Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Algebra 2 Interactive Notebook

One of the MANY reasons I'm looking forward to Twitter Math Camp this summer is the opportunity to learn about Interactive Notebooks from @mgolding. However, I just cannot wait until then, so I've been talking to a lady at my school that uses them in her science class (she learned about them at AVID last summer), and today I decided to try it out.

The Rationale
The idea behind the INB is to help students organize and process the course content. Typically on the right side pages, students take traditional notes or tape/glue in handouts, quizzes, etc. On the left side, the students interact with the right-hand content by summarizing, journaling, making a graphic organizer, foldables, whatever. I have definitely seen a decline in student organization, so I'm willing to give it a try :)

The Notebook
Most people like to use composition notebooks, but I don't have any of those lying around, but I do have TONS of the 10 cent spirals that I buy every year - (Confession time... I'm a school supply hoarder and junkie. If I'm ever on the TV show hoarders it will be due to either books or school supplies!)

On the inside cover and first page, like any book, is the author info page and the table of contents. This table of contents came from the web, but I think I would want one that also includes the date because not all students will have things on the same page due to differences in writing size. I also learned that I will need to put borders on anything I expect to be cut out because the unevenness really annoys me :) I am worried about the time to cut/tape everything though.... Suggestions?

The next few pages typically have things like the syllabus, grading rubric, etc. I don't know what all will go here, but I do know one thing I want to put in there is an SBG score sheet for students to record their scores. This is just one I played with to see how it would look :)

At our school, we start the year in Alg2 with a quiz over some very basic Algebra 1 skills. This quiz has 5 objectives - order of operations, solving equations, etc. So I put that on the next page and their remediation for that quiz would go on the left. Notice that I taped in the quiz sideways, so it could still be opened and looked at :) I don't know how well tape will hold up over time, but it's worth a shot.

The next few pages are where I really had to stretch a bit (and I already found a math error, but I'm too lazy to correct it, so forgive me). Last summer, the Alg2 teachers got together and redesigned the first weeks of Alg2 in order to do the necessary Algebra 1 review in the context of Algebra 2. While I was in on the planning, my schedule got changed the week before school started, so I was not in on the implementation. That means that all I had to go on while building my practice notebook was some very rough notes from last summer. I know they started with an introduction to parent functions so that they could review table of values, graphing points, intercepts, and the concepts of domain and range. I don't have the parent function sheet they used, so this is one I created today. Again, forgive math errors - I was doing this in a hurry :)

In the pacing guide I had, there were a few more days, but I need more detail from my Alg2 buddies, so I skipped ahead. On the right side, you can see the Objective (which I need to start posting daily) and the handout. On the left, you can see the daily warmup (totally made up on the spot) and the summary of the lesson. This will need to be more fleshed out over the course of the summer, but it gives you the general idea.

Conclusions and Questions
I have to say that one thing I'm really looking forward to here is the use of color. I love pens of different colors (remember that hoarder part?), but I know some kids will resist. :(

I don't know what to do in the notebook (especially on the right hand side) on the days where we do an activity (card sort, etc). What pitfalls and such might I run up against trying to do this? I know that one thing is for certain - while I am a pretty organized person, I'm going to have to be even more organized in order to know what I want on the right/left side each day and that part frankly scares me. :( However, a quick glance on the web shows how popular these are, so there has to be redeeming value, right? :) And seriously... we get to play with scissors, tape, and COLORS! :) Yay!


Anonymous said...

I have used an interactive notebook in Geometry for the last couple of years. I have been gradually posting pages on my blog (which at least let me post *something* this year!).

One idea I had shortly after I started on my master version is to do *my* pages on reinforced looseleaf paper, while my students would do theirs in their spirals. That way, I can make changes (or correct mistakes) without having to redo the whole thing (which I am OCD enough to do).

I really like making the foldables because it keeps the kids' attention more engaged than just taking notes. They also think they are taking fewer notes (but they're not **evil laughter**).

Megan Hayes-Golding said...

RE: Time to cut/tape.
Your kids will get used to it. My kids preferred to put their stuff into the notebook after it was done (read: the end of class). I kept a full class set of scissors and 1 roll of tape for each group of kids accessible at all times. My closing activity many days was to put everything in the notebook.

Tape is a better choice than glue stick. It holds up to folding out & in much better.

RE: Color.
The key is color with a purpose. Put it in your grading rubric. I always give multicolor notes, so that helped the kids choose color. Ask kids to bring their own colored pencils or supply them with 4 colors. Rarely do you need more than that. Stay away from markers as they bleed.

RE: Class activities.
Some stuff you do won't go in the notebook. That's ok. I sometimes have the kids solve lots of problems at the board. We'd choose 1 to put in the notebook as an example.

RE: Left/right differences.
That takes practice. I put notebook page numbers in my lesson plans. In fact, at one point, I was lesson planning *in* my notebook.

Some ideas I used:
* Whenever I gave notes on the board, the upper right corner of the board was reserved for the page number.
* Ask that uber-organized kid in your class to keep track of it for you. My kid was Kadejah and she could always tell me what page we were on.
* Keep your own notebook for every single class you teach. It's tempting to use the same notebook for 2 sections of the same prep but don't. Sometimes, the page numbers will get off and it's uber-confusing.

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Sarah Carter (@mathequalslove) said...

Thanks so much for sharing this! I'm working on figuring out how I want to implement interactive notebooks in my math classes. I love these ideas!

druin said...

Thank you for sharing your geometry ideas! I have passed them on to a friend of mine that teaches geometry.

Did I tell you how much I <3 you! I totally owe you a drink at TMC :)

I figured I might as well jump in and see how it would work - if you try it, post pics! :)

Sarah said...

I have used an interactive notebook in pre-algebra, algebra & geometry classes and they're fantastic! Don't worry about leaving pages blank, sometimes if I have an activity like a card sort I just leave that side temporarily blank and then have kids return and do an activity there when it's time to review the chapter.

I started posting about the whole interactive notebook process here:

Amy Gruen said...

Would you share a copy of your parent function sheet? It looks perfect for something I am wanting to do soon!

mrsg.heartsmath at gmail

Unknown said...

May I please have a copy of the parent function pages as well? It is beautiful!!!

cubbytew at hotmail dot com

asymptote12 said...

I was lusting for the Parent Function sheet as well... So glad to see I wasn't the only one..


mrhills12 a gmail dot com

Unknown said...

I think it is ok if you don't put something in the notebook every single day. Also, tape will work better than a glue stick. If you do a card sort, think about letting the students take a picture of the final result with their phone. Then it could be printed off and taped into their notebook the next day. This way they still have a record of their learning.

Mrs. Jones said...

I am jumping from remedial 8th grade Math to Alg 2 honors and Discrete this year. I was lead to your site by Sarah over at Math = Love and I love your comments. I would really like to see more about your ISN for Alg 2 and get a copy of the parent function notes as well. thanks!

Unknown said...

Helpful ideas! I would love a copy of your Parent Function chart template as well!

Amanda said...

I would also love a copy of that parent function sheet!!! Please!

amanda_rodriguez_08 at yahoo

Unknown said...

Could you also please send me a copy of the parent function info sheet? It is great!


Unknown said...

It will be my first time teaching Algebra 2 this year and love using INBs in my classroom. I LOVE this foldable!! May I have a copy of it please?? My email is