Writing Interactive Notebooks are a great way to increase student achievement and take learning to new places. For the past 7 years I have been using interactive notebooks in my classroom.
Writing Interactive Notebooks
Buy Writing Interactive Notebooks HERE.
Have you ever wondered how you could increase student achievement in writing?
The good news is, you can! I have practiced this method by writing interactive notebooks and have data to prove they work! Entire lessons featured in this INB filmed by the Georgia Department of Education and Georgia Public Television at the end of this article for FREE.
So why are interactive notebooks effective?
Writing Interactive Notebooks bring all different types of learning styles together and mold them beautifully. In addition, visual students are in Heaven when they grab a writing interactive notebook. Students that are auditory learners take in each lesson and remember it thanks to the wonderful video links that are provided. Interactive Notebooks are also kinesthetic learning at its finest. As a result, students can mold and manipulate foldables and forget they are even learning. Need a guide to interactive notebook basics? You can find one here.
But I’ve never heard of a writing interactive notebook….
Before now, interactive notebooks were used mostly for reading and comprehension. I used each foldable over the course of a year before writing this blog post. Importantly, I wanted to make sure students were engaged, learning, and that student achievement was skyrocketing. Teachers hate nothing more than purchasing a product, and later finding out that the “cuteness” did nothing for student achievement. When I was approached by the Georgia Department of Education they asked me a few questions. First, how can writing develop from the use of interactive notebooks? My response? Simple! As a teacher, our job is to build a beautiful foundation, and then have the students build their learning on that foundation. Without a stable and firm foundation, their writing begins to crumble in the very early stages. Writing Interactive Notebooks build a foundation even with older learners, and help them place writing bricks one at a time.
Just like students need a good hook to keep the reader’s attention when writing, your students need a good hook to keep their attention. My favorite lesson in my writing interactive notebook is teaching students how to respond to literature. What are some of the most important things to remember when responding to literature? A students first reaction, their feelings, the visual image the author paints, and their schema. You may be thinking these concepts are too difficult for a 4th or 5th grader, but that’s just your mind playing tricks on you. STudents thrive on difficult concepts. They are like sponges! Push them to their learning limits. Use this method with any short story or novel in your class. For an example, I’m going to use the story “The Hunger Games.” Ask your students these questions?
What was your first reaction?
How did the story make you feel?
What visual imagery did the author use in this story?
What part of your schema did you use to make connections?
Once you’ve hooked your learners, now it is time to guide them. I think this is the single most important factor when using writing interactive notebooks. At first, we must walk our students down a path in which we want them to go, then allow them to grow independently. I like to think of it as riding a bike. When children are small, we take off their training wheels, but still help them until they feel safe. Once they are safe, we let go and allow them to learn how to ride on their own. One way to use this method is to practice responding to nonfiction as well.
Guide them with fiction and let them grow with non-fiction. Students really struggle with comprehending non-fiction, especially if they don’t understand or have any background knowledge of the content. I use an original passage titled, “Sugar Skulls: The History Behind the Day of the Dead,” to allow them to grow. Only a few students know what a sugar skull is. They read this passage, and use the foldable to respond. This gives students a sense of accomplishment when they complete this small research project.
What are some things students love? Technology ? Age appropriate apps? What about relating all of that to their level and engaging them with writing at the exact same time? Other than the usual Instagram, my students love KIK. Go ahead, ask your students if they know what KIK is. KIK is an instant messenger app that allows students to text even if they don’t have a data plan. It’s like the old school MSN MESSENGER! I use this App to teach students about planning their essay. They love anything “text” talk and this lesson pairs perfectly with another lesson about placing text talk words in JAIL! Have students plan their essay similar to how they plan their life.
Relate to Them
Most importantly …
Your students need for you to relate to them. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a student getting angry with another teacher and I pull them to the side and say “Hey, let’s work on our attitude and let’s try to make the best of this year.” They always respond, “Mrs. Morris, they don’t get me like you do.” Those words are more powerful than you may first think. Reread that phrase – “They don’t get me like you do.” I consider myself still young, although I question my “coolness,” but I always try to “get them.” I am constantly looking for new Apps, asking them their favorite songs and then listening to them on my long runs. I ask what movies they watch.
Check out one of these lessons in action on the Georgia Department of Education Website. Just click on Kayse Morris to see my classroom in action. Disclaimer – Lots of laughter and engagement are filmed in this video, enter at your own risk. 😉
Here’s my Writing Interactive Notebook HERE.
Then check out my Reading Interactive Notebook HERE.
Finally, you can find my Grammar Interactive Notebook here.