Finally had some time this week, and listened to the Global Math Department’s podcast on Interactive Notebooks, IN (oooh, lingo!) Megan Hayes-Golding, Nik Doran, James Cleveland, and Jonathan Claydon were on the panel in this podcast, and Jonathan later posted a link to his IN system here.
Some thoughts while listening:
- Gets the kids to take notes of their own accord, sort of (but does model a way to keep a class organized)
- Can be very structured (e.g., write this type of notes on this page, diff notes on other pages…) or not
- Can be used as a store-all for assignments and quizzes etc. (or not)
- Don’t have to check reams of homework pages (use spot checks or completion checks)
- Grading for the course, at least for these folks, tends to be more based on participation (i.e., kids have to ask questions if stumped). Work doesn’t often need to go home. Tests count for a lot. Most check for completion (kids can complete stuff later, but must have initiative to show finished work)
- Kids can refer back to old lessons because it’s in the notebook!
- Taping in assignment prompts (or matching cards or…) works well
- Can leave classroom messy with lots of tape, scissors, scraps
- Will have to keep extra sheets available for kids (vertical files, etc.)
- No more “I don’t have my notebook, paper, whatever”!
- Kids can see all the stuff they’ve done over the year
- Might be more effective with a short reflection on day’s lessons
- SBG can be kept on same page as table of contents
- Digital notebooks don’t work well for math (equations)
I chose this podcast (really, more of a recorded lecture/discussion) because I didn’t really know what the “interactive” part of the IN was about. I really like that the notebooks are a source for a whole year’s worth of work. It really is impressive to have that at their fingertips, especially with some reflection later on. It also made me think of a good lab notebook. This is kinda how I have my students run their lab notebooks. I even have a format for students who only need a lab credit but don’t want to actually work in the lab (some have some anxiety issues or sensory processing issues). Here’s my format:
For non-lab lab credit:
- Watch a video, read an article, otherwise consume some sort of science-related media that interested you.
- On a new page, write a proper citation for your source (MLA or APA or whatever format you want).
- Write a brief (1-2 paragraphs) summary of the story.
- Write your reaction to the story and at least 5 questions you have about it.
- Write an additional 5 questions or thoughts that would take the research/problem/discovery further or in another direction entirely.
Okay, my students don’t always reflect on the thing they’ve just read. But I have found this format pretty successful in at least getting them to try to extend a little bit. It’s also flexible for any topic or series, and in a pinch, I’ve even used it as a sub plan.
I’m not sure I’d use a single notebook for a chemistry course (and in the podcast, someone mentioned that a chemistry teacher at their school also used folders to keep other printed materials). It just sounds like too much micromanaging.
Someone in the podcast also mentioned that higher-level kids hate this format, so I wonder what you do with them to keep them not-irritated and busy in a good way. And how do lower-level kids do, or those with dyslexia or other impairments? How would you do inquiry-based stuff this way, if you’re supposed to create the structure for everything? For SBG, what do kids do to improve their scores (or maybe those scores are mostly test-based and not HW-based)? And how do you study for tests if the notebooks stay at school?