thanks! (email: lkuschmi@ualberta.ca)

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  7. Hi , What program do u use to create your worksheets and letter to parents?
    Karen Dahlen

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    1. Hi Karen- I typically use Microsoft Publisher or Adobe Illustrator

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  8. Hi, what website do u use to create your worksheets and your parent letter?

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