Tag Archives: interactive notebooks

Looking Forward to 2016 by Reflecting on 2015

This past year has been a whirlwind professionally. I delved into the world of #gamification, attended a plethora of conferences expanding connections and teaching ideas. As a teacher, I selfishly love to learn and sharing knowledge with others.

Below are the highlights of the conferences I presented and guest blog posts I wrote in 2015.

Get Your Game On guest blog post for ISTE Project ReimaginED.

Gamification Webinar for ISTE

Your Students Are Your Best Resource for Gamification guest blog post for Classcraft

Utilizing Interactive Notebooks to Support ELLs your Classroom  a workshop for NYS TESOL Annual Conference

Unpacking Race in To Kill a Mockingbird a presentation for Critical Questions in Education Conference in Baltimore, MD.

Tech Based Alternative Assessments in Lieu of Book Reports & 5 Paragraph Essays presented at ILA in St. Louis, MO

Twitter in the K12 Classroom: A Collaborative Tool for Learning Webinar presented for ISTE

Attaining Common Core Reading & Writing Standards with Interactive Notebooks presentation for Long Island LILAC/NRC Conference

And lots more to look forward to in 2016: ISTE, ILA, NCTE and other awesome conferences, EdCamps, and professional development opportunities.

#ISTELitChat is going to be awesome in 2016 with new guest moderators. We meet the last Sunday of each month at 9 PM, just type in the hashtag #ISTELitChat in Twitter to join us.

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy 2016 and look forward to learning, growing, and collaborating together.

 

 

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Utilizing Interactive Notebooks to Support ELLs in Your Classroom

The following slides are from a workshop I led with my colleague and ELL teacher, Vanessa Kravitz, at the annual New York State Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (NYS TESOL 2015).

Interactive English Notebooks are successful tools for teachers and students to engage, organize, and encourage critical thinking. Interactive foldables are three-dimensional interactive graphic organizers that can be used at any level and with any subject area as a learning and assessment tool, as well as a portfolio of learning, and student created textbook. Research states interactive foldables provide tools used to visually represent relationships in text, help students retain information, and keep students actively engaged in the instructional process and learning as they create foldables (Zike, 2000). Interactive foldables offer a hands-on approach to teaching, are effective study guides, help students organize information, and can replace the use of worksheets. This workshop introduced interactive notebooks and addressed how one English teacher and one ELL teacher integrated them into their middle school classrooms to support diverse student needs, specifically ELLs,  for reading and writing success. High quality instruction is essential to promote language acquisition and ELL success (Short & Echevarria, 2005), and interactive notebooks organize, engage, and encourage student understanding. In helping students attain the Common Core learning standards, interactive foldables are a scaffolding tool for English Language Learners and a personal learning tool for all students. Participants created, folded, and tried out interactive notebook activities in this hands on workshop to learn how interactive notebooks can help students read closely, critically, and write with more depth.

What are ways that you can support ELL students in your classroom. Here are five things you can do immediately to support these students:

  1. Utilize Visual Aids
  2. Do More Small Group Work
  3. Learn About the Background of Your Students
  4. Offer Sentence Stems & Thinking Frames to help with Content Area Language & Learning
  5. Allow Scaffolding in Their Native Language – All students to write in their first language and take note while reading in their first language

How does one grade the interactive notebook? Below is a rubric I created to evaluate my students interactive notebooks.

InteractiveNotebookRubric

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Classroom Non Negotiables

Summer is the time to take a deep breath, reflect, and revise for the school year ahead. There are certain aspects of my teaching that are non negotiables – the things that I will not change and or I am committed to in helping to reach and teach ALL my students. As an English Language Arts teacher in a middle school, I am teaching students; it’s not all about the content material. With that being said, these are the elements of my classroom that have become the “everys.”

1. The Interactive English Notebook – Three years ago I became a devoted fan of the interactive notebook and since then, I have been creating my own content to support my students as readers and writers. The interactive notebook has become my textbook and portfolio of what students are studying and learning. Keeping my promise to the earth to use a little paper as possible, I only make photocopies of the interactive foldables for my students; worksheets have been eliminated and Google Docs and Forms have become tools for assessments, surveys, and responses outside of the notebooks.

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2. Article of the Week – I assign little homework. In addition to independent readings outside of class (30 minutes a night Sunday – Thursday), the one outside assignment that I offer to my students is an article of the week. The “Article of the Week” was created by educator and author, Kelly Gallagher as a way to build prior knowledge and background. I assign students an article of the week every Monday and students have until Thursday to complete the close reading and reflection assignment. This year I am piloting a digital article of the week with Actively Learn. Actively Learn houses thousands of free articles and assignments or teachers can upload their own. Here is the thing about homework in my classrooms, students do not get graded on their homework, students earn game points for completed homework. Points equal priviledges. I talk more about the game platform next.

3. Classcraft Gaming Platform –  Each student has an avatar and is on a team. The objective of the game is to gain as many points as possible to unlock privileges like extra days on homework, access to test questions, or extended bathroom breaks. Students work together, as well as individually, throughout the school year earning points based on quiz grades, homework completion, and classroom interactions. This game platform allows for positive peer collaboration and camaraderie, it is a motivational tool for most of my students, and students are rewarded for positive behaviors (and vise versa, lose points for negative behaviors).

4. Reading/Writing Workshop – Returning to my Teacher College roots, I am reinstating the reading and writing workshop in my classroom. As I mentioned prior, I am not teaching a book, I am teaching readers and writers. I want to offer as much time in my classroom for my students to read and write and foster a love of words. Although I do not teach in a block schedule, I will have reading workshop twice a week and writing workshop twice a week for a total of 80 minutes each a week for independent reading and writing, read alouds, and mini lessons.

5. Genius Hour – Friday is Genius Hour. Students will work on a project of their choice with the foundation that it has to benefit the “community.” I am thinking about class blogs for students to write monthly entries of their research and genius work to share with the world the amazing projects dreamed up.

What are your everys or non negotiables? Please share or comments on this blog.

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Attaining Common Core Reading & Writing Standards with Interactive English Notebooks: LILAC/NRC Conference

The topic for this year’s LILAC/NRC (Long Island Language Arts Council & National Reading Conference is “Literacy Matters For Every Learner.” Key note speakers include Richard Allington and Pam Munoz Ryan. I will also be presenting along with 12 additional teachers and literacy coaches addressing topics related to literacy. My session will addressed specific foldables I created for my students to support reading and argumentative writing. I have embedded my slide show for the presentation below.

The foldables and supporting graphic organizers I have included in my presentation include:

 

Interactive Foldables Anchor Standard
Stop and Notice & Note CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.1

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.4

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.5

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.10

Introductory Paragraphs: BLT Strategy CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.1

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.2

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.4

Writing A Thesis for An Argumentative Essay CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.1

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.4

Ways to Start An Essay CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.1

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.2

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.4

TEXAS Body Paragraphs CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.1

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.2

Writing A Conclusion CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.8.1.E
Transition Words & Phrases CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.8.1.C
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Who’s Who? A Detective’s Interactive File & Close Reading

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My students have just started reading Agatha Christie’s murder mystery And Then There Were None.  In the first chapter the reader is introduced to eleven different and central characters. This can be confusion for some. So, in order to help my students to learn and understand each of the characters I created an interactive detective’s file foldable for their English Journal.  Students created the detective’s file and then received a small file card on each of the characters to fill out while reading of the text.  Like a detective seen on television and in movies, students are required to keep a file on each of the characters based on their reading and understanding of the text. The detective’s files needed to contain the following information:

Front Side (To be completed during after reading Chapters 1 & 2) :

Physical Traits

Character Traits

Reason for going to Solider Island

Mode of Transportation to the Island

Inferences that can be made about the character

Back Side (To be completed during reading chapters 3-15):

Crime Accused of

Reactions

Cause of Death

Time & Place of Death

 

After students made the detective file foldable and glued it into their notebooks they were assigned a specific character to study and examine closely.  Working in small groups, students reread specific sections about their character gathering evidence, then developing ideas and making inferences about the character. Using the information from the selected text students were to uncover the following: (1) the character’s physical appearance and age; (2) the mode of transportation the character used to arrive on Solider Island; (3) a direct quote about the character describing the character’s personality; (4) an inference about the character’s personality based on the quote; and (5) how the character was invited to the island and what he/she expects to do on Solider Island. Students created posters to communicate all the above information. 

This activity directly links to the CCLS and close reading for text evidence: “Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it” (CCLS R.1). 

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Students presented their finished posters and their classmates filled in their detective files on each of the characters of the text.

Christopher Lehman & Kate Roberts’ book Falling in Love with Close Reading (2014) describes close reading as “following the unfolding of an idea, to hear a text, to attend to language, to question, to visualize scenes, to mentally construct characters can only come from closely paying attention” [to the text] (p.10).  This year I am slowing down my students reading so they practice the skill of reading closely, paying attention to the details, and see the complexity of ideas that are presented in texts and in our own lives. 

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Writing a Thesis: An Interactive Foldable

This summer I have become obsessed with interactive notebooks. We know that in the real world scientists, writers, mathematicians, and historians all keep notebooks to collect their ideas, hypotheses, artifacts, and notes related to their interests and studies.  Why not have our students keep a notebook for the same purposes.  Interactive notebooks or journals are a place for students to house notes, ideas, and understandings. What makes an interactive notebook different from a journal is that interactive notebooks are three dimensional, colorful, include both teacher and student generated notes, and are a resource for key concepts and ideas.

There are some amazing teachers online who have created interactive notebook templates that are informative and engaging.  My FAVORITE interactive notebook ideas and lesson for reading literature and non fiction text come from Erin Cobb, middle school teacher and blogger.  If you are looking for interactive math journal ideas, teacher and blogger, Jen Runde, creates many ideas that pop off the pages of her students’ journals.

This summer I have been using the interactive notebooks with my summer school students and I am excited to start them with my middle school students this September.  Inspired by all the interactive notebook ideas that I have been pinning and reading  online, I have created my first interactive notebook foldable for my students on writing a thesis for a persuasive essay.

foldable 1 foldable 3 foldable 4

Click here for a free copy of the template and lesson created on writing a thesis for a persuasive essay.

 

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