Friday, August 29, 2014

First days of Interactive Notebooks

This week has been GREAT so far! Every student has started their Interactive Notebooks and are doing well at saying caught up. For my own documentation, as well as suggestions for others, I am uploading pictures for each of the pages we've completed so far.

This year, we are using the "cheap" spiral notebooks, found at WalMart, Target, Office Max, Staples, etc. for 17 cents (on the Back-to-School sales), I purchased twenty five extra notebooks for those students who weren't able to have them the day we started entries. By the end of the day, I had given away ALL of them! I asked those students to try to get one and then just give it to me to replace the one I provided. So far, about one-fourth of them have done that; I figure a 17 cent loss is affordable. (Plus, our office ladies had purchased some and were able to help reimburse my stash for future students.)

NOTE TO THOSE WHO HAVE USED MY DOCUMENTS BEFORE...I've had to re-size them to make them fit in these smaller notebooks. I'll try to upload the new sizes but if I forget, you'll have to make sure you do that if you are moving to the cheaper, smaller ones.

PAGES 1-3: The first three pages of the notebooks will be designated the TABLE OF CONTENTS. Each time they create a page, they will enter the title and the page number on this page.

PAGE 4: As I did last year, I will be giving them "Doodle Pages" to color when they have all their other work finished. I found these at DOODLE-ART-ALLEY and just re-sized them to fit the notebooks. (I will not be posting links to these's easy for anyone to do using their own quotes.) 

PAGE 5: I want my kids to start setting goals for this class. We have an Advisory period this year where they will be setting academic goals so I want the ones they put in their Interactive Notebooks to be focused specifically on English. I honestly can't remember where I found this format idea but I did redo it to fit in my notebooks using a table in Word. I had them fill out the top three boxes and then will revisit this page later in the term to check their progress and revise it, if necessary. CLICK HERE FOR THE PDF. 

PAGE 6: This is a reference page for formatting documents on the computer. I have used this format (MLA standards) for years and still have students coming back saying they use it in high school! Love that!! CLICK HERE FOR THE PDF FILE.

PAGE 7: This page is probably the most used page in the entire notebook! I am adamant on them putting their "MLA HEADING" on every paper they submit to me. The first few assignments include a grade for proper formatting to make sure they do this correctly. I've had a few parents upset that their student lost points on an assignment because it wasn't "perfect" but when I explain to rational behind it...that it is a standard adopted by our school and one they will use in high school and many of their college classes...they understand. This year, I let them use some of my beloved Post-It notes instead of tracing cards I'd cut for the different sizes and then made them color them to look like Post-Its. I made a really big deal about it being a "step in my recovery program for Post-It addiction." They thought that was pretty funny. ;) 

PAGE 8: This summer, I attended the USOE Utah Standards Academy. We were taught several strategies for doing CLOSE Readings (more on that later...), different ways to take notes, and how to do an "OPTIC Analysis" which is used for analyzing visual pieces like paintings, graphics, cartoons, etc. I've never done this with my kids before simply because I didn't know how. We did this yesterday and I LOVED IT!!!!!! I used this page as their reference and then had them do the assignment on a separate sheet of paper. We went through it step-by-step using Norman Rockwell's painting "The Holdout." It was FABULOUS!!!!!!! I highly recommend adding this to your curriculum as a really fun activity that everyone enjoys! (I figured it fit the Common Core Standard SL8.2 for my 8th graders and SL.9-10.2 & 3 for 9th graders. While there's nothing "fallacious" in this picture, it gets them started with the idea of how to "evaluate information presented in diverse media." CLICK HERE FOR THE PDF.

PAGE 9: Each week, we will be doing "MUGShot Monday" using Laura Randazzo's FABULOUS "FULL YEAR of English Class Vocabulary, Grammar, and Literary Terms, Devices" available on Teachers Pay Teachers. I'm so excited about using this package with my own little tweaks to it. This morning (we did them on Friday this week since Monday is a holiday and I don't want to get behind...), I had them glue this Proofreading Marks page into their notebooks. Then I put the MUGShot up on the projector (she has it as a PowerPoint) for them to work on. They came in and started cutting out this page before the tardy bell even rang! It was AWESOME!!! I can't wait to do more! :)  CLICK HERE FOR THE PDF. (NOTE: I already had this one as a PDF...I just printed it and then reduced it to fit on the notebook page.)

That gets me caught up through Bell Work on Friday. I'm excited at how well things are going so far, and really hope it will continue! :)


  1. I love your blog! I have it bookmarked and on my favorites bar! Thank you for all your wonderful resources. I think we have very similar teaching styles, but you have everything so nice and organized and on one beautiful blog! All my resources are spread out in files and binders and flash drives etc. I have one questions. My BIGGEST issue with interactive notebooks is numbering the pages. That seems dumb, but it always turns into a huge issue! Students use a different amount of space when they take notes or write personal responses etc. Invariably, lessons starts with... "What page is this supposed to be on...but I'm on page ___, I still have a 1/2 page I have to write on the back of the page?" How do you handle page numbers in the interactive notebook? Thank you so much! : )

    1. That's a great question. I've seen some teachers that make it mandatory that everyone is on the same page, but I struggle with that in language arts. How do you handle it?

    2. That's a great question. I've seen some teachers that make it mandatory that everyone is on the same page, but I struggle with that in language arts. How do you handle it?

    3. The way I have mine set up, I have a "journal" section, which is where their free-writing goes. Otherwise, what they have on each page is very structured. I also will "allow" for 2 pages to be used, for example, you will use pages 52-53 for this activity. It must all fit on these two pages. If you have space leftover, this can be an area for free-draw or free-writing. When they don't understand, I show them mine as an example and tell them that this is the expectation, and they usually only guffaw once or twice. Good luck!

  2. Do you have a rubric you use for their notebooks? I'm using interactive notebooks for the first time this year and want to create a rubric that clearly reflects my expectations for the notebooks.

    1. I personally don't grade mine. I think of it as a book of resources, and if they aren't doing what they're supposed to, then they will be missing important resources. Eventually this will become apparent and they will have to fix it on their own time.