Search Results for: label/science notebook

The Scary, Scary Output of Science Notebooks: Advice for Teachers

I get loads of questions about the Output aspect of notebooking.   {Learn more about what Output is.} If you read no further, read this:

Be flexible.
Allowing time for student output is a crucial part of science mini-lesson with notebooks.  Here is some advice I have about Output.
  • You don’t have to make your students say, “I’m going to choose Acrostic for today’s output.”
  • Teach them the different options for a few weeks, then set them free.
  • Model output at first.
  • Show examples of what other students are doing.  Those ideas will stay in their heads and you will see creativity increase over time.
  • Provide specific verbal feedback as you walk around.
  • Many students will do a combination of things.  Maybe they draw and write.  Go with it!
  • Meet with students during your 10-minute Output time to check for understanding.
  • The easiest Output to start with is providing a sentence stem.
  • Drawing and doing a Quick Write about what they learned was the most popular “I Learned” page for my students.
  • You may want to encourage individual students to mix it up a bit, but forcing an Output on students doesn’t end well.
  • Remember this is their time to CHOOSE how to process and apply new learning.
  • Be flexible!
Output Idea Examples
Four different students will have four different ideas about how to process their learning.  Output is automatic differentiation!  If the students just learned about how sedimentary rock is formed, here are four ways they might process it in their Output.

Starting with Interactive Science Notebooks

Hey y’all!  I get lots of questions about starting notebooks.  Since I’m sitting at home trying to recover my wisdom teeth removal, I decided to take some pics and give you a few more ideas.

The cover can be set up any way you like…it can be just a label or students can decorate the front with magazines pics and stuff.  On the first THREE pages, we have a Table of Contents.  I never want to run out of Table of Contents space.  Never!
On the inside front cover, I have Big Money Word$ so my students have access to those great scientific words to include in their writing.  Learn more about Big Money Word$ and grab a freebie for your notebooks.

On the back inside cover, I include the rubric.  It’s a very basic rubric to score entries or sets of entries for a given period of time (if you collect notebooks every 3 weeks for a grade or whatever).  The scores are from a 0-4.

A lot of teachers use the left side/ right side style for interactive notebooks as shown below.  The right side is for teacher input.  The left side is for student output.  Learn more about Output Ideas.

The way I showed you above just does not work for my brain.  So, I use the style shown below.  We put all of our input on the page (or two or three or four…), then we write our output within the same entry after finishing Input.  I honestly feel either method is okay as long as you are encouraging student output.

Be sure to follow and check back for more science notebook ideas.  I have more posts coming soon as a response to questions I get, including what exactly to do in the notebooks. :)

You can find science notebook materials in my TpT Store.

Click the pic to learn more about Science Notebooks!


Input…Output for your Science Notebooks

While hands-on experiences in science are certainly important, we as teachers must remember to provide our students with time to reflect on their experiences.

I’ve posted before about science journaling {see my posts}, but I have been reflecting on my teaching and want to improve the type of output ideas my students form.  Input consists of notes, foldables, data from experiments, and observations during an investigation.

When starting out with science notebook output ideas, I think it’s important to teach the different options to your students. This could take many weeks to teach all of the possibilities.  After each lab activity, you can take 10 minutes to model a strategy, then allow your students to try the strategy in their notebooks.  Before you know it, they will be able to choose these on their own!
Because I’m in a new grade level this year, I got a little behind in teaching output ideas, so I’m still working my way through them with my class.  Here are my suggestions for starting out with output ideas in your journal. although you can certainly go in any order you feel comfortable.

Eventually, students will be able to choose the appropriate output ideas that work for them after completing an activity.  It’s easy to rush to clean up a science experiment and move on, but please remember that students need time to reflect on the activity.

So Many Blog Series Posts

I’m really into writing blog series these days instead of just one measly post about something.  In order to keep those organized here are the links and types of series posts I have.

Time to Teach
Time to Teach is topic-based and written regularly with great teaching and activity ideas.  These posts include video links, product links, anchor chart ideas, and activities for the given science topic.

Science Solutions
The Science Solutions series provides solutions to common problems in a science classroom.  Examples:

  • incorporating daily review
  • encouraging teamwork
  • students tracking data
  • making small groups
  • Science Activity Time reward system
  • assessment
  • reinforcing content vocabulary
  • what to do when you don’t have much time for science
  • IEP accommodations

Classroom Management Solutions

The Classroom Management Solutions series focuses on easy solutions to problems I had as a new teacher.

Science Penguin’s Science Plans
The Science Plans series has my weekly plans for the 2013-2014 school year.

New Year, New Notebook
The New Year, New Notebook blog series has photos of notebook entries for each unit that I normally teach!


Science Solutions {Making Small Groups}

In my Science Solutions series, I answer common questions I get from teachers.

I get a lot of questions about how I make my small groups and station groups.  It is easy and isn’t easy all at the same time.  Once you’ve done it a few times, it goes pretty quickly.  I’m going to run through how I group my students when working with NEW content (not reviewing previously learned material…that’s a whole different animal).

I use three things in deciding who will be in a small group with me:
1. Quick Quizzes
2. Notebook Reflections
3. Weekly Quiz Data

A quick quiz is great after teaching new material.  We do a lot of Numbered Heads Together and group work, but I need to know which individuals understand.

One or two questions where the  students must explain their thinking gives you a lot of insight as to who “gets it”.

Some kids can fake their way through a lesson and don’t really understand the key concepts.  Some kids are hard to read, but really bring it when a question is put in front of them.  Some kids may still be clinging to misconceptions for dear life.  This is a quick way to get an idea of who understands and who doesn’t understand.

This is not a grade and students know that I just use it to see who needs help.  If they really don’t know, they are allowed to write, “I need help!”  They MUST explain their answers.  It takes about 3-5 minutes depending on whether I give 1 or 2 questions.

Then, it’s time for me to take notes.  In the example below, I wrote the initial of each homeroom teacher at the top of the page.  I put #1, #2, and both.  I simply listed the kids’ names below the questions they missed.

The next day when we reviewed, I knew who I needed to check in with and chat with in a small group for even just 5 minutes.  I knew who I needed to walk by more times to stare at their notebook inconspicuously.  :)

It’s been a goal to give students more time to reflect in their notebooks after an activity or lab.  Ten minutes of “I learned” time has become a habit in my classroom pretty quickly.  They can do anything they want to show what they learned.  This is an excellent chance for me to make one minute visits with individuals to check for understanding.  I just kneel down next to them at their table and ask them to tell me what they learned.  They can show me their illustration, read a sentence they wrote, or just talk to me.  It’s low pressure.  Love it.

Weekly Quiz data is another way I form groups.  I always meet with students who score below an 80.      Students are working on recording their quiz data.

I gave Quiz #9 on Day 5 out of 12.  It’s a 10 question quiz they take weekly.  It’s difficult.
Quiz #1 mainly addressed predicting lunar cycles and comparing and contrasting the sun, Earth, and moon.  On Day 9, I planned a Small Group/Stations Day.  Students who were unsuccessful on Quiz #1 are on my watch list since Quiz #10 is going to test similar concepts.

Then, I make a plan.  Yes, all of this goes into planning for two days of review and reteach.  I may have a problem.  It does become second nature after a few times.

The plan in the image below is for Day 9.  I will use data from both weekly quizzes to determine who I will meet with on Day 10 and 11 for review.

Clear as mud?  Ask away on Facebook and talk to other teachers!