Category : Language Arts

Five Ways to Use Interactive Notebooks in Your Classroom

What is an Interactive Notebook?
I’m sure you’ve heard about Interactive Notebooks by now, but let’s just review a bit in case you haven’t heard about them yet. Interactive Notebooks are a way that your students can interact with the subjects you are teaching them. They can cut, paste, draw, expand and really experience the subject they are learning. No two interactive notebooks are created equally. Some may say they are interactive, but they aren’t. Some may have too much cutting and pasting, which will interrupt your lesson plans. The best way to judge them is to look at previews and read all of the details before you purchase one.

Five Ways to Use Interactive Notebooks
1. Review and Test Prep – A lot of the reasons I started making and using interactive notebooks is because if you have a printable you use with your students, the students finish it and toss it into folder never to look at it again. With my interactive notebooks, the activities are designed to have the students come back and review what they’ve just learned. There are flaps, envelopes, yarn, brads and more all specifically used to help your students redo activities for test prep and to show their parents what they’ve learned.

2. Confidence Booster – Using an interactive notebook, your students can keep all of the things they’ve learned throughout the year in one place. Students can look through all of the different things they’ve learned and feel achieved.

3. Introducing New Topics – You can use the activities in an interactive notebook to help students learn new topics. Sometimes students are scared about learning new things. A fun activity will help relax them and allow them to learn new topics (especially fractions which can be frustrating for students).

4. Assessments – You can use the activities to finish up a unit. Instead of or in addition to a quiz, you can have students do an interactive activity to make sure they understand the concepts that you taught in the lessons.

5. Spice Up Lessons – If your students get bored with a topic (you know it’s bound to happen), you can pull out an interactive activity and use a little art and interactiveness to spice up your lessons.

If you’re interested in looking at my interactive notebooks, you can find them here. They have the perfect combination of low prep and high interactiveness.

Here are a few of my best sellers, you can click on the picture to see more information and a preview about each:

Halloween No Prep Literacy Printables

Sometimes it’s great to get a little picture into your students’ mind and see how they are doing on various aspects of a certain subject. My Halloween No Prep Literacy Printables give you that picture while allowing students to enjoy Halloween at the same time. These printables come in black and white and color, so there are options for you. You can use the colored versions for centers. You can use the black and white versions for homework, bell work or for sub folders.

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Students can color the black and white graphics if they want to add a little pizazz to their work. Also, answer sheets are included so your students can grade their own work if you are running out of time. This is also handy for subs in case they aren’t use to teaching this particular subject.

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These are availabe in kindergarten through 5th grade all aligned with the common core.

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For more information on my Halloween No Prep Literacy Printables click here: Halloween No Prep Literacy Printables.

Interactive Grammar Notebook for Sixth Grade

My daughter is now in Sixth Grade and she loves interactive notebooks. She asked me to make a more grammar specific notebook for her grade. She said she really enjoys learning grammar, so she wanted to do more for English. Why not, I answered! So, after several weeks of working on it, I’m happy to say that I’ve finally finished her Interactive Grammar Notebook for Sixth Grade.

Here are a few of the pictures of her work. Sadly, she wasn’t in the mood to take pictures, but I did snap some of some of her work. This picture if of a context clue activity. She said it was tricky for her, which I love because I don’t want things to be too easy for her, but just right.

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This next picture is very interesting because I just kind of assumed children learned this skill by just talking to others, but it isn’t necessarily true. The skill is positive and negative connotations of words. She really didn’t understand that there is a subtle difference between words like skinny and slender. So, this activity really helped us to talk about word choice. I think she’ll really be picking her words more carefully. Not that she ever said anything wrong, but I think she realizes you can hurt peoples feelings by word choice now.

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You can find my latest interactive notebook here: Interactive Grammar Notebook for Sixth Grade

Halloween Close Reading

My daughter loves to read. She’ll read anything and everything. For some odd reason she ran out of books to read last night and the library had already closed, so I printed my Halloween Close Reading packet for her to read. She really enjoyed reading the stories for this packet.

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The side panel really gave her time to express herself and really think about what she was reading.

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Afterwards she decided to do the question and answer part as well. She really loves to express herself and her thoughts.

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Her favorite part was designing her own jack-o’-lantern. She said she wants to make one in real life just like her colored one. I think I can make the ears out of construction paper, then Mickey will be complete!

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Here are a few comments that I’ve received about my Halloween Close Reading printables:

“Cute stories and so useful for my students who are learning how to really get into the meat of reading. Lots of great strategies taught.”
“Perfect for comprehension!”
“I love the strategies in here with these stories. A great close reading packet themed for Halloween. My favorite Halloween purchase.”

For more information about my Halloween Close Reading packet, click here: Halloween Close Reading

Halloween poem and writing activity

A unique Halloween costumeIt is officially autumn, and October is fast approaching. The leaves are changing color, the air is crisp and cool, and it’s time to break out the jeans and jackets! Unless you live in Florida like we do, that is. Still, the coming of October means that Halloween is going to be on people’s minds. And for good reason – Halloween is a lot of fun.

At school, kids are starting to think about what Halloween costumes they are going to wear, what sorts of Halloween parties or activities they are going to attend, and what they’re going to do on Halloween night. Parents are starting to wonder what sort of candy or treats they’re going to give out this year, where they’re going to get it from, and how much it’s going to cost!

Here is a free download of a poem I wrote with a quick writing activity that you can give to your children or students. There are two versions of this activity; a color version that you can display on your classroom wall or bulletin board, and a black and white version that you can photocopy to hand out to your students.

After your students have finished the writing portion of this activity, you can have a classroom discussion to talk about the answers your students have given. You can find out what your students enjoy about Halloween, October, and the fall season, and what sorts of costumes your kids will be wearing when October 31st finally arrives.

Have fun preparing for Halloween!

Halloween Interactive Glyphs

I love glyphs and I love using glyphs with my students. I think it’s a fun way to get your students to think about questions and reflect on them. Their answers make their glyphs different than their classmates. My interactive glyphs don’t have questions like “Are you a girl or boy?” They have more thoughtful questions like “What’s your favorite thing about Halloween?” “Do you like to carve pumpkins?” For my Halloween Interactive Glyphs, there are four glyphs. Each glyph has 10 different questions for students to answer.

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Another great thing about my interactive glyphs is there are writing prompts and pages for students to use. They can write their essays based on their feelings about the glyph questions. I think it’s really fun for students to write, read and do art all at the same time! The best thing about my glyphs is that I haven’t seen anything like them at all! So, your students and their parents will be pleased with a unique activity.

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If you’d like more information about my Halloween Interactive Glyphs, click here: Halloween Interactive Glyphs

Interactive Notebook Bundles Galore!

The easiest way you can save money on is by buying bundles. You get everything you need and you get to save money on top of that. My best selling bundles are my interactive notebook bundles. They have writing, language, math and reading interactive activities all together. My fourth grade interactive notebook bundle has a grammar notebook as well and I’ll be adding these to my other bundles as well.

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Interactive notebooks are a great way to give students a hands-on approach to learning. It keeps learning fast-paced and interesting. My kids love using them in all of their subjects!

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To look at my interactive notebook bundles click here: Interactive Notebook Bundles

Fall is in the Air

Fall is in the air – I can literally smell it when I walk into the stores. I smell the spiced brooms they have for sale and all of the pumpkin flavored food! It’s not fall yet, but it’s just around the corner. I have to admit that autumn is my favorite season. I love all of the holidays and the decorations. But, most importantly, I love the cooler weather. It gets hot, hot in Florida in the summer.

Last year I created these fun Fall Interactive Glyphs. These glyphs are great for students to learn how to follow directions, create artwork and even practice essay writing. Each of my interactive glyph packets come with four complete glyphs. There are 10 questions per glyph that are seasonally or holiday-themed. This interactive glyph is filled with autumn-themed questions. Students will create their artwork based on their answers to these questions. After they finish their glyphs, there is a writing prompt where they can practice writing based on all of the information they gathered. It’s a great introspective activity.

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If you like what you see here, click here to get more information about my glyphs: Fall Interactive Glyphs

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Keeping a reading log

Keeping track of readingReading is learning. Once you know how to read, the doors swing open to a world full of knowledge, understanding, and entertainment. That’s why it is important to get children reading and improving upon their reading comprehension skills throughout their formative years.

One way to encourage kids to read and to build upon their enjoyment of reading is to keep a reading log. By keeping track of how much they read each day, children can continue to improve their skills in reading and English language arts over the course of their educational careers. Here are some of the reasons why keeping a reading log is beneficial to kids:

Reading logs build a sense of accomplishment

By looking back over reading logs, students can see how many books they have read over a period of time. This gives kids a sense of accomplishment at the various interesting things they have learned through reading and books. Students can go through a wide variety of literature over time, learning about science, history, art, different countries and cultures, and a great many other subjects. They can also experience many different stories of different genres – science fiction and fantasy, drama, young adult – even romance.

Keeping track of reading can help those students who do not feel like strong readers see what they have, over time, achieved with their reading. This can help boost their confidence with reading and keep them going.

Reading logs help track reading improvement over time

By keeping track of the reading levels of the books students read, teachers and parents (as well as the students themselves) can see how students’ individual reading skills have improved over time. While children will start by reading books at, say, the first grade level, the books listed in their reading logs will gradually increase in skill level. In this manner, educators can keep track of a students’ reading level over time – and they can do so without having to resort to standardized testing to see where a student’s skill levels are.

Reading logs help teachers find new books for students

By going through a student’s reading log, teachers and parents can see what sorts of books an individual student enjoys reading. This can help the educator provide other books or reading material that a student might also enjoy, thereby building upon their reading repertoire. If a student is into pirates, for example, teachers can recommend a variety of different fiction and nonfiction books about pirates and the history of piracy. If students are into fantasy books, educators can help those young readers branch out into different works of speculative fiction. All this will lead to more enjoyment of books and reading by young learners.

Reading logs ensure kids are reading

This goes without saying, but by keeping reading logs, students can demonstrate that they are reading a little bit each day, or a certain number of times per week. In this manner, teachers and parents can make sure that students are not falling behind in their reading.

This is especially important over the summer. During the summer months, children who do not read several times per week start to lose some of the reading proficiency that they built up over the past school year. When they arrive back at school in the fall, these students then have to play catch-up. Keeping a reading log and helping parents to keep track of their kids’ reading over the summer holiday helps to prevent this phenomenon.

Reading is a lot of fun, and can open up many new worlds to children of all ages. So get your kids reading and keeping track of the books that they have read!

Keeping a reading log

Interactive Reading Notebook for 1st Grade

It’s really fun to create and use interactive notebooks. To see students’ light bulbs going on in their heads as they use interactive notebooks is priceless. I first started making interactive notebooks several years ago with math interactive notebooks, then writing, then about 8 months later – reading interactive notebooks.

Reading interactive notebooks are awesome because students can really get into their reading and analysis with their interactive notebooks. These pictures are from my interactive reading notebook for first grade.

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I think the most important thing for interactive notebooks is to have one that is not just cutting and pasting but truly interactive. It’s great to have lots of different reading activities that really engage students.

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I think it’s also useful to have interactive activities that students can return to and review before quizzes or state tests.

You’re never too young to use interactive notebooks. I think they are so helpful for all ages! I almost wish there was a life interactive notebook for adults to help us organize our lives. Wishful thinking.

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If you’d like read more about my interactive reading notebook for 1st grade, click here: Interactive Reading Notebook for 1st Grade

If you’d like to read more about my other interactive notebooks, click here: Interactive Notebooks