Monthly Archives: August 2014

Interactive Notebooking – the beginning

With our first week of school complete, I now have a good idea about how INB is going to work in my classroom.  For the most part my students like it.  It is taking a little longer than I planned and with early dismissals for heat, I’m a little behind.  We spent the second day of class setting up the notebook and then began taking notes.  I am precutting all of the material right now, hoping to save some time.  Some students still don’t have their supplies, so I am providing glue sticks and notebooks.  I hope most of them eventually get supplies because it could get a little expensive for me if they don’t.

On page one, we used the information sheet the students filled out the first day and the second page is the student success page with important information from the class.  Page 3 has the Unit 1 Table of Contents and we have our data tracking page behind that.  I’m putting the tab (half of a mini post-it) for Unit 1 on this page because we will need to return to data tracking and table of contents frequently.

First Day Activity

Standards Graph

This is my first page of notes in the INB. We are putting the standard at the top of the page.  I used the Frayer Model for the vocab word equation.  The Inverse Operations page is from Math=Love (thanks for sharing!) 

2014-08-24 16.39.18

The next page is from Everybody is a Genius (also thanks for sharing!) and we glued the side down so they would fold out.  I also have a special case foldable that is on an example page.



2014-08-24 16.39.33


I still feel like I’m finding my way, but I like what we’ve done so far. I hope I can get the time factor figured out so I don’t get too far behind in my curriculum.  I haven’t been able to use the activities I’ve planned either (due to time) so I hope I can figure that out too.


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Student discourse in the math classroom

We all want our students to take ownership of their learning but as teachers it is sometimes difficult to give up the center stage and let the students take the lead.  Our math PD focus this year is student discourse.  I know I’m not on the low end of having students discuss with each other.  I find opportunities for students to teach each other and I encourage discussions among small groups most class periods.  This is a good start, but I know I need to do more.  I found a blog post from  The Number Twenty Four that talks about how she uses the socratic circle process in her math classroom.  I know a little about the socratic process, but until recently had not considered it a tool to be used in my math classroom.  I know this is where I would like to take my students, being comfortable discussing a math topic while giving considerations to the ideas and opinions of others.  In the post mentioned earlier, the author links to a WONDERFUL website she used to get started. Robert Kaplinsky has lessons that are searchable by Common Core standards and are designed to encourage conversations.   I’m not sure how quickly I will jump into this, but I think it will be a great experience for my students and will help them gain a deeper understanding of math concepts.  Since I’m at the beginning of this journey, I also welcome thoughts and advice from others who have successfully used the socratic process in their math classroom.

To new adventures…


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Easy Data Template

I’ve been using the data teams process in my classroom for a few years now. When I began I had no training, I had to do a lot of research and talk to a lot of people who used the process.  The forms seemed extremely long and didn’t give me the graphical representation I was looking for.  Over the past three years I’ve developed and tweaked a template that has made data collection more than just a “collection.”  This template shows growth for individuals, whole class, and combined classes.  I use a 4, 3, 2, 1 system for proficient to not likely to reach proficiency (terms from many data teams references.)

When you enter the number, it color codes for you, builds a graph for the class, totals all classes and builds a graph for the class totals.

data 1data bar

data circle

The last tab of the spreadsheet is for misconceptions, strengths and learning strategies.  This tab is the most important because data teams is a useless tool unless you use it to guide your instruction.

I’ve included a link to this tool for personal use.  I hope it makes the use of data in your classroom a little easier for you.


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New Year New Adventure

I’m excited to start this school year!  This summer I’ve been working on something that’s been sitting in my brain for a few years, interactive notebooking for Algebra 1.  With help from Math=Love and Everybody is a Genius I already have my first unit ready to go.  Both of these ladies have shared a lot of great ideas and files and hopefully I will have my own ideas and files to offer as the year goes on.  Biology at my school has been successfully using this process for quite some time, so I know the students will catch on quickly. I have used many parts of interactive notebooking in previous years; Foldables, color coding, and diagrams.  I think putting it together in this format will make it easier for students to stay organized, reference their notes more easily, and use their notebook as a resource.  I have included data charts and space for reflection for our priority standards, further connecting these standards to what the students are learning.  I know it will take some adjustments as the year goes on but I’m excited to begin this journey!

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