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I am utilizing the interactive notebook this year, as best as I can. I was wondering if any one has any possible recommendations for how to assess each notebook without reading each notebook.. rather a notebook quiz? rubric? If I were to give a rubric out what type of rubric would be recommended. Thanks! Rather then reinvent the wheel; I thought to ask my peers! :-)
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Great question! I have wrestled with this for a few years now. I teach 375 1st-6th grade students as a STEM Specialist and every quarter sneaks up on me. When the final week of grading arrives, I scramble to figure out how to assess our SNBs (science note books). A few tricks I have learned that are easy include: 1) spot checking for key elements - well organized entries; a balance between note taking, diagramming, and inclusion of external resources; and completion of certain entries that I specify as "required" for a grade (I will pick one to three entries that we work on intentionally with the clear intention of being graded). This makes it fairly easy to glance through notebooks and get a decent idea of student SNB work, with the aid of a rubric, and assign a grade.
I have also tried keeping a running record sheet for each class and each day I review a few student's SNB (along with the student when possible) and this way, we can use the review of the SNB as a way to discuss key concepts, address misconceptions, and coach the student's SNB skills based on disciplinary practices. This is just tricky to stay on top of.
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I am not sure if this helps, but another thing I do is prior to a end of unit check I also give students a rubric of what should be in their notebook, along with the possible points for each. Students like this prior to submitting their notebooks and things they didn't get full credit for because they were completed and turned in on time... they can still complete and receive partial credit. Depending on your policies this may or may not be something you allow. Accepting late work, but at partial credit, due to things being turned in through the notebook, this relieves a lot of the extra and late work towards the end of a large unit and students are more likely to complete unfinished classwork so you can give feedback maintaining focus on that interactive component and supporting them even late on the way to new content.
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Thanks for bringing this topic up Emily! I have never heard about interactive notebooks until now. Anyways after reading about what interactive notebooks are, I looked up a variety of rubrics. I'm not sure what grade level you teach so I attached a bunch. It seems like the grading is based on the participation of the student by recording information in their books.
interactive_notebook_rubric.pdf (0.10 Mb)
Best_Ideas_for_the_Notebook_Secondary.pdf (1.09 Mb)
InteractiveNotebook.pdf (0.07 Mb)
ScienceNotebookRubric.pdf (0.05 Mb)
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Thanks for sharing.
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I have as of recently started using interactive notebooks in my own studies.
I am having difficulty remembering how to use it and which side to use when it is time to add an entry. I appreciate you attaching the links to help some new time users out there. Great resource.
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Andy- Thanks for the information. I also want to use science notebooks, the rubrics are what every student needs to see so they know what to expect. NO surprises there.
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That's a great point that you bring up. If you have over 100 INBs to grade page-by-page, life will pass you by! Although I am still in the learning stages of using an INB in my math and science classes, one thing that I have noticed is the importance of the "adult reflection." If the adult reflection piece is informative and succinct, I can usually tell that the student has internalized the importance and concepts of the topic, and his/her individual work remains as evidence. Not always can students convey their understanding through their INB writing, but the reflective pieces by the external individual usually can describe their taxonomical level of understanding.
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Teaching Science With Interactive Notebooks By: Kellie Marcarelli is a book that can be purchased through the NSTA bookstore. I purchased this book more than a year ago and have used it over and over to help me with my use of Notebooks in the class room. I have been using Notebooks fr about 5 years now and have found this to be one of the best books to help a novice and someone who would like to refine theirs even more.I highly recommend this this book. It costs between $27-34.00, and the number of times I've used it and lent it out-it has more than paid for it's information!
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Emily, I almost forgot-the way I assess my notebooks is through "Secret Surprise Quizzes" or Notebook Exams. Depending upon the schedules (which change a lot due to budget)I have between 135-205 students. Anyway you look at it, I do not have enough room to keep all of the notebooks. On notebook paper,I have the students answer a set of questions that are answered using their notebooks.I teach 6th grade and I end up with several outcomes. I rarely have more than 10 questions, they are based upon what we have been recording in our notebooks. I require complete "academic format" answers (where the answer restates the question and can stand alone when read by a stranger), the Journal can be used by the student to answer the question (encouraging them to keep their Jornal up-to date and complete-ownership becomes theirs), and the question is posed in such a form that it is not a "Blooms Knowledge" based answer (fact recalll. At the beginning of the year, the questions are fairly Low-level Blooms and as the students become more familiar with what the expectations are...the level of questioning becomes higher level. I love this way of assessing because the students that are having trouble are easily identified and as the year goes by, I am able to address their weaknesses individually; organization of the notebook, comprehension problems, unable to follow directions, multi-step problems...My students score significantly higher on standardized test scores and I attribute some of this to the fact that they are encouraged too use their higher order thinking skills to complete their work and it is not overwhelming.I like my method-seems to work and easy to grade.
Sue, Thanks for this tip. It makes sense to use the notebook for a quiz. Even though the post is two years old ,it came in handy. I am putting together a science unit notebook and will defiantly include this information. Do you have any other tips for working with middle school students? Thanks-Beth
This is my fifth year of using science notebooks, and every year it gets a little easier and little smoother.
The first thing I will share is that no one teacher uses the notebook the same. I would recommend that you find the system that works best for you and your students and use it. I make small changes every year in how my students complete the work/pages and even in how I assess the work in the notebook.
This year I seem to collect the notebook every other week - usually on a Friday, so I have more time to go through them. I distribute a rubric to the students two days before I collect them, which explains exactly what sections and reflections I am looking for and will be grading. I also include the point value for each; reflections are worth twice the value of any notes etc... Students write their names on the rubrics and turn them in with the notebooks - it is an easy grading slip. When assessing, I tend to do a quick "glance over" - make sure that they seem to get the general idea by looking over their reflections.
I have also been known to complete a quick walk through to check for assignment completion. I carry a clipboard with a rooster and simply check off if the work is done, and if not done, I indicate how many points the student earned. This method allows me to take a few minutes to discuss the student's reflective work etc...
Overall, the key and most valuable aspect of the science notebook is the reflection. It the reflection that forces students to interact with the content and develop personal meaning from it. In my humble opinion, the rest of the notebook, such as a table of contents etc...is negotiable. :-)
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I just caught your statement that reflection is the most important part of the INB, and I like that! I am a huge proponent of reflection; however, I have not used it in my assessment of INBs. We often reflect, but it is not graded. I have been pondering our STEM Lab and the level of rigor . . . I think we have room to grow and incorporating more assessment and intentionality in our use of INBs could be a tangible move in the direction of increasing rigor. What I like, is pondering how the student reflection helps on both fronts - helps us know what students know and how they are thinking while at the same time provides a concrete assessment point and gets students thinking about their learning. Thanks for sharing!
I have been investigating using Interactive Notebooks next year and this thread has been very helpful. I'm definitely going to purchase the book here at NSTA!
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I love the ideas, resources and the encouragement I have received from this discussion. This is the first time I've used the notebooks in my 100% special education class. I am teaching criminal science this semester. My students struggle with written expression and really won't study, but I find they are more able to orally defend their answers and respond to the questions I ask during class since I began using the notebooks. I'm sold!
My goal is to work on developing rubrics and expectations that build on my student's strengths and are not overly critical of their weeknesses. Many of them couldn't be as neat as one might assume is "normal" if they were offered money. On the other hand, I can use their present levels of functioning in the classroom and focusing on the goals they have for the year, increase the rigor in the areas they are working on (IEP) while they are being exposed to and learning the curriculum.
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I took a tip from some friends and I will walk around the room during assignments and when I see them properly recording something in their notebooks (observations, hypotheses, claims and evidence - I pick one) I will put a sticker or a stamp in their notebook for that entry, that day. That also helps when I collect notebooks to look through them because that is already graded.
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Thank you everyone for your input regarding interactive notebooks. I have always wanted to try this in my science classroom as I have heard how beneficial they can be. I have also been hesitant to try it due to the challenge of assessing them. Don't want to lug 180 notebooks home and try not to spend weekends in my classroom grading (although I'm already not so successful with that one!) With the rubrics and tips provided I now have an idea of how to assess them and how to do it efficiently!
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Thanks for the information on interactive notebooks in science class. I have heard about interactive notebooks and may have glanced through a math one a few years ago, but I have not made this a practice in my classroom yet. I think its because I do not know much about interactive notebooks to begin with. I would love to see pictures of secondary science and math samples! Do any of you have some you are willing to share?
Andrew and Sue thank you for the resource ideas! The pdfs seem really helpful at organizing an INB and grading them. The book seems like it would be invaluable and the "Surprise Secret Quizzes" is a great idea for ensuring students access their notes and keep them organized (Two problems I see increasing in my classroom).
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There are several examples of interactive notebook pages in various journal articles and e-book chapters (the interactive notebook books have lots of sample student pages scattered liberally through them)
You might try looking at the following for ideas (and the book that Sue mentioned above is unfortunately NOT available as an e-book). A search of Science Interactive Notebook Collections brought up these two that are well-recommended:
I recently started using the interactive notebooks within the "explore" of a 5E learning cycle lesson. I ask students to "Show What You Know" by having them answer a question or explain a discrepant event on the top of their left-hand side page. (The left hand side page is divided in half - top and bottom.) The bottom half of the left hand side page is still reserved for their reflection. I have found that having student "commit" to a reason or answer helps them (and me) better address any misconceptions prior to beginning the lesson.
I have been using the interactive notebooks for a 4 years. I am always learning new ways to grade. This year I am grading the books every 2-3 weeks. I choose 4 pages to grade/check. Each page is a different type of lesson; for example my students are expected to do the warm up question. I would choose one of these pages to grade. I would choose a lab data page, voc. page. It depends on what I really want to make sure they are doing. I have found this is a better way for me to assess their progress. Hope this is helpful.
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What is a voc?
This is my third year using the notebook and I change it every year in my attempt to perfect their use and my grading strategies. It's a process but the posts here are awesome. I'm also happy to report that the rest of my department all went to using the notebook this year so we will have consistency between the teachers and grades! The results of my student test scores helped to encourage everyone to give them a try. The best part is each of us have a small change to how we use/grade them so it will be helpful as we go through the year to see what is working and what is not working.
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One of my favorite new place to find resources within the NSTA website, is the past conferences pages. For example, I went to the Indianapolis Conference webpage and did a search for any presentations on notebooks. Several of the presenters of various workshops on notebooks placed their resources there for all to enjoy and use. Here is the URL so you can browse the resources available through the workshop presenters at this past year's Indy NSTA conference: Science Notebooks Resources Just go to the bottom of that page and type in 'notebook' for the keyword to search. Several workshops will pop up. For example, I enjoyed previewing the ppt and video clip offered by Sandy Ledwell from the Alabama Dept of Ed under the Workshop: Science Notebooks: A Tool for Organizing Science Literacy. I hope you find some useful items there or at other past conferences on your topic.
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Our team also uses an interactive notebook with our 6th grade students in which [u]everything[u] we do is placed in the notebook. As a new teacher, I have found that this "one source" really benefits our students with organization, especially our students with special needs. I would like to see our notebooks become more "interactive" but I'm not sure how to make this happen just yet. Our parents have also commented that having everything in one spot helps their students because they are not searching through several folders or other notebooks for answers to homework, etc.
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I am interested in knowing more about your notebooks. My questions are dealing with the nitty-gritty. What type of notebooks are you using? How do deal with handouts?
Do students use their notebooks as references for scientist meetings? I am thinking about all of these things as I think about transitioning to the Next generation Science Standards.
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We use a Mead, 5 subject, college ruled, 8 1/2 x 11 notebook. This size fits a printer size piece of paper. Our students are required to number each page and we glue all of our handouts in the notebook. They are taught to glue "flat", or as a "door" or "window" for those handouts that have text on the back. We pull from a variety or sources versus the textbook so we tend to use a lot of handouts, to include lab sheets, so students have a resource. In cases where students respond to warm-up questions, brainstorm/discuss science content, or take notes, we simply designate a page in the notebook. As a team, we discussed other types of notebooks or folders, but we have found this process works best for our students.
I have used interactive notebooks for close to 15 years now with my middle school Design and Engineering students. Not everything in the notebook gets “graded”. I tend to collect mine about every two weeks the first couple of months of school, then once a month until Christmas, then a couple of times during the quarter after January.
Each time I collect my notebooks, which are bound graphing composition books, I have the students use small sticky notes to tab very specific assignments that I will be scoring. This cuts down the amount of time I spend having to hunt for what I am looking for. I always score the progress report I handed out – it’s required to be glued into the notebook with parent signature. I alternate scoring the table of contents and formal feedback pages to make sure the students are keeping them up to date. The rest of the time it varies what I am going to score. Students never know what I am going to score so they tend to keep their notebooks more up to date than if I just scored everything. On the average, I will score for 5 or 6 pieces of work each time I collect the notebooks. The trick though to scoring quickly is having the students sticky tab them and having a rubric to score the work against.
Assessments in my classroom are generally performance or project based. When there is a project involved, I generally score the work on a student’s memory stick. It’s easier to make comments quickly on the document in a different color, generally blue or red, and have a direct conversation with the student as well. I require them to keep the comments in the document and I save it on the computer with the “Save as” option and put the date. When the work is finished and ready to turn in, I ask them to save the document under that date and remove my comments. This way students have my comments saved for future use.
I am toying with using https://skydrive.live.com as a dropbox where I can retrieve student work, but that is only in the beginning stages. It looks to be a very promising tool, but I’m still too new at it to comment other than it looks really promising. For my middle school students, the thought of having a “memory stick in the cloud” that they can’t lose and can access from anywhere, 24/7/365 is very appealing.
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This is such a great thread! We just had a departmental meeting today. We were talking about having vertical alignment in terms of interactive notebooks. This year is the first year I've used it. I feel that it has been successful since 99% of my students bring their notebooks---it's a challenge for them to bring materials. Initially, I molded my notebook system to that of another teacher's; but I couldn't implement her system, and I ended up creating a simplified version that I can work with. The things that I normally do:
1. stamp randomly
I give 3 stamps to those who finish early. What this does is to keep them on their toes in terms of completing notebook activities since they never know which one I will stamp. Stamps count for bonuses. I make them also count the stamps before I collect notebooks.
2. collect notebooks randomly
I usually collect at the end of the semester. I also check it during major Unit tests. Sometimes, I surprise them and collect in order to check certain assignments. I ask them also to use a sticky note to tab the page that I will be checking
3. include a notebook grade in their gradebook
I also tell this to them orally for them to know that it counts.
4. insist that they finish particular entries before they can leave class.
THey show me their notebooks as they leave the class.
5. They can use it on quizzes.
I always remind them that they can use their notebooks during quizzes; but they can only find this useful if there is something actually of use in it.
6. Use the same page number for units
Mary Ann Ng
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These are some great ideas on how to use the science notebooks in the classroom. Thank you for sharing.
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This is my first year using a formal journal strategy; I'm new to the district. I was grading "starters" and "exits" for the first semester until I realized we had a great resource at our district that would allow me to have students answer questions from the journal work. We use Schoology so I set up discussions and quizzes each week and the students had to pull the information from their journals.
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I just came across this article on taking notes of observations. The intended audience is elementary educators
I like the idea that one outcome might be improved use of descriptive langauge
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Wow, there are some great ideas in here!
I have two parts I usually include in my rubric: Accuracy and Evidence of Thinking and Effort. I score them on a 1-4 scale based on how well they keep track of notes we do as a class (accuracy) and how well they summarize, analyze, and respond to writing prompts (thinking and effort). I vary how often I grade them, and I discuss and show examples on the document camera beforehand to give students an idea of what I'm looking for.
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Although I review my students journals as they are working, most of my assessments are taken from their reflections on a prompt related to their inquiry assignment. Basically, its a response to the essential question. I have a grid by my door (pasteboard with 5 columns and 5 squares in each coloumn), as they leave, they post their reflection into their assigned box. I review them, note who I have to clarify some ooncerns with, and return them the following day at which time they tape them into their notebooks. If I don't think I'll have enough time to speak with each of them, I might just add a post-it to theirs with a comment or a come see me.
Some teachers at my school assign students numbers on their grid for anonymity, others do rows by tables and assign post its by colors. I just put the student names on the grid and when they post it, their answer hides their name. In this manner, I don't have to pick up every notebook, I can get it done quickly and return it by the next day at which time they "own" it again in their notebook.
reflection_grid.png (0.01 Mb)
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Thanks for the great information and resource links. We use notebooks but everyone has their own interpretation for implementing this strategy with students though.
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I would be interested to learn whether or not anyone here has used interactive notebooks at the 2 or 4 yr college level. I am sooooooo tired of traditional notebooks. Yes part of the problem is canned labs (another time) Students copy the procedure word for world follow it like zombies and answer canned algorithmic questions. Groan.... I have little ability to change the labs but I could change the way we do them in my class
Such great ideas!
I love hearing about new concepts (interactive notebooks) to bring into my lesson plans!
Thanks for sharing!
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I have been thinking a lot about how to make notebooks a more effective learning tool and cale across thi[url=https://www.teachingchannel.org/blog/2013/09/25/think-like-a-scientist/]s
Four Ways to Think Like a Scientist with Science Notebooks[/url]
When implementing notebooks, have the students do the assignment- draw a scientist, great activity!
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In the science classroom, I think a journal is more important than a notebook. If students can reflect on activities and lessons it points out important parts of the lesson and shows what students have learned all at once.
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Our school pushed the interactive notebooks at the beginning of the year and I tried, but I admit that I was terrible at keeping up with the table of contents and students would fall back into their old habits of taking notes and ripping papers out of the notebook supposed to be used only for science class. I went to the TSTA conference here in TN in November and sat through a session about foldables and interactive notebooks. I took that idea back and modified using the blue books most people remember from college to make mini-notebooks for the large topics. My goal is to make two this upcoming semester-one each 9 weeks to help my students keep everything organized and hopefully let them be more creative too.
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I agree with Tina. I would walk around the room as students put their materials in the notebook. Each day I would provide students with a small half-sheet warm up question? While I attended to the chores of attendance and such they would work on the problem, question. We would then spend 5 minutes discussing the answer or solution. They were required to fold it in half and paste it into the notebook with the date placed on the fold that faced the opposite page. If they were absent they had to pick up their missing question, answer it and then paste it in. I would randomly go though a class set of notebooks to see if these warm-ups were in them over any specific week and then grade students. This was done randomly in my prep period and grades were posted. Students never knew when I would do it so they were more likely to keep it up. This was just a daily grade so students who had organization problems didn't get penalized too much. Anyway you look at it, this is work for the teacher but in my humble opinion a necessary activity.
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I have used a number of different vehicles for my notebooks. I like composition books, but they seem a little small sometimes. I was okay with spiral notebooks, but they kept tearing pages out and therefore not having paper when they needed it. I really prefer 3-ring binders where they can add paper and handouts so they are in a logical order, but the pages fall out, the way my middle school students treat them (we used to have days when all we did was reviewed materials and put grommets on pages). Each one has strengths and weaknesses that can only be settled in a personal manner.
Right now, we are compromising and using 1-1/2 in 3-ring binders with composition books. The latter are for labs, the former for daily notes, bellringers, handouts, reflections about the lessons (not labs, those are in the lab notebook), and misc. We put the composition book in the front pocket of the binder when we are not using it. Last year we used 3 subject notebooks, one "subject" for each unit we cover during the school year. It might have worked had they actually listened when I told them all three "subjects" were for science (not math, history and whatever...).
Kathryn, when we refer to "interactive notebooks" here, we are referring to notebooks that serve multiple purposes - they are notebooks, journals, and, in a way, extended letters back and forth between a student and a teacher, where both provide the other with information and feedback. While some may actually view notebooks as the traditional location where a student simply writes down what they are told, that is not what is meant by interactive notebook. You make an excellent point, that many here would agree with - an old-fashioned "notebook" does not serve student learning for the current generation. I believe the terms notebook & journal are currently undergoing a change in definition - this (unfortunately!) happens a lot in education so be patient with us when we use words without proper context.
I do something very similar to Jessica with one of my courses - each student actually makes their own portfolio (out of envelopes) for each sub-unit. The portfolio is made in a way very similar to an interactive notebook, but it is only one sub-unit at a time and can be used as a study guide, etc, afterwards. The only problem I run into with that is students not bringing them back to school if they take them home to work on them, or even potentially losing them. However, since they get to be really creative with them, I haven't had a problem yet with students losing them!
I give the students a rubric/checklist of what should be on the portfolio and where it should be by the time they turn it in. I can check one or two parts per class, or I can just check them all when they turn it in. By specifying exactly what should be on each page it makes it very easy to grade.
The only thing is you really have to have a great idea of exactly what the students will be doing that unit in order for the portfolio idea to work.
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Hello my name is Sam, I am an up and coming teacher, and in our college ECE science classroom we are using interactive notebooks, I feel like when you use an interactive notebook it is pretty obvious to tell if the students are using it correctly or not. But if that does not meet your needs on checking their notebooks, maybe check their papers before they put them in their journals that way your keeping up with their work and their adding to their journals. Just a few ideas, good luck.
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I think one way to make grading easier would be to have the students complete a self reflection. Not only will this help you see what they students learned while reading one paper, not all of them, it will motivate the students to self reflect. Consider asking the students to answer some questions about science and what they want to learn about this years topics and then asking them to reflect answering similar questions, addressing what they learned, what misconceptions were cleared up, and what they want to learn next year.
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This thread has some wonderful ideas that I am hoping to incorporate into my teaching this year. I am curious if anyone has taken the idea of an ISN and digitized it. The school I will be teaching at is one-to-one, and I would love to hear how others in similar situations have integrated technology into their ISN strategies. From my searches, I have found scant resources online to guide this endeavor. What I have found generally leaves something to be desired (i.e. patching together multiple platforms like Evernote, Google docs, etc) to achieve good functionality. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
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From my experience with interactive notebooks what I have noticed is a good way to grade is surprise checks. If the students don't know when you will be checking the notebook then they have to be on top of it and if they're not when you do your checking then you know who to keep an eye on.
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I really love the idea of using Science interactive notebooks within my classrooms (or for any subject for that matter). The students aren't only using their notebooks as a form of review in which they can look back upon, but they are also given a responsibility to complete it( they can use visuals, and so on). At the end of the week, my CT gives her students open-ended questions pertaining to what they have learned that week. I think it's a really great and simple way to check for student understanding. It helps us see what students have learned and also accommodate our lessons to help them better understand the content.
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I have been using interactive notebooks for four years now. I very rarely do whole notebook checks. I do them once a marking period and it is a peer assessment done with a checklist. Basically the points are given at this point for having everything in the notebook and organized. This is never a summative assessment grade because I am not reading the content to make sure it is correct. It is simply an incentive for students to stay organized.
Throughout the marking period however, I do assign things that I do grade for content so I do a quick grading while my students are engaged in other activities such as bellwork, stations, or test review. I can usually grade my class of 42 in about 30 minutes if I move quickly.
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This is the first semester that I have seen an interactive notebook in science. I think it is awesome! The teacher I have observed using it gives the students a lot of guided note sheets to fill out during class which in elementary school, I think is a really valuable way to teach note taking. Love interactive notebooks and definitely plan to incorporate them into my classroom.
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I've seen a lot of really great advice! What I think is essential to keep in mind is to KEEP IT SIMPLE....Self evaluation and Peer editing of the notebooks would be beneficial in the beginning of the process.
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A marvelous question. I too have wrestled with this.
Self-assessment is the best way, I have found. Here is the rubric:
Category 2 is blank on the rubric. You'll see "ISNp..." This stands for "Interactive Science Notebook page..." I select 5 hw assignments from the marking period and have them self-evaluate their performance on that assignment.
One critical element: the notebook assessment should NOT be announced. It should be an on-the-spot snapshot of the state of the notebook. When announced students scramble the night before and produce an excellent notebook for the assessment, which is simply an inaccurate measure of their performance.
Hope this helps. Here is an additional resource on the notebook that I wrote a number of years ago: http://www.nsta.org/publications/news/story.aspx?id=51882
Feel free to email me if you have an questions, or have ideas/thoughts to help me improve my practice.
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I have never used interactive notebooks but would love to. I need ideas on how to set them up if you could send me some info on set-up I would appreciate it. I can barely get them to keep-up with a vocabulary journal. When I check their journal they have every other teachers work in them.
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I just read a great book Using Science Notebooks in the Elementary Classrooms by Michael P Klentschy. It has really given me direction as to how to begin the year introducing the concept of Science Notebooks to my students.
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Two recent NSTA blogs may be of interest:
Interactive Science Notebooks
Electronic Science Notebooks
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