One of the biggest commonalities that I recognized through each resource was that not only are interactive notebooks a tool for students, but for teachers as well. Interactive notebooks give teachers insight into their student’s brains which in turn leads to information on how to continue planning lessons. Currently I am not using science interactive notebooks in my classroom or any form of interactive notebook therefore. Last year I attempted to do an interactive reading notebook but found that I was not consistent with the students and therefore didn’t get the results and effort I wanted to see. These would be the only things keeping me from trying interactive science notebooks this year. It was very helpful to see multiple examples of the notebooks and how they could be set up. This eases my mind a bit that they don’t have to be anything fancy, and, in fact can be pages of blank paper stapled inside a file folder.
A few other things that I learned from the readings and PowerPoint are: interactive science notebooks can aid literacy skills and can continue to engage and encourage students. Thinking about my class this past year, I had a range of writing skills. Students that could write novels to those that struggled writing a sentence. Students that had beautiful handwriting to those that I could hardly read and were constantly redoing assignments for me. I think by having an interactive science notebook it would be another great place for students to record their thinking without realizing they’re working on their writing skills. It would give me the freedom to build some writing lessons into our science time as well. We’ve spent a lot of time talking about how engagement is so important when it comes to students understanding science concepts. When hearing about how the students observing snails asked to write in their notebooks and draw pictures I was so excited to hear how engaged they were! How to cool have one more tool for teachers to use to keep students focused on their learning.
Like all ideas, there are pros and cons. I think one big pro that all educators could agree on would be the benefit of learning what our students know. Not only would we learn more about their misconceptions, but we’d be able to take that knowledge and what we know about how students learn science to make something great. A con to using interactive science notebooks would be the fact that we’re also going to have a few students view this as ‘too much work’ or it being ‘too hard’. This could depend on the age group, but would most likely give the teacher another thing to differentiate when modeling how to use an interactive notebook.
After learning more about the benefits and reading some great resources I’m rejuvenated to try out using interactive writing notebooks. I see so many pros to using them and they would help me understand not only my student science knowledge, but them as a whole!