Tuesday, September 11, 2012

First Couple ISN Days

My focus for this week is to get the ISN's all set up and start to get down the routine so that cutting and taping things in doesn't end up being the focus on my class.  We put a couple things in already and I stressed to students that I'm walking them through the process now, but that soon they'll need to be able to do it on their own.

I handed out the supply list on the first day (last Thursday) and had supplies due Monday, so yesterday we started working on their ISNs.  I counted bringing the notebook as their first homework grade.  For anyone that did not bring one, I just gave them a notebook and recorded it as a missing homework assignment.  I did tell them that if they end up getting one they can just replace one I gave them and I'll take away the zero.

I like to start setting up the ISN with the pages inside.  So yesterday I walked them through setting up the table of contents (4 pages), words worth knowing (6 pages), the folder in the back, and the HSPA reference sheet.  We then added the course guide on page 2 and their homework assignment was to read the rules and complete the high-five activity on the left side.  This is what these pages look like:

On the right side, I put three things.  One is the course guide (grading policy, textbook info, and all that type stuff).

The second is my classroom expectations.

The third is a letter about all of the ways they can stay informed about what's going on in class.  I have six things listed on here that I plan to use this year (class website, e-mail, online gradebook, twitter, remind101, and an e-mail blast program).

I was pretty impressed because we got through all of this in the 42 minute period and even ended up with some time left over. 

I've said before how much I like this high-five activity to go with the rules, but I will say it again.  As checking them today, it was clear that the majority of the kids didn't understand what I wanted them to do.  If they tried I gave them credit, but I re-explained that they needed to read the rules (many didn't) to complete the activity.  I'm going to reassign it again later in the week.  The ones that didn't read the rules was very obvious so I knew quick that there was a lot of confusion.

Today was cover decorating day.  I gave kids a few guidelines, but let them be as creative as they want with their decorating.  This is one of the things that while it doesn't seem necessary, helps kids to start to feel a sense of ownership of their book that will be useful in getting them to take it serisouly. 

Some kids got really into it, while others just met the bare requirements.  Both of which were ok because I wanted them to do whatever they wanted with it.  To make sure that this arts and crafts time didn't turn my room into a complete disaster, I set things up very purposefully into three areas.

All of the plain colored paper was in one area.  Kids were free to take what they wanted from here.  We also kept a container for scraps, so as not to waste my colored paper.  Kids were even really good about looking through the scrap container if they only needed a small piece of a color.

On another table was all of the "Numbers About Me" labels.  These are just little slips of paper that say "Numbers About Me" in different fonts.  I spread them all out and they actually stayed really neat.  I was really happy with my kids on that one.

In the back of the room, I had rolls of random wrapping papers that I picked up at the dollar store for any kids that wanted to use patterened paper.  I stayed at this table and I cut the amount of paper they needed to keep things from getting out of control here.

Besides that, all work was done at their tables where they had everything they needed.

More pictures to come tomorrow: I'm giving them a little bit more time to finish up.


  1. I love how you let them decorate them. I would have never thought of using wrapping paper for this. I've used magazines and scrapbook paper before. This year my students are covering them in their stickers they get for rewards that they are then able to turn in for things.

    1. Thanks :) I got the idea because I use scrapbook paper on my own, but it's just too expensive for me to provide for them to use. I figured wrapping paper could get a similar look for less..especially if it's from the dollar store!

  2. What are your requirements for the cover of their ISNs?

    1. Eh I didn't really have any. I said I wanted them to do numbers about themselves and let them go with it. It wasn't something I counted as a grade or anything. Some kids did tons and some wrote like their birthday and that was it. In the end it's their notebook, so I'm pretty flexible with whatever they want to do with it.

  3. How did you laminate the notebook? I think I read that you laminate them somewhere.

    1. I think I read on another post that she uses packing tape to laminate it (:

    2. Yep, packing tape is correct!

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  5. Are the students able to use one notebook for the entire year? I was worried about running out of space.


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