Tuesday, July 24, 2012

How I use my ISN

The big thing with interactive notebooks is that they can be whatever you want them to be.  You can use them however you want.  I learned about them from the fabulous science teacher on my team Krystina (go check her out here right now if you haven't already).  After seeing the unbelievable stuff she was doing I was jealous and wanted to do them in math too.  I thought about what was going to work best for me and came up with what I use.

I use one composition notebook for the whole year.  This works for me because
I do not put new things into their ISNs everyday.

My end goal for the ISN was for students to use their books as a how-to guide.  Even though we don't always add something new, they are required to bring it with them to class everyday and also to bring it home with them in case they need to look something up (I doubt they actually all do bring it home if there's no HW in it but oh well).


How to find rate of change.


I decided that I didn't really want all of the daily activities and investigations (I used connected math) to go in there, I just wanted the "good stuff."  To me, this is all of the skills that I teach them how to do.  

On average I might put in anywhere from 1-3 new pages in a week.  
Depending on how I'm teaching the skills it goes down one of three ways.
  1. When I want kids to develop a rule/procedure themselves we will usually spend a day or two working through some type of discovery activities.  I do not put these into the ISN.  In addition to the ISN I have them keep a three ring binder (or section in another binder) for all of these kinds of things.  After they have a good idea of the skill, we will then formalize it with a rule or definition and that goes into the ISN.
  2. When I have something that I want to do direct instruction on, we will do the ISN page first and they they will use the rule/procedure/foldable to do practice activities for the next couple days.
  3. Sometimes I will also work on the same ISN page for a couple days.  Integers is an example of this.  I will have the kids make a foldable on the first day (will be posting this sometime soon.) Then on the first day we go over the rules for multiplication and division, fill them into the foldable and then do practice.  The next day we fill in/practice addition, and the third day we fill in/practice subtraction.  So in this scenario we are using the ISN three days in a row but only really creating one set of new pages.  
How to write a linear equation.
This is the main reason why I only go through one book a year.  Things like do nows, most homework, and investigations all go into the binder.  I don't ever check the binder and it gets cleaned out after each unit.  You could certainly choose to do it a different way if you want to have them put everything into their ISNs.  There is no right or wrong way to do any of it.


I chose this set up was because I really wanted my kids to see their book as something valuable.  I worried that if I put everything in then they might see it as just their notebook for the year with all the work they did.  With connected math a lot of the investigations we do are good, but in my opinion not worth holding onto.  I wanted them to think of their ISN more as the "highlights" of the year, or all of the really important stuff.  I wanted them to feel that when we put something into the ISN that it was something big and important, and I think I accomplished that goal with the way I set up.


How to make a box and whisker plot.


22 comments:

  1. I would love to see what's inside those foldables/booklets! Any chance you might post some of those?

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    1. Absolutely...my plan is to first go through all the intro pages and setting up the ISN and then start to post all of the different foldables that I've done. Hope you'll come back!

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  2. I seriously LOVE your blog so much! This post answered my biggest questions about interactive notebooks! Thank so much!
    ☼ Kate
    To The Square Inch

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    1. Aw thanks! I'm planning to post about getting the whole thing actually set up and then going through all the foldables/pages that I've made and then another post entirely about supplies and such..anything else you want to know about?

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  3. Sarah - I stumbled on your blog through pinterest and would like to follow you, but I don't have a blog myself. Is there a way to follow you by signing up with email?

    I am really liking the posts about the ISN. I will be a third year math teacher (8th grade!) this year and I have done a version of this but it really needs to be tweaked. Thanks for the great ideas!

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    1. Thanks for reading! I just added an option to suscribe through e-mail over on the right.

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  4. Hi there! I found your blog on the Newbie Blog Hop and I'm your newest follower! I clicked on your blog because I LOVE the name, and then I see your recent post is about interactive notebooks! I'm going to be experimenting with them in science this year, so I will definitely be following you... and also checking out your friend's site. I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award. Head over to my blog to check it out.

    Angela :)
    Hippo Hooray for Second Grade

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    1. Thanks!! The quote is my absolute favorite, it's very special to me :)

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  5. All of your interactive notebook posts continue to inspire me! You are so organized and creative!

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    1. Thanks! I'm obsessed with organization!

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  6. Sarah:
    I am very interested in having interactive notebooks this year. I currently give notes in the Cornell Notes format as we are an Avid school (if you know about that), but I find it sometimes shortchages the types of work I can include in our notes. I know others have asked for some photos of more pages, but I too would love that to get a better sense. What would be the most helpful is to see a few pages where you've used the notebooks for different purposes so I can get a good sense of all the different ways that you use them. Also, if someone loses theirs, what's the consequence? With my notes, I have students stay after school and xerox everything they lost, but it seems like photocopying isn't a full solution in your case. Also, if someone is absent, do they include the notes/worksheets from that day in their notebook? Thanks for these great posts!

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    1. If you check out the interactive notebook tab up at the top I'm trying to organize all ISN stuff in there. There is a collection of all the pages I've posted about and I'll be updating it as I add more.

      When they lose them it sucks but luckily it's very rare. I have a filing cabinet with hanging folders for all the pages so the kids just take my book to see how to put everything in

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    2. If they are absent they definitely need to put in all pages they missed

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  7. So you put the "critical" stuff in there. More like the final product as opposed to a comprehensive notebook of everything. That's pretty cool. I've never thought to do it that way. Regular day-to-day works goes into a three-ring binder? Do you keep the binders? And how often do you check them?

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    1. Exactly, I want them to think of it as their own personal textbook with how to do everything we learned. I do the binder for all the other work. They keep their binders and ISNs always...I'm planning to post about what I do for grading and checking them sometime this week so stay tuned!

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  8. I have a qestion about the left side of the ISN. Do you direct what they put in there or is it always their decision? Could I ask them to "create a Venn Diagram comparing equations and inequalities" or do we just go over they topic and they choose what to do with it? Thanks for the help!
    Brynn @ bcmathworld.blogspot.com

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    1. Oh no I always tell them what to put there. I call it the "student side" just because the activity there is designed to make them think and process the information. So instead of notes or instructions on how to do something it's more of their own work. A venn diagram would be fantastic on this side, there's a cool foldable that you can make for venn diagrams too.

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  9. Sarah, I just started using ISNs in my math class and I'm wondering about the logistics of how you present notes to the class. Do you take pictures of your notes and then show them on the SMARTboard or are you filling out the notes along with the students on a document camera or how do you do it? I've tried a couple different ways in the past week and I feel like I'm probably missing something.

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    1. I use the SMARTboard and try to make it look as close to the ISN as possible. I use the lined paper background and use shapes to kinda recreate what the foldables look like so they know where to write things down. I also model by holding up my book. When I have them writing on a worksheet or something I would put it into smart notebook using the little screenshot camera so that I could write directly on the same worksheet as them.

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  10. Do you have templates for the your rate of change/slope/writing linear equations foldables? I absolutely love them!

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    1. I, too, would like to have the templates for your rate of change lesson. I am having a very hard time finding something "notebook worthy" for this lesson. Thanks!

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  11. Do you have pictures of what is inside your Box and Whisker Foldable?

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