Hi all! Meg, Jennifer’s assistant here, with a guest post from Angie of Lucky Little Learners. Jennifer’s still recovering from her surgery, and some great teaching bloggers have offered to step in and blog in her place. I hope you enjoy this post from Angie, I know I learned several great tips.
Hey everyone! My name is Angie and I blog over at Lucky Little Learners. I am so excited that Jennifer has asked me to write a guest blog post here because we all know how much of an INB GODDESS she is to us all! Thank you Jennifer for this amazing opportunity!
You may not know this but I am a 2nd grade teacher in Minnesota. So, being a teacher of LITTLE LEARNERS, I am here to bring you some tips and tricks for making interactive notebooks successful in the younger grades. Some of the most common challenges that I hear from primary teachers are that interactive notebooks are hard to keep organized, fall apart, hard to cut, not sure how to store them, and take time. My response to that is that IF DONE CORRECTLY, these challenges don’t need to be an issue and interactive notebooks can be your favorite teaching tool too!
QUESTION #1: How do you store interactive notebooks for the LITTLE LEARNERS?
My students keep their interactive notebooks in a tub near my desk. Each student has an assigned tub number. I can quickly count the number of notebooks in each tub so that I can see if they are all turned in at the end of our math period. I also like that they are near my desk so that it is a quick and efficient way for me to grade and/or leave comments in each notebook.
QUESTION #2: How do you keep the interactive notebooks from falling apart?
I prefer that my students use spiral notebooks instead of composition notebooks. That’s just my preference. There are benefits to both. Composition notebook pages are not going to fall apart. Spiral notebooks are larger in size, which I love for my LITTLE LEARNERS. Because the spiral notebooks are placed into the storage containers, the pages stay in the notebooks.
Another tip with interactive notebooks is that Elmer’s “drippy glue” vs. glue sticks are going to create a better hold with the flip flaps, spinners, pockets, etc. I feel that “drippy glue” from the bottle gets a little messy with the LITTLE LEARNERS so I made these glue sponges. If you don’t use glue sponges yet, START TOMORROW! I purchased plastic containers and dish sponges. Simply dump the “drippy glue” onto the sponges, attach the lid, and you are ready to go! Yes, that easy! The glue soaks into the sponge and the students simply wipe the paper they need glued onto the sponge and then place into the notebook. This has been a life-saver in my classroom!
QUESTION #3: How do you organize your interactive notebooks?
Before my students created their first interactive notebook activity, they glue a table of contents on the first few pages of their notebooks. Trust me, you will thank me later for this tip!
Another nice feature that I like to use are these tabs. They provide a quick and easy reference to past activities for re-teaching and sharing time.
Some teachers don’t use tabs but instead will cut the corners of each page once finished. This allows for the students to quickly find the next page that they will need for the next interactive activity they will do. Personally, I use the yarn technique. Simply tie a piece of yarn to the top of each spiral notebook and when your students are finished with their activity, they lay the yarn down onto the page and it will be ready to go for the next day!
QUESTION #4: How do you fit interactive notebooking into your busy schedule?
One thing that has helped me to save time is to assemble all of the interactive notebooks pages that I know I will be using. I like to have an example for my LITTLE LEARNERS to see prior to completing and I don’t know about you but once the school year is in full force, it is hard to find the extra time to do anything! I assembled all of my interactive notebook pages over the summer but if you are starting these mid-year, you could assemble them all over the weekend or break. Then I store them in a binder with section dividers for each skill. Again, you will thank me later.
Another tip that I have is to schedule this time into your schedule. You can choose to do it daily, every other day, once a week…that’s the beauty of them! There is no right or wrong way but schedule it in! I like to use them as one of our math stations but I occasionally use them as a whole group activity too. If you are new to interactive notebooks, I suggest starting small. Make it your goal to use them once a week. I promise your students will be wanting to use them more! I’m not even kidding, mine cheer when I take out my interactive notebook binder to show them the example of the page that they will be doing for the day. Ha! Ha! (I do teach 2nd grade.)
QUESTION #5: What are some tips for a smooth implementation of interactive notebooks?
I think that it is important to have a system in place prior to implementation. Have your storage containers, yarn/tabs, table of contents, and glue method ready to go.
We all know that our students work at different paces. To avoid the nightmare of having a million little pieces of paper stuffed into desks because the student ran out of time, place an envelope on the back of each students’ notebook. I have also seen teachers use a plastic Ziploc bag instead. For those who take longer, they can place their pieces that did not get finished into the envelope and work on this at a later time. No more lost pieces!!!
I hope that after reading this blog post you learned a new tip or trick for implementing interactive notebooks for your LITTLE LEARNERS. If you are interested, I have a bunch of interactive notebooks for sale in my TPT store.
Do you use Interactive Notebooks with your little learners? Do they enjoy learning with them? Share your experience and ask Angie any additional questions in the comments!
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