Monday, August 24, 2015
Tips for Interactive Notebooks in Grades 1-3
I teach second grade so based on my experience I came up with these tips to help you help your students with their interactive notebooks and help you keep organized and manage them.
People often debate whether to use glue sticks or liquid glue. I think both have merits but I personally prefer liquid glue. I feel glue sticks can be a little on the wimpy side and the pages tend to fall out. My goal is to get my new class to use a few dots of glue, not a river. Erin from I'm Lovin' Lit has great tips for glue and INB's (though she teaches middle school) on her post here.
A solid interactive notebook has a table of contents that can be edited or has blank spots for students to write in as they add activities to their notebooks, which you may appreciate, especially if you are not going to do everything in an interactive notebook product or do things in a different order. My tip is to leave enough space for the table of contents Have your students leave 10-15 pages or so blank at the beginning of their notebook. Get those table of contents pages glued in early in the year (maybe during morning arrival time). Then you can add your first activity.
Label page numbers in advance! I don't mean the whole book in one sitting, but have kids label out what you think is reasonable. I usually had them do 20 or so pages and then if they had an extra 3 minutes at some point, do 10-20 more.
As your students do each activity, have them add it to their table of contents. It can be hard, especially as kids are running out of time at the end of an activity so if they don;t get to it have them do it the next chance they get. I also admit, last year I did end up helping certain kiddos fill theirs in. But not too often! I have enough on my plate. This year I am considering having buddies help each other out - it might be a good task for a kiddo who is always done early with their work to help a friend catch up.
Storage and monitoring! My kids have desks so they keep theirs in their desk. I know some of you like to keep supplies like this in a community storage area so that's up to you. The task that was hardest for me when I got started using them is monitoring the notebooks. A lot of times students completed them at a reading center while I worked with small groups. I would get behind in checking them very easily. So I tried two things. First, occasionally during reading groups I would have kids bring their notebooks and we would check them together and make edits as needed. Secondly, I also tried collecting 5 a day, taking them home to look over, and returned them the next day (with sticky notes if edits were needed) or I grabbed a kiddo if they needed extra help. The combination of these two strategies helped me as a teacher.
Interactive Notebooks are wonderful! Kids get so engrossed in the activities and it really is a fun, meaningful way to work on concepts and skills. If you have not used them, maybe it's time to give them a try!
If you want to check out my interactive notebook series, click here to go to my Teachers Pay Teacher store and search "interactive notebooks" or click on any of the covers below! Happy notebooking!