Please note that my interactive notebook design is slightly modified from what a "true" interactive notebook is, but maintains many of the principals particularly for our daily documentation of learning (the Write and Discuss section). I am also attending a Jump Start conference for National Board certification as well as meeting with my colleagues in the upcoming weeks, so it may undergo additional revisions as things get fine-tuned for the 2018-2019 school year.
I mainly want their notebook to be a resource which answers the question "What did I learn?". It will show the material for a particular day and their mastery of it as well as their progress over time. Any other activities they are welcome to keep in their notebook in the back, but I am only concerned about the items I want them to come back to throughout the year, including reviewing their progress and accomplishments.
This means there are only certain times which I allow students to use their notebooks or even have them out. For the vast majority of class, I want them to focus on being present and comprehending input. However, I hope that by routinely dedicating the last 10 minutes of class to write and discuss with our Interactive Notebooks, students also know they will have plenty of time to write down any notes they wish. The only other times they will need their notebooks are when they are evaluating and documenting their learning, which will usually happen during specific proficiency activities.
With that being said, the main items in my notebooks (with a more detailed break down below) include:
- Documentation of input
- Demonstration of proficiency
- Reminder of how language is learned and the behaviors that facilitate that process
- Important rubrics we will use often
- Light Reading Book Report (as evidence of reading a novel)
- Charts/graphs of progress
- Questions for La Persona Especial (as we will use these for multiple activities throughout the trimester)
I have 30% of my gradebook set aside for "Classwork and Activities", most of which will come from items in their IN. Everything in the IN is going to be graded on completion as part of students' daily formative assessments - this means it's information for me to adjust instruction before the summative assessment of what they achieved. I want students to get comfortable doing their best and honestly evaluating and discussing their progress. If they know that items in the IN are graded on quality of completion, it will send a signal that lowers their affective filter and gives them permission to just do their best and not worry about anything else for a moment. I am going to review their progress each day (see the procedure in the next paragraph) to see what adjustments need to be made or conversations need to be had in order to get them where they need to be.
This policy fits in with the least amount of work for me as well. As students are working in their IN, I can easily move around the room and stamp/check off pages that have received full credit (or that are done enough that I trust will be worthy of full credit). I plan to check off the items on my student tracker and grading sheet as well as give them a stamp on their notebook page so they know it was checked and recorded as full credit. Anything that is less than full credit, I write a small score in the top left corner of the page so they know they still have some work to do if they want more points, but I did check it. Anything that doesn't get recorded in class, they leave open to the page that needs to be check and turn their notebooks in to the basket. I finish recording them and put them in their hand-back folder for them to retrieve the following day.
Students are going to give themselves a self-evaluation each day to let me know what's going on.
I decided to do a binder/spiral notebook combination. I didn't feel like the hand outs I wanted to give them would work very well in the notebooks and I really dislike the whole idea of gluing and taping papers in (just a personal preference). Plus, after budgeting the number of pages I wanted for their writing activities, I didn't feel like there would be enough room for the handouts. Finally, I hope that having the combination will prove to be the best of both worlds, especially since students can put things in their binders that I didn't plan on (i.e. Day of the Dead artwork or maps of the Spanish-speaking world) while maintaining the spiral notebook as a documentation of their input and evidence of their proficiency.
In the past, I've used composition books because I didn't want students ripping out pages and spiral notebooks seemed too tempting to do so. However, I opted for a spiral notebook for the student work this year for ease of grading. Spiral notebooks easily lay open to any page, so students can set them out or turn them in OPEN to the pages I want to check. One of the things I've found to eat up time with checking work is simply flipping to the page it's supposed to be on, sometimes finding that there isn't anything on that page in the first place of the student put it on a different page. Having spiral notebooks that are open to the pages I need to check makes that much simpler. If students need me to check multiple pages, they can bookmark them with a sticky note.
The spiral notebook will go in the front pocket or clipped into the front if students prefer. However, unless you get a large binder (which I don't want), having the notebook clipped in makes turning pages impossible, so I prefer it to be in the front pocket.
- Inside front cover: Self-evaluation rubrics for Write and Discuss - having these here makes them easy to flip to. After copying the Write and Discuss, students will write down and color code their score. This makes it easy for me to walk around and make note of students I need to pay more attention to in class for comprehension or follow-up with to help them stay on track.
- Page 1: Why learn Spanish - students will write and/or illustrate reasons to learn Spanish on this page. This is the theme of my warm-up for Motivación Mañana (Motivation Morning) on the first day of each week, so hopefully this will be FULL by the end of the course!
- Pages 2-3: Table of Contents. Instead of numbering all of our pages, our "page numbers" will be dates. I've dedicated the first half of an 80-page IN for Write and Discuss (one per right-hand page) and the second half is for "Meditación Martes" (Meditation Tuesday, where students will respond to a personal journal prompt) and the Free Writes (each Friday). Although there will be about an equal number of Meditaciones as Free Writes, I want students to write down the date and topic for the Meditaciones whereas I just want the date for the Free Writes, so I adjusted space accordingly. For the Write and Discuss section, I wanted to make sure I had enough for almost every day AND I want them to write down the date and title, so I divided that space up into two columns.
- Interactive Notebook Instructions - I broke these instructions down by section since each one will be used a little differently (here's where the "modified" part of the IN comes in for me). This gives students a handy page to reference as we complete activities or they are adding artifacts at home.
- Section 1: Write and Discuss - I have set aside the last 10 minutes of class each day for Write and Discuss, which doubles as my Closure. This is when students get their notebooks out and copy down our summary of what we discussed that day. Side note - I think I am going to allow students who are confident to go ahead and write the summary on their own as I work with the rest of the class and they can check their summary with mine. I'm not concerned if theirs has errors - we will be working with my perfect copy in class for input and there's no way to guarantee students who are copying won't have errors anyway. After they've copied the summary of the day, they use the "Comprehension" self-evaluation rubric on the inside of the front cover to score themselves on listening and reading. If they wrote it on their own or we've done a retell (particularly for days when we're working with a text we already wrote), they can use the "Production" rubric. I want them to color-code their scores so that I can quickly glance and make note of any students who are in the yellow or especially the red zone. This doesn't affect their grade, but rather will help me make adjustments for the next lesson or set up a conversation about our game plan for success. On the left-hand page, students will interact with the text through one of the menu options on the interactive notebook instructions.
- Section 2: Meditaciones - Each week, students will respond to a prompt that requires them to expand the vocabulary they know from our characters and stories to a topic that they might discuss in their everyday life. They will also record their ability to respond on their proficiency tracker, kept in the binder section of their portfolio, as well as record this proficiency, their reasoning for why their response reflects that proficiency level, and two sentences about their next steps on the left-hand page of their notebook.
- Section 3: Free Writes - Students will complete their free-writes in this section. When they are done, they will record their word count (this is more for them than for me) as well as grade themselves using my Free Write Rubric. This rubric matches the one that they will use on their summative proficiency checks, so I want them to become familiar with it. Once that is done, they will write a two-sentence reflection about their experience. Students may use the front and back of their pages, so nothing goes on the left-hand side. Finally, I want them to show their free-write to a responsible adult (I am going to ask them to say who this is at the beginning of the year, which will usually be a parent but I'm giving them some flexibility because home situations aren't always conducive to that) for a signature. The adult is also welcome to write their own feedback - as long as it is positive!
- Proficiency Tracker - This is based directly on the 2017 ACTFL Can-Do statements. As students are able to read, listen to, and discuss a variety of texts, they will complete performance activities which assist in demonstrating overall proficiency. Each time we complete one of these activities, students will write the date in the appropriate box (I will tell them which row and/or columns they should be using) under the proficiency that best aligns with how they did. Again, this is not attached to a grade beyond completion - my hope is that students will be able to consistently see that they are increasing in proficiency across a wide variety of topics, ultimately resulting in increased global proficiency.
- How does my brain learn languages? - This is a worksheet where students look at this poster created by Eric Herman and discuss what each part of the acquisition process is and what it means for students. I am going to use this as my launch-pad for discussing rules and expectations for my Spanish class.
- Rubrics - I am including any rubrics that students will be evaluated with regularly. This year, this includes the Interpersonal Communication Skills Rubric (50% of students' grades, put in weekly) and Habits of Strong Readers Rubric, both by Tina Hargaden. I am also including my Writing Proficiency Assessment rubric, which I will use as my summative writing assessment and students use to evaluate their own writing throughout the course.
- Book report - Students will complete a novel and demonstrate their learning from the novel using their choice of book report format. I purchased Bryce Hedstrom's book Meaningful Reading Comprehension Checks and am going to give my students the option of doing Light Reading Book Report #2, 5,7, 9, 11, or 13 - They cannot use the same book report format within the same year.
- Speed Reading Graph from Eric Herman - I use these at the end of each semester for students to gain confidence in themselves and as an additional measure of their growth and achievement. During the week of review and finals, they read each story once and graph their words per minute as well as their score on a comprehension check. Once they score a 6 or below on two stories in a row, then I let them be done as I feel that's an indicator they've reached the limit of their comprehension. Ideally, students in Spanish 1A would be able to read roughly the first third to half of the stories while Spanish 1B would be able to read most of the stories 1-30 (but starting where they left off with Spanish 1A). This is NOT part of their grade - it's just another artifact measuring their growth and accomplishments.
- Syllabus - I put this in last because it does have important information, but we really don't use it as often as all of the other stuff. Putting it here is just a practicality decision.
- Back pocket: Questions for La Persona Especial - I have a handout with all of the pre-planned questions that might pop up in La Persona Especial or in other interpersonal speaking exercises (see Tina Hargaden's Interpersional Speaking Game/Rubric). They might also pop up on a final exam or review. In any case, it's useful for students to have a list of the questions that will come up that they should hopefully be able to ask or respond to organically at some point in the course, but I don't use this as a comprehensive list. I also feel it will help lower the anxiety for students who are called upon as La Persona Especial since they have a good idea of what questions have been or might be asked. I put this in the back pocket for quick access and so that it's easy to pull out and use if necessary.
Do you use interactive notebooks in your comprehensible input classes? What do you include and why? Are there things you choose not to include? Share your thoughts below!