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Left Side Versus Right Side for INBs

Left Side versus Right Side

Over time I have read many articles and blog posts about the use of Left Side and Right Side working in an Interactive Notebook. Some of you may be looking at me right now asking yourself, “What the frak is Jenn talking about now?” Check out a few views on Left Side/Right side here, here and here.

A basic synopsis is that the different hemispheres of our brain are used for different functions. Based on this research it is suggested that the Right Side of an Interactive Notebook be used for Teacher Directed instruction as that flows with the Right Side of our brains which is more analytic and takes the input and forms it all into an organized manner. On the flip side, the Left Side of the Interactive Notebook is used for the Output as we use our more creative and free thinking side to use what was put into our brain and then think reflect on what we have learned.

For many people this works and I am proud that they are able to make it work. But if you have been reading my blog, watching my You Tube videos or even have been able to see me present, you will have heard me say time and time again, “You have to do what WORKS for YOU and YOUR STUDENTS!” There is not right or wrong way to do Interactive Notebooks as ONLY YOU know what is best for your group. {I’m down off my soap box, I promise.}

So what does that mean in my personal classroom? Well, we flip it! Growing up anytime I used a resource {textbook}, the meat of the lesson was on the left hand side and then anything I practiced was on the right. Reflection was done externally. Ready for some pictures? Will that help?

Left Side and Right Side of Interactive Notebooks

{Remember, we don’t do Bell Ringers in my class and instead use those first three minutes to prep our notebook for the days lesson. I simply have the visual placed under my document camera or a picture of the first stages projected on my screen.}

Left Side, Right Side INB Lesson on Problem Solving Strategies

As you can see on the left side of this lesson on Problem Solving Strategies, the students have attached a chart about the Technical Reading Strategies that we use in our classroom. Basically this is UPS Check broken down into smaller steps. Now, just because this chart is already done for them doesn’t mean they are done. Typically with this lesson I have charts up around the room with the underlined word on each. Each table is given about 10-15 minutes to collaborate anything and everything they know about that one step in the Problem Solving Process and create a “down and dirty” visual so that we can remember what each step is symbolic of.

Then we spend NO MORE THAN 15 minutes going through each poster. You see, we are now up to 25-30 minutes of that 42 minute class have been used. AHHH!

Right Side INB Lesson on Problem Solving Strategies

Quick gather back and it’s time to process what we have learned. And you know what, we may not finish and that is okay. Let’s start with quickly, “What is a Problem Solver?” Students give ideas, write down three of them. Good! We have under stood what it takes to be a Problem Solver and you know what, if you have issues where your class can’t tell you, this gives you a clue of where you need to STOP and think on your feet to adapt and change what you are doing to get all on the same page!

Left Side INB Lesson on Problem Solving Strategies

Remember I talked about using those first few minutes for prep time rather than using class time to prep materials? When my students walk in on this class day, they would have picked up the Problem Solving Strategies Poster (grab the freebie here), a 3 Flap Mini Book (part of my INB Starter Pack set) and a set of 4 pre-typed Word Problems. The rules are the same for all… cut on the dashed lines, fold on the solid lines.

Problem Solving Strategies Practice

At this point it’s time to glue in our 4 pre-typed Word Problems. Students have already cut them out, they just need to know where to put them. Wham bam, that’s done! Now, modeling how to use the strategies effectively with the first problem. Going through step by step and talking about it together. This might take longer than expected on the first go round and that is okay because during that first week of school it is important that they get the skills down and understand how to effectively use their Interactive Notebooks.

At this point, you need to judge a few things. Were your students with you? Are they lost and need more practice? Are they ready to move on and show you what they know? Can they do this on their own? Use the last few minutes to let them try the next problem (heck, let them choose on of the the three remaining). Work together as a table group and see if they can at least get all the way to the computation.

You may be screaming at me right now, “But Jenn, they didn’t finish!” Well, do you ever just teach a topic one day and no spiral back to it over and over? Of course not! Tomorrow, grab the class back together after their Magic Minute of prepping for the next lesson. So what did we learn yesterday? Let’s work together as a class and see what we can complete on our Problem Solving Practice and see what we came up with. {At this point, I would then assign whatever is NOT complete as homework that may or may not be checked at a later time.} Don’t let this take more than 10 minutes because you have your next lesson or activity to work on. Psst: My next lesson after this is Wonderful Word Problems.

Problem Solving Strategies Reflection

Now at the end of Day 2 is when I would give an Exit Ticket based off the material of Problem Solving. You can either do it in true Exit Ticket Style or Post It, Prove It Style as either one will work and BOTH have their benefits.

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