Kindergarten Interactive Notebooks - Down River Resources

Kindergarten Interactive Notebooks

Howdy, friends!

I am so glad that you could join me for another trip "Down River!" I have been using math and science notebooks in my classroom. First, this began as a school-wide initiative, but then, became a passion of mine. I have muddled through the water with them each year, but have improved the process each time.

In second and fifth grades, students are more independent and can manage folds and flaps AND flaps and folds with great ease...but, in kindergarten...this can be a bit more difficult. Then, add a teacher who wants everything to be perfect (haha) to the mix and you've got trouble!

Most years, I would use handouts/worksheets and shrink them down on the copier so they would fit nicely (in early elementary classrooms). In fifth grade, the students created all of the pages in their notebooks from the foldables to the data tables they'd draw. I realized that most things in this world are NOT TEKS-aligned (hence, Kindergarten Down River was born), so I began creating my own things that were.

Over the past year, I have found a way that my kindergarteners get to experience a notebook with minimal hassle on all parties. I have inserts for all of the pages of the notebook, as the pages are not conducive for kindergarten writing. I do not forget about the folds and flaps, they just do not happen every day. I integrate them into units and help students with the cutting and preparing, but the students write their own words and draw pictures on the advanced graphic organizers. They are still some of the favorite things the students do in my kindergarten classroom. Keeping this in mind, I still needed a kinder-friendly way for notebooking. I am laying out some tips that I have for notebooks and their formatting:

Tip 1: I format all of my inserts for student notebooks on an 8x11 landscape page that is split in the middle. The left page of their paper goes on the left side of their notebook. The right side of their paper goes on the right side of their notebook. There is even a line that separates the two sides. This can be on Microsoft Word using the Columns button and creating two columns, however the text shifts around. A much easier way is by creating documents through Microsoft PowerPoint in which you would insert two textboxes.

Kindergarten Math Notebook

Tip 2: Have the students complete the notebook page first and then glue into their notebooks. Kindergartens LOVE glue. Me, not so much. From students' hair to the back of the chair, it drives me crazy! By having the students glue last, they are able to write and color without any trouble. Often times, too much glue is used and it gets squishy when they try to write with gluing spewing out from all ends!

BONUS TIP 2.2: School glue (liquid) keeps the pages bonded longer than glue sticks, but on the other hand, are more messy. I use school glue (cringing).

Tip 3: Notebooks do not need to be everyday. I use notebooks when introducing a new concept. I usually introduce new concepts on Mondays. First, I engage my students in the concept while activating their prior knowledge. After we explore the concept, I have the students get out their notebooks. It is after they have some concrete experience with the concept that they begin their work in their notebooks. I DO NOT USE THEM AS A PRECURSOR TO TEACHING.

BONUS TIP 3.2: If you store the notebooks in a basket grouped by tables, they are much easier to access when you are ready for them!

Tip 4: Always have a teacher model. Get a student notebook for yourself. Glue the pages in the order, just like your students. As you model the section on the document camera or on the easel, they see what the notebook looks like and what is your expectation of it. My notebooks are setup in the WE DO, I DO model. The right side of the notebook is done together as a class: WE DO. I model the page while the students are following along in their notebook. WE think aloud and talk through it together.

Then, since the students have seen the WE DO, they are sent off to complete the left side of their notebooks independently at their desks/tables: I DO. This is where I can see if they are understanding a concept or what they are struggling to understand. THE NOTEBOOK BECOMES A FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT--but it must be checked to be used as such!

BONUS TIP 4.2: Have students keep their notebooks open to their last entry before they transition to P.E. or some other break time where you can allocate time to review them. Set-up a system, such as a star in the corner or a sticker, so you and the student know that their notebooks have been checked. This is an original record of their work and are great to show at parent-teacher conferences.

I hope that these four tips (with three bonus tips at no extra charge) help you this school year. Keep your chin up and your glue cap on!

Happy Notebooking!


Oh, I almost forgot, the bundle that I will be using in three weeks to start my class on their math notebook is now available on the resource store: Kindergarten Down River.

Kindergarten NEW Math TEKS Notebook Bundle

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