Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Hanging in there!

Whew!  I have been catching up tonight on the blogs I follow after a storm left us without a working modem and printer at home over the weekend.  I'm not sure if I'm jealous of the longer summer that many have or if I'm thankful for being over the first few days of chaos at school!  :)  In my classes, personalities are starting to show and I'm getting a clearer picture of the academic levels of the students.  I am truly blessed with a great group of students.  I have so much I want to share - from more ways I organize my room to learning strategies I've been using, but as for now I'm trying to keep my head above water between work, home, and fall sports (baseball is the thing with the fellas at my house).  I will be back to blog again really soon! :)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Setting Up IMNs

The year has started....already!  The last two days have left me exhausted physically, but mentally energized in the potential of the year!  Today, day 2 of school, we tackled setting up our Interactive Math Notebooks (IMNs).  Who knew numbering could be tricky?! :)  Also, while it wasn't much of an issue, I do think on future supply lists I will specify I am requesting a 100 sheet / 200 page composition book.  A few students had books that only have 80 pages.  Anyway....homework for the first day of school was to complete the "All about me" title page.  Some were very creative. 

In class today, I began with having them number the pages.  I had them find the middle of the composition book (where the threads are visible) and label those pages 100 and 101.  This was their checkpoint to make sure they were on track with their numbering.

After numbering, we glued in the table of contents.  Last year, I did a table of contents for each unit.  This year, I did a full table of contents at the beginning.  I plan to use a highlighter in the same color of each unit's tab (printed with the Dinah Zike's cd) to designate that unit in the table of contents.  (I hope that makes sense).

We also glued down the notebook rules.  I found this on Pinterest, but when I went back to give credit, the link was broken. :(  On the facing page, we glued the "How to Study Math" guide.  I love this.  A fellow teacher gives this to her students every year and shared with me.  Isn't that great?!

Finally, I typed out the vocabulary for the entire year.  This was glued and taped into the notebooks.  I left space on the glossary pages to indicate which IMN page each word would be found on.  I plan to use the Frayer model to define the words within the book.  I got the vocabulary from my state's units.  Given this is our first year with common core, I stuck with their list completely.  I figure that next year I'll be adding other words I think are important to the year.  I printed the students' copy on colored paper.  The bottom paper was glued down and the one on top was taped using clear packing tape.

If you are considering interactive notebooks, keep the following in mind:

1.  If they will need to cut their papers (as mine do to save time), students will need easy access to scissors.
2.  If you allow the use of rubber cement, GO OVER HOW TO USE THE EVERYDAY for TWO WEEKS!!  If I said, "just a dot, not a lot" once, I said it a million times last year.  I just didn't take the time I should have to get up procedures.
3.  Have the pages in your notebook done COMPLETELY before having starting with the students.  Every page doesn't need to be done, but the one(s) for the lesson should be.
4.  Start a Donor's Choose campaign to get an Elmo! :)  I really think having one would make showing the students sooooo much easier!
5.  Be patient!  (I keep reminding myself!)
6.  Be prepared!!
7.  Remember that what you may consider a "not-so-great" IMN is often better than traditional notes. 

Last year, I attempted these for the first time with my students.  I found they were VERY time consuming!  Again, I attribute part of that to me failing to spend enough time with them on expectations at the beginning of the year.  Still, at the end of year, they were able to find their notes from the beginning of the year.  That proved the notebooks had merit and gave me the motivation to try them again this year.  They are an excellent tool.  I hope we can share ideas as we go!