When I see that something works, like CI, I run with it.
When I see that something doesn’t work, like memorizing vocabulary lists and endings, I toss it.
Last year, after fighting a losing battle with binders, we tossed them. Literally, we tossed them into the trash and recycle bins!
Originally, I had hoped (like many of us do), that students would take important notes, songs, tests, and handouts and keep them nicely organized in a binder that would travel with them from school to home and back. At the end of the year, students would have a 2 inch thick binder of useful resources to use when they got to Spanish 2.
What really happened was that 10% of my students took care of their binders and kept everything neatly organized. The rest of the students would try and hide their binders in my room. I tried using a crate to store them in class to avoid them hiding them. That didn’t work because they would shove them in or just stack them and it’d look like a mess.
So after doing as much digging as one could productively do on Pinterest, I started bookmarking everything I could find about interactive notebooks in a world language class. Guys, there’s a ton of info out there about INB’s but the more I kept reading, the less time I had in the year to do anything that would be beneficial to my kids.
I went through a few kids binders and pulled out what I thought was the best of the best and worth keeping. Surprisingly, it wasn’t a lot 😦 My kiddos don’t take a lot of notes anyways, it’s mostly structures from the Super 16 and stories we have read or created in class. I knew that their Spanish 2 teachers are more legacy style, so every now and then we would have “Spanish 2 prep days” and look at verb endings and work with grammar.
I also came across Emilie at IslandTeacher.com and she had some awesome resources for our INB’s. She also posted a few tips for starting an interactive notebook here. If you’re thinking about going towards INB’s but you aren’t super creative, she has some great items that you can purchase to jump start moving towards interactive notebooks. Check out her TPT store and go all out and buy a bundle. I promise you’ll be satisfied!
Now guess what happened…
This year I’m at the high school now and MANY of my students from last year have told me that they’re so glad they kept their notebook. They looked through it before school started, they’ve used it as a reference for little things like subject pronouns and gender/number agreement. They even tell their friends in my class now how happy they are that they did this instead of a binder!