Thursday, November 13, 2014

Interactive Notebook Tips and Tricks

Hey Everyone!  Today starts part one of my interactive notebook mini-series.  Many people come up to me to ask questions about how to implement interactive notebooks and how I keep it organized. Today, I'm hoping to impart on you a few staple things that I do that make using interactive notebooks easier.

1.  I encourage my students on the school supply list to buy college ruled composition books with cardboard covers.  The ones that have plastic covers seem to fall apart easily.  The pages should not have perforations because that will be bad news by the end of the first quarter. The picture shows an example of what they should be bringing.

2.  I use duct tape of different colors to line the bindings.  This has two purposes.  First, it helps the bindings stay together throughout the entire year.  Secondly, I use different colors for each class so it makes it easy to determine which class that notebook belongs to.

3.  I use a ribbon as a bookmark.  This allows students to mark where we left off and easily turn to that page the next day.  If a student's ribbon ends up falling out for some reason or it frays, I just have them use a sticky note which also seems to work just fine.

4. Allow students to create an "About Me" page or personalize their notebooks in some way.  This gives them ownership of their notebook and will likely result in better quality work throughout the year.

5.  Use a table of contents!  I struggle with sticking with a table of contents, but in the long run it is worth it.  I can tell students they need to study a certain page and they can look back and see where that page is located rather than thumbing through each individual page.

6.  I know this will be a controversial comment for those of you who are die hard notebookers, but I prefer stick glue.  I said it STICK GLUE!  Dinah Zike and other notebooking gurus would vehemently disagree with me, but I want quickness and ease, without all the mess.  The pros for Elmer's glue is that it sticks so much better so that the items you glue in will stay, I don't think it is worth the hassle of making sure all of the glue bottles work, aren't clogged, and aren't spilling all over the place.

Well there you have it, the 6 fundamental steps to creating successful notebooks.  Later I'm going to address how I grade or don't grade (a little teaser there) notebooks.  This will then transition me into foldables and science units (with LOTS of pictures).  Stay tuned!

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