Friday, 19 August 2016

Interactive Notebooks In the Primary Classroom

Nervous about trying out Interactive Notebooks with your young students?  Don't be!  All it takes is a little training and organization to get your students Interactive Notebooking away (it's a thing) ......

Start Slow
I know you are excited to jump right in and get your students filling those notebooks but this is a time to go slow ....  Make sure you have all the supplies the students will need organized and ready to go. Try a sample first in the type of notebook the students will be using so you can see where everything will fit on the page.  Introduce things slowly... one step at a time. Give your students several chances to practice with your support before expecting them to complete pages independently.  And this is important to know..... there is a good chance your students will be slow too!  This is where I think some teachers give up because it seems too time consuming.  Stick in there... they get quicker, I promise!

Start Simple
Interactive notebooks come with all sorts of fun pockets, flaps, tabs, trifolds... but it is best to start out with something a little more simple.  Look for fewer pieces to cut and glue, easy shapes to cut and a simple, repetitive layout.  

Step by Step
Follow the lead of New Kids on the Block (my musical references give away my age...) and literally go through the whole process step by step with your students.  Here are some things to think about when introducing the steps.
*What do you want them to cut out first, second & so on?
*Where on the page do you want them to place each piece?
*Where do they apply the glue to the back of each piece?  This is especially important with flaps.... I was so stressed about flaps but my first graders LOVED them.  The first time we made them & they realized they opened and closed a few kids actually clapped (and I joined in when I realized not one student had glued their flap closed).  
*How to glue or print something so it is hidden under the flap.
*What supplies do you want them to use?  Glue sticks or White glue?  Crayons or Markers?  

Tips and Tricks

*Highlight the lines you want students to cut.  Most students will only need you to do this once or twice and they will be on their way. 

*Have a spot for students to put their pieces while they are working so they don't get mixed up with their neighbours.  A small bowl, dixie cup, or recycled fruit cup with their name on it works great.

*Keep students from losing pieces if they don't complete in one sitting. Attach a ziploc bag inside the back cover of their notebook to hold loose pieces.

Don't be afraid to change things up to make them work for your students. 
*You don't need to do everything included. 
*You can have your students glue things in a different way than suggested.  
*Add some additional activities of your own. 
*Differentiate for individual students

My TPT best seller is a set of Sight Word Interactive Notebooks and I get lots of questions about how I use them in my classroom.  Even though I designed them I don't always use them exactly as suggested!  I will be writing a blog post about this soon.....

Don't Forget to use them as a Reference!
I have to admit when I created my first Sight Word notebook I didn't even officially know about "interactive notebooks".  All I knew was that we were doing a ton of worksheets to practice our sight words and it was too much paper, too disorganized and probably just hitting the trash can when it got home.  I loved the idea of having everything together in one notebook and .... this is important... a place for them to revisit and practice.  No matter what kind of interactive notebook you do: alphabet, math concepts, science or sight words make sure to build in the time for your students to "read" their notebook and reinforce those important skills.

Interested in giving them a try? Click here >>>> Sight Words Interactive Notebooks.  The preview has a free sample to download and try out.