Archive for the ‘notebooking’ Tag
Filed under: Historical Fiction, Interactive Notebooks, Strategies | Tags: civilization, interactive notebook lesson, Interactive Notebooks, notebooking, social studies, social studies teaching strategy, teaching strategy, teaching strategy for social studies, using picture books to teach history, Weslandia
I love using picture books to teach history. My fifth and sixth graders love them. Weslandia is a title I used for years to introduce the concept of civilization.
The best part of a picture book is of course, the pictures. I have a Promethean board, so I take pictures of the pages so that I can show them on the board as I read the book. I find that the pictures are faster/easier than scanning. This is a picture of the title page, so you can see that the image quality is pretty decent.
Weslandia is the story of a young boy named Wesley, who decides to create his own civilization as a summer project. His civilization, like all others, starts with agriculture and the development of a staple crop.
This is how I use it as a lesson. The teacher side page is the GRAPES graphic organizer that I wrote about in my previous post.
I ask them questions and they highlight the answers. I show them pictures and they tell me what parts of a civilization they represent. I then have them set up a concept map on the right hand side. In the center is “Weslandia” and then all of the traits spike off the center. As I read them the story they take notes on the parts of Wesley’s civilization to show me that they understand and can apply the different parts.
Here are a few other lesson plans for this book:
Filed under: Interactive Notebooks, Strategies | Tags: how to use interactive notebooks, interactive notebook assignments, Interactive Notebooks, notebooking, social studies, social studies teaching strategy, teaching strategy for social studies
I love, love, love these assignments and posted about them earlier here.
This year I was working with younger students, and I was concerned about them “getting it”. They say you should teach a new strategy with familiar content, so I decided that for each new assignment they would create an example based on themselves. I saved the first ten pages of the notebook for this.
One comment complaint from students is that they can’t draw. I say that everyone can draw, we just can’t all draw well. I am one of those who can’t draw well and this gives me a certain amount of classroom “cred” – If I can do it, they can do it.
So I started with a stick figure, and showed the students how to put clothes on the stick figure to “flesh it out”. Then I did the assignment for myself, explaining the rules. No generic comments (I hear birds singing, etc), no repetitive comments (oops, I can’t mention my class again, hmmn, how can I say this?), and each of the seven comments must tell something important about the person. Here is my example:
Of course, I was tired of drawing myself by the end of the day , but doing it from scratch really seemed to help.
I’ve also recently found this tutorial on DoInk.com on how to draw a proportionate human body:
Then I had student create “mini-mes”, or sensory figures of themselves. I circulated and reminded them to spend equal time drawing and writing. Here are some of theirs:
Students then partnered to complete a reading guide on pioneers on the Great Plains. (That was their left hand assignment) Then, after we reviewed it, I had them create a pioneer sensory figure. Here are some of the result:
These first content ones were so much better than I am used to, and I’m convinced it was because I took the time to teach the strategy with familiar content first.
Filed under: Interactive Notebooks, social studies, Strategies | Tags: interactive notebook assignments, Interactive Notebooks, left hand assignments, notebooking, social studies notebooks, social studies teaching strategy, teaching strategy, teaching strategy for social studies
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Earlier I wrote a post on types of teacher-side assignments for interactive notebooks. Here is another idea, and if you don’t use the notebooks it can be a useful stand-alone strategy.
I’m always on the look-out for new things to do, and while browsing proteacher, I read a post about someone writing a Reader’s Theater to put in their math interactive notebook. (Thanks, Catbells, for the idea!) It got my creative juices flowing and made me remember a reader’s theater training I had had several years ago. I ended up taking my article for the Civil Rights Amendments and re-writing it into a reader’s theater. It went smashingly – the kids had a great time, we re-read the content several times with no boredom or arguments, and they could easily use it to complete their student-side.
Tips on writing/adapting curriculum based reader’s theater:
- Choose a piece of writing that has the content you want to teach. It can be a story or a factual article.
- Don’t use character names – use numbers. This allows for greatest girl/boy flexibility.
- Try not to let any one number speak for too long – I like to change it up every sentence or two.
- Mix up the numbers throughout the reading so that students speak throughout the piece.
- For important parts, let all of the children speak. Add sound effects and action if you wish, but it is not necessary.
The training I received was based on Rosalynd Flinn’s work. This is her website, and there are several great samples – hopefully there is one you can use. I’m attaching a copy of the one I did with my students on Amendments 13 – 15. Our right hand assignment was a simple chart of the amendments, when they were ratified, and what rights the provided.
Filed under: Interactive Notebooks | Tags: how to use interactive notebooks, interactive notebook assignments, Interactive Notebooks, notebooking, social studies, social studies notebooks, social studies teaching strategy
- New information = use a familiar strategy.
- New strategy = use familiar information.
This is my mantra when introducing the notebook assignments. My students come to me used to reading the book, doing some worksheets and answering questions, spiced up by the occasional project. While the notebook assignments are not revolutionary, they are different, and I find I’m more successful if I take the time to model them. I like to start with assignments that we’ll use frequently. I use the most familiar information they have – information about themselves.
This year I have dedicated the first ten pages of my notebook as a “mini-me” unit. It serves two purposes – a great get-to-know-you and models those frequently used assignments in a concrete way. Let me say I do not plan to do this for all 50+ assignments in the assignment table – just the most common ones, and just to help them “get it” initially.
The first assignment we do is a personal title page. The students set up the first page with their name and class period, then decorate it with six pictures about themselves and the things they like. It is a “high success” activity and helps personalize their notebooks. They will do a title page at the beginning of each unit we do, and this will teach the the procedure and give them a sample. I will post pictures later this week.
I like to start with a fairly straightforward and multi-purpose assignment for their first content assignment, the Illustrated Outline. I wrote about these in a previous post. Today I had them create a four column one for themselves first – school, favorites, friends, and family. Then we read a chapter (3 pages) in Reconstructing America, and created an Illustrated Outline based on the text. It went really well because the students had a solid understanding of the requirements of the assignment.
Our first right hand assignment will be a poster. The requirements are simple and straightforward – a title, five pieces of information on the topic, and an illustration. My recommendation is build comfort and success at first, and don’t be afraid to repeat the same assignment 2 or 3 times in a row at first. Choice and the more complicated assignments can wait – you’ve got all year!
Filed under: Interactive Notebooks, social studies | Tags: how to use interactive notebooks, interactive notebook assignments, Interactive Notebooks, left hand assignments, notebooking, social studies notebooks, social studies teaching strategy
My teacher-side assignments are usually either question strips, fill in the blank notes, or articles. These are my “go tos” when I sit down to plan those pages.
I use question strips most often when I want to guide students in reading their textbook or another type of nonfiction article. 7 – 10 questions will fit on a strip,depending on how involved the answer is to the question. I use a Word document in landscape orientation, then insert a table. Once I’ve formatted the individual column, I just cut and paste. Students work on them individually or in pairs, and then I review them with the class.
Fill in the Blank Notes
I use fill in the blank notes when I want to “tell the story” of the topic, with lots of visuals and possibly film clips. I create a powerpoint presentation with all of the relevant info, then export the outline to Word. I delete key words/people/phrases and replace them with blanks. The blanks will be filled from the lecture.
If it is more than one page, the notes can be easily formatted into a booklet. Occasionally I have students answer discussion questions from the notes before we move on to the right hand page.
Sometimes I will write, find, or otherwise cobble together an article that addresses the topic. We read it and do one of several active reading strategies with it. I like this strategy when the information they need to learn is fairly straightforward.
Those of you who use the interactive notebook, I would really love to hear about what you do on your teacher pages!
Here is a more recent post on another type of teacher-side assignment: reader’s theater.
Filed under: Interactive Notebooks | Tags: how to use interactive notebooks, interactive notebook assignments, Interactive Notebooks, notebooking, notebooking organization, social studies notebooks
Every journey begins with a single step.
Notebooks begin with setting them up.
I always take a full class day to set up my notebooks. I buy extra composition books to have on hand so that I can provide them (at cost) for students who haven’t brought them in – I want everyone setting them up at the same time.
I usually start by having the students respond to a prompt – would anyone describe you as organized? why or why not? This sets the stage for today’s lesson. I then introduce the idea of the notebooks with a powerpoint. The powerpoint takes students through the idea of the left/right orientation and shows examples of assignments from previous students. Interactive Notebook Presentation
Now that the students have the idea, I teach them how to glue things in to the notebooks. You can see my earlier post on glue here. I started off my notebooks in the past with “starter pages”. Essentially it was my syllabus in kid friendly terms and instructions for all of those notebook assignments. This served two purposes – by the end of the day, students were really good at gluing and parents held the notebook in their hands at least once at the beginning of the year. One of my teacher friends, Mrs. Heaton, blogged about these starter pages and has a version of them posted on her science notebooking blog.
The drawback was it was a lot of paper, a lot of glue, and a lot of time. Since I was using at least two notebooks a year it meant having to do this twice. Last year another notebooking friend of mine created a booklet that went into an envelope. This was great because the booklet could simply transfer to the new notebook – no extra paper, no extra glue, and no extra class time.
This year, I decided that I would put all the notebook assignments in a table format that we would keep in a binder with their agenda. This way all of our teachers could use the same printed out assigmment instructions instead of having four completely different versions. Save a tree .
I actually really like the table format and I am interested to see how it will work out this year. The assignment ideas come from many sources, and I changed instructions to suit my needs and my students. It is impossible to recognize every source of each assignment – many started off as suggestions for assignments for the History Alive program which I then fleshed out and adapted, and over many years of notebooking ideas have been bounced around over the internet and over coffee and things have evolved and changed. I would like to give a shout out to Mr. Roughton though, who so generously posted 50+ assignments on the internet, many of which are included and/or modified on this list.
I usually close the set up the notebook lesson by having students create a personal title page. You can find the instructions under “Unit Title Page” on the Assignment Table. Instead of using the textbook they include six illustrations about themselves.
That’s the setup day. It’s lengthy, but I work with younger students and I feel like taking the day is an important first step.
Filed under: Interactive Notebooks | Tags: how to use interactive notebooks, Interactive Notebooks, notebooking, social studies notebooks
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I use composition notebooks, and I love them. The biggest hassle with them is formatting your handouts, and the good news is that once you figure out what works best for you it really isn’t that big of a deal!
Options for full size pages from reproducible books/workbooks:
- Use as is, and have students take notes or answer questions into the notebook itself. (Paper conscious – this only requires a class set, possibly minimal paper if using a question strip.)
- Use as is, and fold. A standard sheet of paper folded in half will easily fit into a composition notebook. Use tape or glue, so that the page can be unfolded and read.
- Copy the original on a copy machine that allows reduction – 70 – 75% seems to work best. Then trim two copies, and make a master copy from this. Always keep your master copy – this way you only have to do the work once!
- Scan to pdf (many workbooks and reproducible books come in pdf form already) and print two to a page. That option is in the print dialogue box – many many full size pages are perfectly readable printed two to a page. This is my preferred method.
Options for teacher-created handouts:
- Design as normal, then print two to a page using the option in the print dialogue box.
- Format your word document this way – Landscape, two columns – then create as usual. This will allow for two to a page.
- For longer notes, design as usual. Choose “book fold” in the print dialogue box and you can easily get 3 half pages as a booklet.
- For longer notes, you can also “layer” half sheets creating a type of flip book.
Filed under: Interactive Notebooks | Tags: how to use interactive notebooks, Interactive Notebooks, notebooking, social studies notebooks
The first decision to make in starting Interactive Notebooks in your classroom is the type of notebook your students will use. The basic choices are binders, spirals, and composition notebooks. I have tried all three of these, and each format has pros and cons, and what you choose will depend on your teaching style, storage, and student population.
Personally, I prefer composition notebooks for their consistency, relative durability and inexpensiveness, and organizational properties. I really like having all of my students “on the same page”, and it is very obvious during parent conferences when work is “missing” because of all the blank pages. In a binder, there aren’t blank pages for the missing work and the visual isn’t as apparent. I hope this has been helpful in making your decision and if you have any additional pros and cons please share!
Filed under: Interactive Notebooks | Tags: interactive notebook assignments, Interactive Notebooks, left hand assignments, notebooking, social studies, social studies teaching strategy
Sometimes you don’t have a lot time.
Sometimes your material just doesn’t “lend” itself to the incredibly creative.
And for notebooking newbies, sometimes you just need a place to start.
For these times, I like to turn to note-taking assignments like the concept map or the illustrated outline.
Note-taking, determining importance, paraphrasing – whatever you want to call it – is a skill that will be used throughout life.
Notes about this strategy:
- If the article has sub-headings built in, you can use those as your topics for the map or outline.
- If not, you can either provide students with topics or generate them with the class.
- I suggest that students take three notes for each topic in their own words.
- I ask that students color code, and illustrate their notes.
Sample Concept Map
I actually use these to introduce the left-right concept. I start with webs, then illustrated outlines, then allow them choice. Then I move on to the more involved notebook assignments.
Filed under: Interactive Notebooks | Tags: Interactive Notebooks, notebooking, social studies, social studies notebooks, teaching strategy, teaching strategy for social studies
Just read the story of a battle? Someone’s biography? A myth?
Then it just might be time for a comic strip. I like to assign these when the notes/information are more narrative in nature. A good comic strip or storyboard will take on average 20-30 minutes of time.
These are the directions I give my students:
Comic Strip: A comic strip is an illustrated summary.
ð Read about the event or person in your notes.
ð Highlight the 8 most important things that happened in the event or the person’s life.
ð Turn your notebook sideways and title your storyboard on the margin line.
ð Separate the remainder of the page into eight panels, like this:
(image didn’t copy – draw a line through the middle, then a line to intersect, then a line halfway to the left and a line halfway to the right for 8 good panels)
ð At the top or bottom of each box, write your caption. Your caption must be at least one complete sentence and explain what is going on in your illustration.
ð Above or below the caption, draw your illustration. This should be appropriate, meaningful, and colored.
ð When you have finished, your comic strip should be a meaningful summary of the event or person’s life we have studied.
Instructional note – As with all notebook assignments, you will need to model. I like to share a few that were done on an unrelated topic before we get started, but that is the benefit of having used this strategy before. When I didn’t have samples, we sometimes did one together. A simple and worthwhile trial is to illustrate the pledge of allegiance in eight panels. Once the students understand that they are simply illustrating their captions, it goes pretty smoothly from there.
This child prefered this orientation for their Romulus/Remus strip – that was fine with me. I try not to “nitpick” the instructions if the child has a preference that doesn’t significantly impact the assignment.
Other ideas for comic strips:
- summarize a battle from the Punic Wars
- summarize the life of Julius Caesar
- summarize the contest between Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci
- summarize the spread of the Black Death
- summarize the steps to knighthood
- summarize a day in the life of a serf
The list could go on and on. Actually, the serf option is something that my students just completed – I’ll need to take some pictures and update this post.
Differentiation option: If you have a notes section that fits for a comic strip – it would pair nicely with several other assignments. After we learned about the daily life of a serf, students had a choice between completing a comic strip, writing a diary entry, and making a sensory figure of a serf. All three processing assignments accomplished the same goal, while allowing students choices to fit their individual needs.