Trade & Grade: Black History Month Interactive Notebook

Super excited to be joining in for a FAB event! Some of my bloggy friends are trading our products and GRADING them!!  Fun, huh??  Nothing like a review from fellow teachers, right?

How many of you use MLK’s birthday as an unofficial kick-off to Black History month?  I decided to this year with this AWESOME Interactive Notebook by Jamie at Diary of a Not So Wimpy Teacher! 

I LOVE doing Interactive Notebooks with my kids, but I don’t have one for Social Studies.  I decided that since this product has SO many great pages to use, it would be perfect as a stand-alone project that will be a great keepsake.  Let me just say…I really like having a big unit to work on.  Makes prep super-easy, and the kids know what to expect, what materials are needed, and you can get down to business!!!  Time is so precious!  

We started by decorating and gluing the cover to one side of a 12 x 18 sheet of construction paper.  We ran these through the laminator to keep these durable during the month of heavy use.  

If you ARE using the traditional composition notebook, each of these pages, close read passages, and foldables ALL fit PERFECTLY- so there are no worries about reducing the size of the page to fit!

Next, I took some 12 x 18 drawing paper that I have in bulk.  I counted out the pages I plan to use, added a few more…you know we tend to get inspired and do something EXTRA…and trimmed off an inch.  I know when I fold it, some of the paper will sneak out of the sides if it isn’t a little smaller.  Yeah…a little OCD there.

I PLANNED to use my new Quirky stapler to create a booklet NOW, but I decided to keep the pages tucked in for now.  I think I'll wait until there aren't any mess ups and "page re-dos".  Now, this whole thing could be done so easily with a file folder or just simply stapling the outer edge, but I really want to try out this new gadget.  I'll keep you posted!

Now that the prep is done, we dug into the first page for our long-term project. 

Using the open-ended Table of Contents page, we label the page number and Black History Month.  This is a great way to keep the notebook organized and a tool to refer to for other activities you may do throughout the month.  

Before we look at the first page we completed, let me share an INB tip with you!!  Precut...Precut...Precut!!!  Don't be intimidated that this will be a messy process if you've been scared to give it a try!

As you can see, I pre-cut the pages on my paper cutter.  It takes a VERY short time for me to cut them for everyone, and our lessons can be focused on the learning.  There are times when I want them to have a little chat time- cut a little, glue a little, chat.  Science and Social Studies are often the subjects that get bumped a bit, so I need to MAXIMIZE the time we have.  Ten minutes of cutting ALL these pages saves so much MORE in the classroom!  Trust me! get into how amazing this product is going to be in my classroom!!  Each of the pages are set up to be a TWO page spread!
On the left, you have a close read.  They are super informative!  What I love is that at the bottom, there are two questions for the kids to refer to the text to answer.
I can really see using the Close Read in my small groups, too!  Nothing like double-dipping in your day!  And get this.....there are TWELVE passages paired with its own unique foldable!  I will probably choose about six, but that is totally up to you.  Better to have too MANY choices than too FEW, right?  

The right side of every section comes with the part the kids love...shhh, so do I.....the FLAPS!!  On this particular page, there were some additional questions to answer from the text. 
There are SO many different styles that your kids will love the variety!  I took a quick screenshot from Jamie's preview to show you how some of the other pages will turn out!

I missed taking a picture of this one, but I love the Venn Diagrams she includes.  In third grade, we are always looking for opportunities to compare and contrast in our reading...ESPECIALLY from two DIFFERENT passages!  Well, you are all set with this one!  I am planning to use the provided diagram to compare/contrast Fredrick Douglass and Harriet Tubman.  You might want to use ALL or a few!  Again, these extras will really help tie your Social Studies standards into your reading block AND your writing block!

We keep baskets at the end of our tables (teacher talk for 4 desks put together!).  I love keeping our on-going projects OUT of their desks but CLOSE enough to access quickly.  

You are in for a treat, y'all!  Jamie is sharing a special sampler just for YOU! Aren't the jars super cute??  Great spot for your kidlets to find and cite facts found in the text.  Great spring board to write summaries, huh?  

Click the image for the direct download!  Sweet!

I just KNOW you're gonna want the whole package, so I'm including the link straight to her store to snatch this up in time for your February lesson plans!

Hope you enjoyed my review!  And what do you think Jamie's grade should be, huh??  I think she gets a big fat A!  (Or a 4 in my standards-based land, where 4's go above and beyond requirements!)

Be sure to check out all the other bloggers below and see MORE reviews!  Be sure to see Jamie's review at her blog, Diary of a Not So Wimpy Teacher, and read about my Winter Fraction bundle!  Yikes.....I hope she liked it!


Tips for Standards-Based Reporting

Hey y'all!  I may have mentioned that grades 3-5 in my district have joined K-2 in Standards-based Reporting.  Like all things that are new, there are some  pains that I am experiencing in this transition.  I'm also finding it hard to find resources to help ease this transition!  So, like other things I have shared, I plan to share my attempts to make this "just another thing" that we do!  And think nothing of it.

That said, I will say that up to this point, there have been way too many hours simply keeping up with grades.  Gone are the days of the old-fashioned grade books where you have one page per subject.  For the the entire first semester, I have been keeping up with 13 pages for ELA alone!  Depending on what we are covering for the other subjects, you can add to that for math, science, and social studies.

Some assessments might cover more than one record that AGAIN.

Add an absent child to the mix, so you don't record any of them? Leave yourself a post-it note on your desk?
I have found myself to be so scattered.  It has been quite frustrating.  I spoke with one of the other teachers in our building who created another system for herself (other than what we were given)...and I am giving that my attention for the next semester.  I'm pretty excited and hopeful and think this is going to be the ticket.  The first week has already been SOOOO much better! it is!

I always keep a stack of class lists in my desk ready to go at all times.  I leave these for my subs to have a sheet to send for attendance, I use them for quick recording of online assessments or formative assessments.  So, I decided to have these lists be a part of my reporting.

Rather than one sheet per standard (or cluster of standards), my friend's recording has ALL the clusters on one page per STUDENT.  I  had to tackle Excel to get SO may tables on one page, but I figured it out.  (In the back of my binder, I have all of my pacing guides to refer to)

I labeled the top of each page with the:
  • Date
  • Name of Activity
  • Cluster & Number
  • Week of the Activity
ALL of my grades for week 1 will go on the same row.  There will be empty slots each week, but it also allows me to quickly assign a grade in two places.  For example, our reading assessments often cover 2 clusters.  Rather than record all of the grades on one page and then AGAIN on another page, now I can quickly assign that grade for the student on his/her page.  

You can see that this is on Row 1 for  Week 1.  And that it is Cluster 10.

Once I am ready to record the stack, I figured out that it is easier to flip starting in the back.
I write whatever is the most common grade quickly....and look for the child that has something different.  Look for the next one and record.  I write, drop a page... write, drop a page, etc.  

Missing one grade?  I can leave myself a note in the grade book  so that when it trickles in, I know exactly where to record the grade.

Or...I can simply put the slips in a pocket in my binder.  I've put a circle on my empty slots so that I can know quickly who I need to pester!!  LOL!  Don't we ALL have those kids that shove things in their desk....and you're sitting at home with everyone's work EXCEPT that one little Goober!  Grrr!  Ready for that because we KNOW it's gonna happen!

That's the plan, y'all!  I'm super excited!  Now, if only we could get a digital system to handle it!  I have really missed being able to see a report that has everything one child is doing at a glance.  I didn't know how great I had it!

If you are doing Standards-Based Reporting, I'd love to hear your helpful hints for this newbie!  And if you're a newbie, too....hope this helps!