Friday, May 23, 2014

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs for:

The school year is rapidly coming to a close which means that it is time to reflect on my year and begin to make preparations for next year.  One of my major reflections so far has been with my interactive student notebooks.  To start my 5 for Friday, I want to share with my BF Diane over at Fifth in the Middle.  Diane asked a very thought provoking question on Facebook this past Wednesday: "Do you prefer spirals or comp books for ISN's?"  Well,  I prefer spirals because there is less cutting involved!  Many prefer comps because spirals can become twisted, and catch on everything.  I have the perfect solution!  DUCT TAPE!!  Yep!  See pictures below!  

Interactive Student Notebooks: Spirals are better!  Their only downfall is that the metal spiral becomes twisted, out of shape, and catches on everything!  The solution, DUCT TAPE!  I actually learned this from a first year teacher at my school!  Meet Jessica!

Isn't she adorable? I took this pic today while my 3rd & 4th graders were reading with her cute little 1st graders!  I love that she still has that same infectious smile today that she had at the beginning of the year!  When I first met her, I noticed that she had used duct tape to cover those nasty spirals on her ISN's!!  I ran right out and bought duct tape to use on mine as well.  I have to give all the credit to Jessica! She was a life saver!  Here are a few pics of my students' ISN's with DUCT TAPE!!

I started off the school year using paper bags taped to the ends of my tables/desks for ISN scraps.  Those bags became old real fast!  Then one of my coworkers shared these plastic cups with me.  It was another perfect solution!  I waved "Good-Bye" to those ugly ripped paper bags and placed two plastic cups at each table!  Whoop-Whoop!

53% of my students are ELL's, (English Language Learners) so I keep homework simple...I require students to read for 30 minutes each night and clarify 3 unfamiliar words.  Instead of morning work, students share their unfamiliar words using a Kagan Structure, Stand up, Hand up, Pair up.  Today we made a chart of our favorite words that we have had to clarify this year!  My students loved it.  I know some of the words are misspelled, and I promise you that I will whip out the correction tape on Tuesday and correct those errors.  I was so excited about all the new words we have learned that I just needed to share them with you now.  :)  So, if you could just overlook those errors and see wonderful words that my students have discovered on their own!  I would greatly appreciate it.

Here are my students sharing their words!  I have to tell you that I have had more student HW participation since assigning clarifying words than ever before.  At first students were choosing "cheesy" words that they really already knew, but once I started making a big deal about words that were truly amazing, then everyone wanted to find "cool" words to share.  We are spending at least 10-15 minutes each morning sharing new and exciting words.  It is absolutely the best vocabulary instruction that I have been a part of in years!  Students are required to record the word in context from the book/text and then define the word with the appropriate definition that matches the sentence/context from their reading. 

Remember the adorable first year teacher, Jessica from my #1 about Duct Tape and Spiral Notebooks? Well my #5 is about her too!  My students are Reading Buddies with her little 1st Graders!  We meet up with our 1st graders every Friday afternoon from 2:30-3:00!  My students listen to their 1st grade buddy read, cover, retell & they practice their sight words by saying, spelling, and reading the sight word!  It is a lot of fun for both classes.  Today, I decided to share Joanne's Flash Light Friday from Head Over Heels For Teaching with our Reading buddies!  They loved it!  

I hope all of you have a wonderful and safe Memorial Day Weekend.  Blessings!


  1. Thank you for showing us how the duct tape worked!! The differences in tape probably makes them really identifiable to the students as well! I am still fighting the scrap issue with my notebooks. Maybe I'll try cups!

  2. What a great idea to use duct tape on spiral notebooks! I will surely try this! It gives me a chance to use my fancy duct tape :-)

    Seconds at the Beach

  3. You are brilliant to use Duct Tape!!! Can you believe I have never used that stuff in my classroom? I am way behind on jumping on that train. I saw some at the Dollar General the other day and put it down. I need to go back and get some! You have inspired me!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  4. What a great idea Jessica had!!! Those new teachers are always coming in with such great ideas for us veteran teachers. I like it that way. :)It keeps me on my toes. Thanks for sharing.

    Mrs. Flickinger's Butterfly Oasis