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Friday, July 18, 2014

Interactive Note-taking: One Way to Look at It

Have you heard of Interactive Notebooks or Interactive Note-taking? If you are a teacher in elementary school, I can take a bet that you have heard of them.

A couple of years ago, the school where I work started a new initiative . . . 

And after some changes on my grade level, I was suddenly on the Launch Committee.  I was already behind, and I HATE being behind. After the first all day meeting, I was not at all convinced that this would be the answer to increasing thinking in the classroom. It seemed like just more busy work.  Ahhh . . . . then I was nominated to teach a model lesson for the next go around. I did I survived having 12 teachers, coaches and principals in my room. Through the years I have developed my own version of the system.  

I keep my Interactive Notes in a Composition Notebook.

Here is an overview of some of the important components:

I always have a Table of Contents  at the beginning of each unit.
I have students put a box around the title of each unit.

One other component that I love is mind maps!  My students make a Mind Map as a summarizing tool after we finish a unit. It is shows all of the major concepts in the unit in a visual way.  Students are able to show their creativity in their mind map.
This student made is classification mind map into a tree.  Each branch is one of the major concepts from the unit.  Each branch is an important supporting idea.
 The heart of the interactive note-taking is the left hand vs right hand thinking.
For each science or social studies unit, I give students notes I have written on the topic.  They glue it onto the right hand side.  On the left hand side students create a creative response that shows the main idea of the text on the right.

If you notice on the text on the right hand side there is underlining, boxing, circling and arrows.  Check back next Friday to see how I teach students to mark the text on the right hand side.
This is just one approach to Interactive Notes.  I would love to hear how your teach your students to take notes.