An Interactive Student Notebook is nothing more than a regular notebook, but it’s organized in a specific way that helps students keep track of all the content we explore in class. For older students, their ISN requires them to have a table of contents, numbered pages, and space for teachers to add notes. Also, there are lots of hands-on, independent enrichment activities peppered throughout for students to explore at their own pace or at home (e.g. to cut and paste, color, match words, etc.). Since I teach Spanish at the lower school and don’t see my students with much frequency, I have adapted this tool to use more simply. We keep songs, make games, write short paragraphs and make it interesting for students to feel proud of their own work. At the end, it’s their own creation they can be proud of and feel a sense of ownership.
Interactive Student Notebooks have been a life saver for me and wonderful teaching tool at the elementary school level. I started using them last year and created mine along with my students and aligned it with my own curriculum –take a peak inside it!
There are a lot of benefits to using Interactive Student Notebooks in a world language class at the elementary level. Here are a few I have found while using them in my classes:
1. Easy to keep organized: I’ve found Interactive Notebooks are an easy way to keep my students organized. I used to have binders for my second and third graders, and it became chaotic for them to handle and keep them in order. Interactive Notebooks provide a space where everything we do in class is kept in one place.
2. High motivation for students: Students are more engaged in class and constantly ask when they can take their notebooks home. I include hands on activities, lyrics of songs we’ve learned, and games!
3. Good communication with your students’ parents: Spanish notebooks help children keep track of their own learning and exploration in class. Many of the activities in the Interactive Notebook should be engaging such as games, puzzles, memory games, and so on.
Provide space during the school year for students to take their notebook home to share with parents what we’ve done in class – this helps parents feel more connected with their children’s learning and allows you to educate them since, in most cases, this kind of second language learning is much different than their experience.
4. A resource for the summer: When the school year is over, children will have a resource they have created and can take home to practice over the summer.
5. You will love it! Just make sure you have the materials required for the fun. I use regular composition books and glue sticks.