Interactive Notebooks: Getting Started

 Hi friends! This is the third post of my Interactive Notebook series. Now that we know about my background with INs and have defined what interactive notebooks are, let's get started with using them in the classroom!

The first thing you need to do is figure out what you want your students to learn. 

OK, so I know that kind of sounds like a no-brainer, but establishing your goal(s)/objective(s) for the lesson or unit gives you a clear and focused direction in where you want to go.

I use the EveryDay Math program for teaching math, and I cringe every time I get to my fraction unit. So I've decided to make an IN unit for teaching my students about fractions. I'm going to walk you through my process of establishing my unit objectives.

STEP 1: What does the CCSS standard (or if you're not CCSS, your state or district standard) say your students need to be able to do?

When I read this standard, I'm seeing 3 lesson objectives:

  • Partition circles & rectangles into two, three, or four equal parts and use math words to describe the parts.
  • Describe a whole as two halves, three thirds, or four fourths
  • Recognize that equal parts of identical wholes need not have the same shape.

STEP 2: Look at the your end-of-unit test and see what students will be expected to do.

Some may call this "teaching to the test," but I don't really see it that way. It's unfair to expect a student to take a test on something that they weren't exposed to, and I need to make sure I provide opportunities for my students to practice the skills and concepts they will be assessed on.

Here's the assessment I need to use:
When I look at my assessment, I notice my students will have to know/understand the following:

  • Represent fractions as equal parts of a region
  • Represent fractions as equal parts of a collection
  • Compare fractions
  • Solve word problems involving fractions 

STEP 3: Read through lesson(s) you already have, establish their goals/objectives, and decide which ones you'll use, toss, and identify gaps.

I'm not going to bore you with all of the nitty gritty details of my EveryDay Math teacher's manual.  The big thing I noticed is that this unit is seriously lacking in explicit teaching of the CCSS, so I'll have to make sure I beef that up a bit.

STEP 4: Put your goals/objectives in an order that makes sense.

The first thing I make when I'm planning a unit is a Goals/Table of Contents page for my kids to glue in their notebook.
It includes a spot for my student to record the page number, a before learning self-assessment score, and an after learning self-assessment score. Since there are eight goals, this unit will have eight lessons.

Now that I know what I'm teaching, the next step is to figure out how I'm going to teach the lessons. But that's for the next two posts :)

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For more Interactive Notebook ideas, check out my Pinterest board! 

1 comment

  1. Looking forward to your next post--how you're going to teach your lessons... Such a great way to think about the best way to teach the kids. Thanks for getting me thinking!!


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