PSSST… Wanna Know a Secret?
Interactive Notebooks Can Be Time Consuming for the Teacher!
Not really a secret? You’re right! We know Interactive Notebooks can be time consuming and you do too, but we are here to share three interactive notebook secrets that we have discovered over the years that are guaranteed to make YOUR life easier!
Hello and Welcome to our third blog post in our Interactive Notebook Series! ‘
If you missed the first two posts, we went over How to Start Interactive Notebooks and How to Effectively and Efficiently Grade Interactive Notebooks. You can check them out below! (You’ll grab some freebies too!)
Now that you’re caught up, check out these Interactive Notebook Secrets GUARANTEED to Make YOUR Life Easier!
Interactive Notebook Secret #1: Getting Parents Involved Will Make YOUR Life Easier
If you’ve ever looked at or graded an Interactive Notebook, you know that there are two types of students. You have the organized, neat and thorough student, and then you have the HOT MESS student. The HOT MESS student has incomplete assignments, organization issues, pages falling out of their notebooks and sloppy work. Teachers do what they can in the classroom, but there is only so much time in our day, right?!
When we first started Interactive Notebooks in our classrooms, we never thought to involve parents. We thought that it would be too much work for them and that they wouldn’t truly know what the assignments were. After dealing with these HOT MESS students for a few years in a row, we decided it was time to get parents involved.
In order to get parents involved, we decided to start off with a parent letter explaining what Interactive Notebooks were and how they could help their child. We also created notices that stated when their child’s notebook would be graded. We followed these notices up with reminders when their due dates were approaching. The result was that more students were prepared to turn in their Interactive Notebooks on their due dates and they were also more likely to have their assignments completed. ( This is also because of the checklists that we use, as we stated in Post #2 ) We have found that parents want to help… they just don’t know how to most of the time.
Interactive Notebook Secret #2: Implementing a System to Grade Interactive Notebooks Will Make YOUR Life Easier
As with everything in life, having a regular routine and system in place makes everything that much easier. Here are some of the routines that we have put into place with Interactive Notebooks. Our students know that before they turn in their Interactive Notebook, they have to get a peer to check their work! Peer checks create motivation to get their work done! Another system that we have in place is that after Interactive Notebooks are checked, students reflect on their work and examine what they did well and what they would like to improve before the next Interactive Notebook due date.
One Interactive Notebook Secret that we simply could not live without is having a Interactive Notebook Collector! Since we grade Interactive Notebooks on a daily basis, there were COUNTLESS days where we forgot to collect the notebooks that we needed to grade. Forgetting this, even one day, caused us to fall behind on our grading. Students love helping! Let them!
Interactive Notebook Secret #3: Recognizing Students Will Make YOUR Life Easier
We saved the best Interactive Notebook Secret for last. Student Recognition is the most powerful tool that you have to make your life easier when using Interactive Notebooks!
The first way that we use this Interactive Notebook secret is that we created these colorful stickers to place throughout a student’s Interactive Notebook while we are grading. We love watching them flip through their notebooks when they get them back to find the stickers!
Another way that we use this Interactive Notebook secret is that we will sometimes reward them with an Interactive Notebook Incentive Coupon! These are no cost rewards that students can use at any time. THEY LOVE GETTING THESE!!!!!
The last way that we use this Interactive Notebook secret is that we have an Interactive Notebook Hall of Fame posted in our classroom. When we notice that a student has consistently done a thorough job in their notebooks, their name, or number, gets posted on a Hall of Fame star. They are also awarded a “Ask Me! I’m an Interactive Notebook EXPERT!” badge. They become the Interactive Notebook experts and help students who may have questions (which also makes your job easier!)
We hope these Interactive Notebook Secrets will help to make your life a little easier. We applaud you for using Interactive Notebooks in your classroom… and your students do too!