Monday, September 2, 2013

Science Interactive Notebooks

I made it my goal to use interactive notebooks this year. It requires some up-front planning and organization (all good things), and I am extremely happy with how things are going.
So far I have learned that, I have to train the kids to glue with less glue. And unfortunately they need to cut our faster. Because they are slower working, I am saving set up time and spending more time on content by pre-typing many of the essential notes and when possible they glue in pages in advance of the lesson.
The students then spend the majority of time adding key details and underline/circle/highlight key details that they feel they need to pay closest attention to. Instead of waiting for them to copy, or hoping they write down notes, I am able to discuss concepts in more depth in the short 35 minute period we have for science. As we move past key concepts, I think the notebooks will also give us time for labs. Deep down I hope they will become more proficient at searching for information when looking up answers.
We have interactive textbooks so I use their workbooks to practice close-reading techniques. I am hoping that the interactive notebooks, the labs, and the close reading of text will results in more retention of concepts and greater knowledge. I know I have won 1 girl over, because she said, "Wow, I like science this year!"
On my end I am planning and creating like a mad scientist! I want the content in their notebooks to be valuable so I am researching and creating notebook materials that will add to their learning. I know that I won't have to put in this much time next year, instead I will be able to tweak my notebooks. In the long run, all this work is worth it!
This weekend I finished up my animal and plant cells packet. It includes cell diagrams, graphic organizers, compare/contrast charts, and a quiz.
Usually I have my students draw (copy) a picture of a cell, but some never finish or they take forever to finish. Instead, I will give them a pre-made picture, they can color it, but adding the picture to their notes will not eat up my teaching time, instead it will be a more productive lesson. I bought the clip art from Poppydreamz Digital Art and added the labels. They will receive a sheet with the lines and the terms will be at the bottom for them to attach to the cell.

Before we leave for my in-laws today I am trying to get my plant classification unit completed, but I am not sure that will happen. During the hour-drive hour I am going to try to draw out the charts and visuals I want to add. I am not an artist, so it might be a complete disaster, but I am willing to try.
Here is a picture of one page form the unit that I have already completed.
Non vascular plants with flaps of plant divisions.
Students will select pictures to add to their notebooks. 
I plan to have the kids look for images when we go to the lab and show them how to copy an image and print them for their notebooks.

I have a motto in my room, "If they take the time to print it, take the time to read it." The same goes for their notebooks, if we take the time to add it, take the time to read it/review/use it. I am hooked on these notebooks and am working hard to make them for my students so we maximize our learning time.
What have you done with interactive notebooks that you find useful? What is your favorite notebook activity? Want more ideas? Check out the great Back to school Interactive notebook links at 4mulaFun
Interactive Notebook Linky Party
Back to School Interactive Notebook Linky Party

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