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Multiple Subjects - Notebooking

This past year I tried to add notebooking to my reading class and failed miserably. In hindsight I think it was because I was new to teaching reading and I really wasn't sure what I was that overwhelmed me. It turned out setting up a notebooking as well as learning the curriculum was a bit too much so I abandoned them the second novel in (I stared with the novel Top Secret and then Sign of the Beaver).

The biggest problem I had was time. Reading a class novel takes time and so does working in a notebook. I tried reading one day and notebooking related to the reading the next day. It was taking forever to get through a novel! I was also alternating between class novel sets and using the reading textbook series (complete with the work book) so I was using the notebooks inconsistently.

What I wound up doing was abandoning notebooking and instead had students create large "lapbook" foldables at the end of each novel and that worked well for fact so much so that I would do that again this year (I got the lapbook idea from one of the blogs I am following).

I started with the novel The Witches and took a file folder and cut one flap in half. One half said "book" the other half said "movie" (we were working on comparing and contrasting skills). When the student opened it up there were four sections they had to fill in. The first was a book synopsis. The second was a character map. The third was a written paragraph focusing on how the movie was different from the book and the last was their supported opinion of whether the book or movie was better.

Students made file folder game boards for the novel "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever", file folders that highlighted character traits for the novel "The Homework Machine", etc. Students were graded on a rubric and it worked out great for me for the year.

I kept all these "lapbooks" and they went home at the end of the year with students along with their writing folder and science notebook.

Pictured above is an example of one of the projects we did for our nonfiction unit as well as my initial attempt at notebooking in reading.

My advice for people just starting to notebook is to get comfortable notebooking in one subject area before trying to tackle another. I have a friend in one school who would like to try notebooking in social studies but stuck with science for the first year to keep from being overwhelmed. I have another friend who is going to try it in math this year (in addition to science, which she also started last year as well).


Anonymous said…
I whole-heartedly agree with this post. It is hard to figure out how to make a notebook for another class. My ISN was easy to create, but making one for my Language Arts class was just too hard. One thing I thought would work for my ILAN was to have students get a composition book that was already divided into three sections - that, though, would cost some of which my students don't really have (Title I school).

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