Saturday, June 15, 2013

Taking Time for Interactive Notebooks in the Classroom


Whew, time sure does fly at the end of the school year when you are literally cramming in all the last minute activities to make sure you reach all of the necessary standards, completing paperwork (my nemesis), attending last minute activities and meetings, etc.

Last month I brought up planning as what I think is the most important factor in implementing Interactive Notebooks into your classroom. After that blog post I received numerous questions and comments asking, "How do you fit everything in during each class time?" What a great question! After giving a few quick responses, I decided that I had to share with all of my friends here at All Things Upper Elementary just how I fit it all in.

What is your time frame?

Do you have a 45 minutes class? a 90 minute class? a rotating schedule? a self-contained class that has rough timelines? As soon as I saw on my schedule of classes last summer that each were between 48 and 52 minutes long, 5 days a week I knew that my time frame for fitting in all the necessary components of my lessons was a magical 48 minutes.

How do you plan for your time frame?

From day one in my classroom I was notorious for being a "Structure Sergeant"; yep, that's a nice way of putting it.



When students walking into my classroom they quickly gather all materials needed for the daily lesson. Once they are at their desk they spend NO MORE THAN 3-5 minutes prepping their Interactive Notebook for that day's activities. This includes updating the Table of Contents, writing the date on the page, and cutting out anything and everything and gluing down the bones of the lesson.


I always post a skeleton copy (bare bones, nothing completed) as a picture on my computer to project for all students to see as this gives me the necessary time to complete those teacher tasks such as attendance, etc. before getting stated.


Once the prep time is complete, we move right into our intro of our lesson. This is when I have a student read the "I Can Statement" for the day and we talk about what we will be doing as a component of that statement and break down some key vocabulary that might be in it and if one of those words happens to be a vocabulary word, we complete our Frayer model at that time. We are now roughly 7-10 minutes into class.


Rocking right on it's time to get into the "meat" of the lesson for the day. Typically I did a flippable version of notes so that I could have something interactive to draw my students in for the lesson by keeping them on their toes. There are different ways to do this such a cloze notes, sort and stick (gluing notes that were already typed), or even having groups break into parts of the lesson and report back.


The most important part of this is to keep things flowing so that students are engaged. Doing this in my classroom made my off task behaviors virtually non-existent. Once I had done significant modeling with each individual class of students, I began picking a teacher helper during each class. This teacher helper was my INB Vanna during lessons and uncovered areas or completed their lesson under my document camera while I was monitoring and assisting while also teaching around the room.

There were days that I picked a student who was on the more active side and they were typically the BEST at modeling how a "Structure Sergeant" models a lesson. It's amazing what they had picked up non-verbally from me over time.


After roughly a 15-20 minute mini-lesson it was time for practice and application of skills. I am a huge proponent of not drilling and killing my students but rather relating it to a real-life problem that they may face sometime in life as well as making it interesting to them in some way. This lends to word problems so well. There were days where we only completed 2-3 problems and that was perfectly fine because then there were other days where we were able to complete a lot more through whole group practice, workstations, small group work, etc.


By this time we are ready to wrap things up. This is when I would pull in an Exit Ticket or my favorite, a "Post It, Prove It." These two strategies give me immediate feedback on what each student has internalized and connected with in the lesson for the day which in turn allows me to determine students who need extra support, are on target and even those that are ready to move on to the next step.

So, until next time...


Mathematically Yours,

Jennifer Smith-Sloane
aka 4mulaFun
4mulaFun on Facebook
4mulaFun on Pinterest



P.S. The Interactive Notebook Linky returns on June 28th! Get your posts ready!

38 comments:

  1. Really interesting post - I especially like the Post It - Prove It strategy - that is a great idea.

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    1. Thank you so much! I love using the Post It, Prove It strategy and so do my students. I am thinking next year I might use different color stickies to let students differentiate their answers at a glance (looking at red, yellow, green).

      Jennifer Smith-Sloane
      4mulaFun

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  2. Holy moly! That runs so smooth in your classroom. I am starting interactive notebooks next year in my special Ed resource math class, and am nervous as to how long it will take to fill in a page. I'm nervous about it, but am looking foward to it. Thanks for a look in your classroom

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    1. Thank you for your comment. I will tell you that my Resource Math classes LOVED Interactive Notebooks more than I expected. I was skeptical to say the least but it provided a structure and much needed support for them to use and interact with.

      Jennifer Smith-Sloane
      4mulaFun

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  3. Really great information regarding the structure of the lessons with the INBs. Thank you, it made me do so serious thinking about my notebooks. I will be sure to link up on the next one - thank you for the date in advance, I'm a little bit of a structure girl myself:).

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    1. So happy to have another "Structure Sergeant" out in the world! :) Can't wait to see what you link up with! :)

      Jennifer Smith-Sloane
      4mulaFun

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  4. I do INBs with my 4th graders, too! Love this post! Thanks for sharing the details!
    Jivey
    ideas by jivey
    Follow me on Facebook!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! :)

      Jennifer Smith-Sloane
      4mulaFun

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  5. I really want to do INB's in my classroom for ELA, Math, and Science next year. What do you suggest, one at a time or dive in to all 3? I am self contained... so it's pretty easy to go over time etc. I have an active group coming up and I want to make sure that they are engaged and hands on. We also have a virtual lab classroom, where all the students have a computer to access. How could I tie these into INB's?

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    1. In a self-contained class I would start with all three if I think that my students could handle it. Otherwise I would start with 1 and then incorporate the others as time allowed. I think that continuing to keep students engaged who are "active" is crucial and INBs and lab work would help with that.

      Jennifer Smith-Sloane
      4mulaFun

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  6. Lots of great stuff here! I, too, want to expand my use of INB's next year...I have lots of thinking to do!

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    1. Thanks Meg! I'm telling you INBs changed my way of teaching!

      Jennifer Smith-Sloane
      4mulaFun

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  7. It is posts like this that make me less apprehensive about implementing INB's next year. Thank you so much for sharing

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    1. ! I am a middle school teacher and am so excitedabiut how this can help my students.

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    2. I actually work with 6th-8th grade students and have been very successful implementing this as long as I started with day 1. Can't wait to hear how yours works out! :)

      Jennifer Smith-Sloane
      4mulaFun

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  8. Great post!
    Time is a huge factor with INB's. Many times I cut things for my students. My classes are 50 minutes, instruction time less than that. Being organized and planned makes them work!

    Elizabeth
    Hodges Herald

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    1. You said it! Organization and Planning is crucial to the success of INBs in the classroom. Thanks for the love!

      Jennifer Smith-Sloane
      4mulaFun

      Delete
  9. I love the Post It, Prove It! idea. In fact, I'm thinking of making a poster for each period with each student's name in a post-it sized box so they always put their exit post it in the box with their name on it. That way I can see at a glance who has turned theirs in. I can also choose five each day to assess and give feedback on.

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    1. That sounds like a fabulous idea! You just made my mind start stirring with some other ideas as well. Feedback is an important part of any lesson.

      Jennifer Smith-Sloane
      4mulaFun

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  10. This looks amazing!! I am so excited to be incorporating more INBs in my classroom. I absolutely LOVE how you set everything up! Thanks so much for sharing!

    Mathematically yours,
    Jamie aka MissMathDork!

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    1. Thank you! I can't wait to see what you do with your students!

      Jennifer Smith-Sloane
      4mulaFun

      Delete
  11. Holy wow. I love this. In fact, I dream about this. Hal

    A few questions...

    Is this the flow of most of your school days?
    Do your students use their INBs for their practice and problem solving (and/or anything else), too?
    How far ahead do you plan/prepare these materials?

    I *really* want to incorporate better INB strategies this year. I flopped with them last year. I am sure that if I was planned, prepared, and structured like this, I could do it.

    Any other 4th grade teachers have tips, suggestions, resources...? :)

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    1. Dawn,

      Over a 2-3 week unit, this is the flow for about 2/3 of the days. I do plan on following up on the Practice/Group days that we have in my classroom and how my students then use their INBs to support their practice.

      I normally plan at least a week, but up to an entire unit, ahead of my students so I can track where we are going.

      Make sure to grab my INB Planning Sheets from my TpT store FREE so that you can start planning now.

      Jennifer Smith-Sloane
      4mulaFun

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    2. Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Thank you SO much for the insight and planning sheets! We are reorganizing math instruction for next year, and I can't wait to use a better approach to notebooking!

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    3. Great info! I will be diving into INB next year. I have always been the Notebook Nerd at our school so this is right up my ally. I am self contained and would love to hear from other 4th grade teachers also.

      Glad I found this!

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  12. This was very informative. I'm wanting to try this with my third graders this year and am looking for as much information on INB's as I can find. Is this something you would do with each lesson or just on certain skills?

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    1. Joan,

      I do this for approximately 2/3 of the lessons in my class and throw in different methods of getting the instruction in. Depending on the depth of the skills will depend on how many days I give to a topic as well as the possibility to use work stations to practice and implement the skills.

      More blogging about that coming in the future!

      Jennifer Smith-Sloane
      4mulaFun

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  13. Pinning! Great content...always hard to figure out how to get it all in! :)

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    1. Thank you very much! I am happy to help!

      Jennifer Smith-Sloane
      4mulaFun

      Delete
  14. This is PERFECT! My one problem with integrating these into my classroom was timing. Do you do the "left side" "right side" like Runde's Room where they do their own interpretation of the standard, etc. on the left? Or is that covered more verbally when you discuss the "I Can" statement at the beginning of the lesson?

    Also, silly question, but how do you manage the gluing? Is it classroom glue or their own? I seemed to go through 25 glue sticks in a week and they just play with the glue bottles (plus they are so messy!). I do teach 6 full classes a day, but so many teachers do INBs that there has to be a way to manage it!

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    1. Alyssa,

      I have now been able to sit down and complete my blog post about Left Side versus Right Side and you can see that here: http://www.4mulafun.com/left-side-versus-right-side-for-inbs/

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  15. Alyssa,

    You have some awesome questions and I definitely will be addressing them in my upcoming posts on INBs as well as over at my blog.

    When it comes to left side/right side, I have to flip it. To me the practice/response should come after the mini lesson on the topic. I do plan to go more in detail about that on my blog soon as it is simply the way my brain thinks.

    When it comes to I Can Statements, if we are doing something that I have already pre-created like a Flippable or Cloze Notes, I type the I Can statement on there in kid-friendly language so that it saves time and they can paste it in under their title. We didn't start with this in the beginning of the year this past year but I will be changing it up a bit.

    I do have a post I am working on about organizing supplies in the classroom for INBs and will address the glue for sure in that post!

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  16. I have taught middle school Science for the past 7 years using interactive notebooks. This year I will also be teaching 6th grade Math (very nervous)! I was wondering if you use a math textbook and if so how do you use it with your notebooks? A textbook always has so many practice examples, cant possibly do them all on a single INB page.

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    1. Jennifer-

      In my district for middle school we do not have textbooks for the classes in Math. My INB takes the place of the textbook in the fact that we go over the process, do a few different examples in various forms (concrete, computation, word problem) and then they work on their own.

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  17. First off, Love, Love, LOVEEEE your info! Do you mostly print notes out to be glued in to your INB? Our school is pretty strict on budget restrictions when it comes to making copies so I worry that if students are required to write a majority of their notes that it may take way longer to complete the notebook. Also, about how many practice problems does this schedule allow you to complete with students in class?

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  18. I'm an elementary school counselor who is looking to implement INBs next year with my 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students....so trying to learn all I can.... Thanks for your planning freebie on TPT. My question is this: what size notebooks do you use? I'm noticing that not all notebooks are created equally, and the cheap ones I have a TON of, are smaller than a printed page (meaning all the table of contents pages would have to be cut?!?!?!?!?!?!?!)...... Suggestions?? Do you have the kids provide their own notebooks? I was planning to provide them....but even if they provide their own, they might bring one that's smaller...... Thanks!

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  19. This seems interesting, but I have so many questions. Are you to use real notebooks or make the interactive paper activities? Do you store those in the notebook or in a folder? What is the interactive notebook planning sheet? How is that used? How many pages to you leave in the front of the notebook for the table of contents?

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  20. Thank you so much, Jennifer! I've been wanting to know more about ISN for a while, and everything I've come across has linked me back to you :) Thanks for explaining everything! I'm excited to try them with writing. We use EDM, so I'll have to think of how to use the notebooks in math....in the future. But thanks for sharing your creativity! Keep up the great work!!

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-All Things Upper Elementary

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