Friday, July 27, 2012

Thought on Interactive Notebooks....and NERVES

I've been contemplating using ISNs (Interactive Student Notebooks) for my classroom this year. I feel like it would make my life SO MUCH EASIER. Binders get messy. They're difficult to check. Papers fall out. Kids lose things. It's aggravating!

Anyway, I keep looking through the ISN guidelines online and I see this left side/right side concept. It seems really difficult. I'm not sure that I like it.

Here's my thought (for all of you more experienced teachers out there): Could I not just get rid of the left side/right side thing and add things in the notebook as we do long as we keep up with the Table of Contents?

Also, can anyone give me tips for using these? A good list of rules to follow...anything? I can't find anything concise that tells me how to use them exactly. So far, I know that the kids make a cover page...then a table of contents (how many pages should I tell them to leave blank for this...or should this be another page where we just glue/tape another page in when/if we run out of room?

I'm thinking about asking each student to purchase a 5 subject notebook as well as a composition book. The 5 subject notebook will be for their ISN and the comp. book will be for their journals. Sound good? I think so. I'm beginning to get really skeptical about all of this. I just really think that, with all of the curriculum changes and the fact that students are about to be thrown for a loop with the HIGHER expectations that come with the CCSS (which, BTW, I love), the ISN will be a great resource for them.

Finally, any thoughts on book projects with the CCSS? I was led to believe that we shouldn't be "teaching" full novels. That's fine with me. I can get what I need out of specific pieces of novels and short stories. However, I should still be pushing these kids to read full novels. I'm wanting to continue my 18 Book Project...but *tweak* it a little for this year. It didn't go as well as I wanted it to last year. I may raise the expectations for the project and lower the number of books I require them to read to 12 (2/6 weeks). I really wanted to do 18 but I think that, if I add more to the project, they will need the extra week to work on them???

I hope someone reads through this garbage and decides that they can help ease my nerves. See, my First Day Jitters post was not far off from the truth. I'm getting really anxious!