I did this one last week, but didn't get around to blogging about it yet. This is an idea that I stole from @jreulbach in this post. Translating words into math is a skill that is so important in math at any level. So I took her graphic organizer and just moved some things around a little bit so that I could fold it up in our ISNs. I also added words that will indicate variables since the kids will be using it for algebra. I ended up with this: (printed double sided: flip on short edge)
Math Into Words
And put it into our ISNs like so:
As far as actually putting the words in, if I tried to just tell kids what to write I know they wouldn't have really listened all that much. Instead I just took a sheet of paper and wrote out all the words. Then I gave the kids the word page in a clear dry erase sleeve.
They had to read each word, decide where to put it and then write it inside the appropriate symbol. Did they do them all correctly? Of course not, but that's ok. I put it in the dry erase sleeves so that they could cross out words as they went along. Some kids opted to do their work in dry erase marker and have me check it over before writing their answers on the foldable because they wanted theirs to be neat. No problem.
We went over it at the end (in addition to me helping them as I walked around) and they just fixed any of the ones they had in the wrong spot. Often I am actually able to give the kids a significant amount of one on one attention during activities like this (especially with small classes) so I don't even need to read the answers aloud at the end because I have worked individually and checked each kid's paper.
What I also enjoy about this is that I have seen some kids using their key words over the past couple days. Also, as we have been working on problems and activities the kids have been coming across words that were not part of the list originally. When this happens, I'll stop class for a second, discuss the word and have kids add it to their foldable. I could add these words to the list for next time, but I actually really like doing it this because it shows the kids that our notes are ongoing works in progress. We don't just create a foldable and then forget about it; it changes, gets updated, and gets used as we learn new things.
This is one of the ways to create an ISN that is valuable to kids. I don't just have them stick papers in so that they are there, I try to really spend time on them and teach the kids how to use them as a tool.
A good idea to differentiate this would be to create different sheets of key words and do a jigsaw type activity. Kids could move into homogeneous groups and work with a list of words that is at a good level for them and when they return to their original groups they could share all their answers so that in the end everyone ends up with all the words. I think that I'll definitely do this next time. I'll might even try to create the word lists now so that things are all ready to go when I need it next.