Sunday, December 21, 2014

Using Interactive Journals

I recently read a post on Facebook about what and how do you use interactive journals or if they were just a waste of time in a kindergarten classroom? In a previews post, I talk about how to make an interactive journal for kindergartners, you can click here to read that post. So what are they and how do they work? These are my thoughts, opinions, and reasons,



First of all the main purpose/reason I use interactive journals in kindergarten is to help my students practice, review, and remember concepts and skills we are learning about. This is the primary reason I divide a notebook into sections and color code each section to make students aware of their learning. This makes it easier for students to use, understand, and engage in their learning or "I can statements..." These statements are aligned to common core standards. For example the ELA notebook sections range from foundational skills to writing, and language standards. Then within that section they do and complete activities aligned to that specific set of standards.
At the very beginning of the year students and parents together make one for Language Arts and one for Math. They personalize it, then I have parents "explain" to their child what each notebook is for (after I explain to the parents, what I'm explaining to you in this post.) When we actually start using them, I ask my students, "do you remember the notebooks you made with your mommy or daddy? Guess what! We get to use them today!"
I explain which one they will use and why they are using that one. We end up calling them our "handy dandy notebooks." I also do this to teach kids organizations skills and also to differentiate for math and reading. I want them to know and understand when we are learning about math concepts or reading concepts; my reasoning for not using just one for everything. I purposely have parents help set them up because it is also an opportunity for parents to be informed about the standards and skills that students need to master by the end of the kindergarten.
  Our activities range from cutting, pasting, matching to writing, synthesizing, and creating. The possibilities are endless. I want to enable students to use them "interactively" meaning if they can go back and reuse them to help them with another assignment they can! At other times, it's just simply amazing when they flip through their pages and they began to talk about a previous activity and what it "means" or what it was "for." Hearing students take ownership or be engaged in any activity is every teachers dream come true!
         




Above all, my favorite use for them... they are an easy tool for formative assessments and to show parents their child's progress through out the year! They are so "interactive" my kids love them and so do I. Interestingly enough as write this post I found this research based supporting article on the use of interactive journals in the classroom! Still curious and not sure about interactive journals? Read along some more.
http://www.ozark.k12.mo.us/cms/lib07/MO01910080/Centricity/Domain/559/Interactive%20Notebooks%20Research.pdf

Supports my own theory, reason, and purpose on how and why to use them and how to set them up!

6 comments:

  1. Are the activities you use for your journals on your tpt page?

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    1. Hi Amanda, I just saw this :( sorry for the delayed response! The rhyming den is part of my NM Black Bear unit on TPT and the journal template covers are also on there!

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  2. I love that you have parents help introduce them! It definitely gets them more involved.
    Natalie
    Collaborating in Kinder

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    1. Hi Natalie, It does involve the parents, it is also eye opening for them when they learn all about the standards and expectations! Great way to expose parents to standards based learning.

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  3. Love this post! I like how you send the notebooks home for parents to help. Can you tell me what you have them do at home?

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    1. Hi Abigail, when they do take them home, it is for parent involvement purposes and an opportunity to either "show off" what they are learning about or practice and reinforce a skill a child maybe struggling with. Parent's appreciate it, keeps them in the loop!

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