Since Covid, a lot has changed in our classrooms. Some of those changes have been amazing and absolutely necessary, and others… eh, not so much!
Something I realized this year is that I’m allowing for WAY TOO MUCH screen time. During quarantine and remote learning, screens were the only tool we had. And admittedly, I got really dependent on it. But now that we are a few years out, I’ve decided that next year I’m really going to slow my roll when it comes to Chromebooks, and go back to some of the methods that really worked best for my kids prior to remote learning.
And thankfully, I know JUST where to start… Interactive Student Notebooks.
I’ve used ISNs for years, but since 2020, I’ve really reduced the amount of time we spend in them because digital assignments are just so easy. But seeing what this increased screen time is doing to engagement, I’m fully committed to bringing them back in all their glory for the 2023-2024 school year.
If ISNs are new to you, let me break down how we use them. Here is a timeline of how we approach a piece of literature:
1.) I introduce our story and provide any relevant background knowledge. I keep this short and sweet… about a 10-15 minute chat.
2.) The students listen to (either I read it or we listen to it on our audio anthology) or independently read our story.
1.) I introduce the skill or device we will be discussing within the context of our story and give students the literary analysis question that they will be answering. Typically, I do this by reviewing our notes from earlier in the unit (which are also in our Interactive Student Notebooks), and then reading and breaking down the question.
2.) Then students reread, using Post-Its to mark places in our story that we should go back and examine.
3.) We come back together and discuss the places where students put their Post-Its and how those spots are relevant to our question.
4.) I distribute the foldable organizer that we will be using to help us sort our thinking and find evidence that will support our answer to the literary analysis question. Students then reread again, this time focusing on the specific details necessary to complete the organizer. We do all of the work in our Interactive Student Notebook.
1.) Students participate in a Literary Analysis Station designed to zero in on our skill even more! Here they discuss and often, yes… REREAD, the text in detail.
Students answer the literary analysis question. This is just practice, so they can ask me for assistance.
We take a quiz on our story. I allow students to use the text for their quiz because it is not about how much they’ve memorized, but rather how well they can make assertions about the story and support it with evidence. So, chances are when they take this quiz they are rereading yet again.
So, that’s one piece of literature, read and reread and reread for analysis several times over a week! I can absolutely attest that most of the kids are experts on how the skills and devices we cover are exemplified in the story. And even my most struggling readers can hold their own in complex conversations regarding the story.
If you have never tried Interactive Notebooks, I urge you to give them a go! And then come back and share your experiences. I’d love to hear how it goes for you!
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