Polski3's View from Here

Quote of some personal revelence: "Is a dream a lie, that don't come true, or is it something worse?"

Monday, May 11, 2009

Interactive Notebooks

Well, IMO, the interactive notebook experiment is going fairly well. Most of my students have a spiral notebook and are creating their interactive notebooks according to my instructions. There are a few students who are using three-ring binders for the SIN's (Student Interactive Notebook), and thats OK, as long as they construct it properly and keep it solely as their History SIN. I have recommended to a couple of three-ring binder users to invest in some hole reinforcers to keep things neat and intact.

Students were able to use their SIN's on our last test. Most thought it was cool and a few lightbulbs lit up as several realized that their SIN was a tool of value. My principal came in once, and looked at a few SIN's and asked the kids about them; several responded that it made it easier to keep everything in one place (a BIG issue for many middle school level students!).

However, as with everything we do in the classroom, there are a few glitches. Some students are still writing kinda "big" and notes that should fit on one page are not fitting on one of their pages. (solution - continue notes on a sheet of notebook paper, carefully trim off excess bits and glue it into SIN on the same page as the "first part" of their notes.

Student have to be careful with the glue. Several have glued pages together. I have about 15 bottles of white glue for students to use and at gluing times, caution them about wasting it and using too much. "Mr. Polski, my paper is damp and all wrinkled !!!" "Yes D.S., thats because you just about soaked that bit of paper with glue....next time, just use a thin stream of glue around the edges !" If you are going to do interactive notebooks with you students, have several gallons of white glue to use; you'll probably need it!

Part of SIN's is to show student creativity. My students are not getting too creative with their SIN's. Then again, as I have blogged about in the past, many students don't seem to have much experience with art; drawing things and thinking of how to visually present something of an academic/historical nature. I guess NCLB and its "pass-the-test" in English and Math only drumbeat have deprived our children of such learning opportunities to develop artistically.

This summer, I will put in written requests for donations of spiral notebooks, color pencils and glue to our local big box type stores. I provided several students with spiral notebooks or three-ring binders to use. But I can't and won't buy this stuff for all my students. My principal might buy some spiral notebooks for us to use next year, but the money for schools here in California is fixing to get even tighter for next year [ I doubt California's propositions that we are to vote on next week will pass - many voters see that CTA is pouring thousands of dollars into it and it is supported (and proposed) by California's big tax and spend, spend, spend legislators, then they will vote NO ! to send a message to those deaf ears in Sacramento. ]

But, so far, SIN's are working out just fine. I will be doing this next year.
Thanks for reading this. Your comments are welcome !