Category Archives: CWP

Interactive Notebooks

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INBs were introduced to me at TMC12 last summer by Megan Hayes-Golding.  It was consistently the #1 response students stated on their evaluations as something I should continue doing in my classrooms.  They are not bulky, students like the conciseness of the information we place in them, they helped students stay organized. 

Using CWP (color with purpose), foldables, graphic organizers for note-taking allow students to develop skills that can carry over to future coursework. 

By creating assignments that require students to ‘interact’ with information helps them develop connections and retain the knowledge.  Often times, we would complete an inquiry task in-class, then together create a summary of what we saw/learned. By using a variety reflection tools after completing a task, students are able to self-asess any questions that remain and we can address those misconceptions either individually or in-class.

The TOC is imperative.  For teacher accountability 🙂 and it allows students to quickly locate info in their INBs.  One change I plan to make this year, is the addition of tabs as suggested in this post by Mrs. Hester.  The only change I plan to make to her suggestion, is to use the unit title. 

I really like the EOC Review glossary she shared in the post.  I believe using different techniques which allow students to interact with the vocabulary helps students develop deeper understanding of the words.  I appreciate the complete glossary, but do I dedicate several pages at the end of the INB for this?  What are some ways you incorporate literacy/vocabulary into your INBs? 

A KAGAN structure I used often in geometry this year  was Developing Definitions.  Examples/non examples of each term were posted around the room and students would carousel to each, creating their own definitions.  There was a pair-share, then whole class follow up to discuss how they defined terms to ensure we were all on the same page.  After the first time we used this task, students requested that we do it again.  They said by having to come up with the definition on their own, they were able to have a real understanding of the terms.  For a left-hand page assignment, we would often play “Draw What I Say” – another task from KAGAN.  Students would play pictionary of sorts by using a prescribed statement incorporating specific terminology.

I wonder if by having purposeful assignments within each unit of study focusing on specific terminology, then as a review prior to the end of a unit, allow students to complete those entries in the glossary, if this would have greater impact?

Another idea that developed as the year progressed, were pockets.  We began by having one pocket at the front of the INB.  However, a student suggested to have other pockets throughout.  This coming year, my intenions are to have a pocket at the beginning of each unit.  Here is an example of a pocket.  You still have room to place information.  Possibly your essential questions for the unit, a concept map-brainstorm at the beginning, then revisit as a reflection and modify it at the end of a study?

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This pocket is super easy to construct!  One of my favorite things I learned at TMC/Global Math!  Simply fold top left hand corner down on a page.

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Place glue or add tape to the bottom and left edge of that page.

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Flip pocket top to the right and adher to the back of pocket.

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These pockets are much sturdier than I gave them credit to be.

Another idea I plan to develop before the school year begins are unit organizers to attach to the back of the pocket.  I just need to figure out how to modify this

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into a folded-booklet style which also includes a place for students to record their own learning progress.

I am super excited about continuing use of INBs in my classroom and look forward to developing an even larger basket of ideas to make them even better learning tools for my students!

Pam Wilson, NBCT
Currently Reading
5 Practices for Orchestrating Productive Mathematical Discussions, Smith & Stein
Teach Like  a Pirate, Dave Burgess
From Ashes to Honor, Loree Lough

INBs – A New Adventure – “Flip 4 Answers”

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INBs – A New Adventure

All summer long I searched for ways to improve my literacy in math class – I learned so much chatting with my tweeps during our #lit4math book study.  It helped me redefine what literacy is / should be in math class – not just about reading.  And writing.  Not about creating something completely new – but improving what I already do to emphasize communication – discussing – giving students opportunities to make connections.

As I ran across various posts on the Interactive Notebooks – I knew this was something I wanted to do.  At first I had the wrong perception – thinking the interaction was between student and teacher – I struggled, wondering how in the world would I find the time to “grade” and evaluate that many notebooks efficicently and effectively and keep them in students’ hands for continuous learning???

After reading – mostly from @mgolding – I realized I had it all wrong.   The interaction was between the students and their own notebooks – to provide them with opportunities to engage with the information I gave them.  I was overly excited when I saw @mgolding would be presenting at #TMC12 – then crushed to find out my session was at the same time. boo. and I would miss out.

Listening to conversations that came out of her session and reading more once I returned home only confirmed my decision to move forward with INBs.  My science colleague had decided to pursue this learning tool as well – so grateful to have an in-person to collaborate/share ideas with too!

During the first Global Math Department meeting, she brought calm to me – answering so many of my questions in her session that night – thank you, thank you, thank you @mgolding!!!

I have begun my venture with INBs.  I feel a bit stronger in one class than the other – but I have been upfront with my students – this is a learning experience for me as well.

Some things I’ve quickly learned:

  1. I MUST keep my TOC up to date – its easy to get off track if I don’t!
  2. I MUST do the INB along with students – having completed the pages myself – knowing exactly what I want to go on them;
  3. I MUST practice any foldables / graphic organizers to make sure they’ll fit/work.  I may have a great idea in my head – in theory anyway- but I have to put it to the paper to see if it will acutally do what I need it to do!
  4. I MUST think about what I want to accomplish with the LHP assignments.  This is the one I tend to struggle with some…thankfully I have lunch with my colleague and bounce ideas to get feedback.

Flip 4 Answers

I plan to blog my list of RHP ideas later, but for today, I want to share an idea that came from my students.  Its similar to something I saw @mgolding share at #TMC12.  She had used post-its to cover hints/work/solution to an assignment she left with a substittue teacher.

When asked to create a practice quiz, one of my students used an index card to cover their work – thus “Flip for answer.”  When  I shared the student’s example, I never dreamed others would follow.  Yesterday during our first cumulative test – I oberved several others started playing off the concept.

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As I look at the sample below, a CWP (color with purpose) would be VERY easy to assign…I think on Monday – that may be a good warm-up – turn to page 12 and CWP…  positive or negative or zero or undefined, even identifying which letters model parallel & perpendicular.

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Another idea I think I’ll lean toward using for my LHP assignments – is the use of “Open Questions” – an idea I got during a book chat last fall from More Good Questions Small/Lin.  The second part of RHP 12 was an example of this…give coordinates of two points: with zero slope, undefined slope, positive slope, perpendicular to the slope in part c.

I believe the INBs require me to be more organized in my example choices.  It helps students be more focused / organized as well.  Looking through INBs yesterday – those who were having some trouble with their INBs / not completing their LHP assignments – seem to be the same (few) students who were struggling to make the connections I need them to.  This confirms to me the choices I am making – since most are finding great success.