I {Heart} Notebooks 2.0

Tuesday, December 10, 2013
your curly co-captain, Suzanne

We have been blown away by the number of people who have checked out I {Heart} Notebooks!  So in honor of over 1,000 page views, we bring to you the sequel- I {Heart} Notebooks 2.0.

Last year was our first year to use interactive notebooks.  Before school began, we found ourselves with the desire but no direction, so we made it up.  Overall, they were a success, but we did learn some tricks and additions that we've implemented this year. 

As you know, I'm a Lori-proclaimed data queen.  It's important for students to have their information early on, so that you can refer back to it for motivation and focus.  In the first couple of weeks of the new school year, I take about 10-15 minutes to distribute and explain student's data.  Especially for my acceleration students, I focus on positives- "look at how you've grown in this area", "you do this really well"...  Students fold and glue this data inside the front cover of their notebooks.  
Our first 10 pages are for Star Points.  You can read about them here.  They are a great way to address the editing questions on STAAR.  

Next comes the toolbox section (10 pages). Here we take brief notes for skills and strategies.  Pictured are notes over "be" verbs, dialogue rules, author's purpose, pitchforks, and Ba-Da-Bings.

We also included a copy of STAAR rubrics- highlighting important traits and writing in strategies that we have to help us get those points.  This was really empowering to me because it validated that my co-teacher and I had given students the skills that they need to be successful.  Hopefully students walked away with the understanding that they had the strategies needed to be successful; it was just up to them to use them.  
Our toolbox is also where we store our grammar foldable.

I've had an 'Ideas' section before this year, but this year I just saved a couple of pages in the toolbox for ideas.  This is my favorite idea list.  I give students 2-3 minutes to list five movies they know well.  We talk a little about having a variety of movies- not all of the Fast and Furious movies and calling it a day.  After students brainstorm their movies, we talk about hashtags and how they are used on Twitter- as a category or label.  I then give them about 5 minutes to go through and provide hashtags for their movies they came up with.  They need a little direction to come up with hashtags that relate to the message (theme) of the movie, not their reaction to it. 

This was out example in class: 
Madea's Witness Protection  #family  NOT  #hilarious

We repeat this process for 'Events I Know Well' and 'Celebrities I Know Well'.  Once they have a completed list, it is easy to refer back to for examples for expository and persuasive writing.

We started off our Close Reading section (10 pages) with our Short Answer Question graphic organizer.  I'm not great about using this section but hope to utilize it more.  You could have students cut and glue Shared Reading passages into this section to analyze.  The page where they answer the accompanying questions could be loose it's easy to turn in to you at the end of the four days.  Because they have the analyzed passage, it would be easy to turn back to for text evidence or connections to other reading.

Our My Writing section gets all the remaining pages of our notebooks. We spend time in this section daily kerneling essays or revising to include skills from the day's mini-lesson.  Here are pages that hold our literary writing.  Click here to read more about the mini-lessons that were taught with literary/narrative writing.

With expository writing, we focused on organizational structures.  The overall frame of our essay was- State the prompt as a fact (thesis)--Reason 1--Reason 2--Restate thesis in a zesty way.  Reason 1 and 2 could be an example from a book or movie.  One could explain how the topic relates to me while the other talks about it's affect on others.  These reasons could track our thinking- from what I used to think (before) to what I now think (after).  

We also learned strategies like renaming from Gretchen Bernabei's Fun Sized Academic Writing for Serious Learning.  This book is SO great, and you'll be hearing much more from me about it soon (hint, hint, wink, wink)!  On our last expository essay before the retest, I used these cute mini file folders.  I've had them in my cabinet for years, just waiting for the perfect opportunity. I made the class period have a Mission Impossible feel.  These folders contained their unique mission.  They had to utilize the strategy and organizational structure we'd covered in their final piece of writing.  They played along with the theme, and I choose to believe it caused them to stretch and solidify learning.  

We glued our Book Bingo cards to the back of our notebooks.  You can download this freebie from Hangin' with Hekken here.  I had every intention of channeling my inner Donalyn Miller and becoming the 10th grade Book Whisperer.  So, at the beginning of the school year, we glued our bingo card to the back of our notebooks.  I instructed that they were to create one bingo in any direction except straight down the middle- your choice, your choice, your choice- by the end of the semester.  Well...the semester is almost up and becoming Donalyn will have to be my New Year's resolution.  

Have you entered our second curly giveaway?  If not, what are you waiting for?!  There are many ways to enter, and you can tweet or share about the giveaway on Facebook daily to gain more entries.  Click here for your chance to win our English II Shared Readings.

1 comment

  1. I have used Interactive Student Spirals (ISS) in the past for history classes. I love your ideas for LA as I will be teaching 8th grade LA this year. The Book Bingo is an especially quick and easy way to motivate reading outside the classroom. Woo hoo!!