As the teacher, you can't control the content you teach, but you can control how you teach the content.
I feel like the second part gets lost with many people. The ISN allows for the teacher to 'control the way you teach' in ways that can be considered beneficial to your students.
So, how does this little thing work? It's up to you on how you make it work, but the idea behind is it that the students get a place in their books to explore the content. It's also VERY, VERY, VERY organized. I am not the most organized person, but when I learned about this, it was like the clouds parted in the sky and that bright light came through. I seriously thought, "Krystina, this is what you need." It totally was and still is.
The kids, you know the ones that are like, "Oh, that paper, yeah, I don't where it is. Do you have another one?" or the ever popular, "It's in my locker, I think," won't misplace their work. That right there should get ANY teacher giddy with excitement! If you really think about it, sometimes as teachers (and let me state not all teachers) write kids off as not being able to pass because they are lazy or they just aren't trying enough. Anyone ever take into consideration they just might be a kids and some can be more disorganized compared to others. I see it too often and it bothers me because maybe it's not that they aren't trying, but even in 8th grade, they haven't mastered the organization yet. It happens - especially when no one teaches them how to organize. We should NOT assume they know how. We can't write them off and tell them that 'they'll have to do this next year in high school' (I HATE IT WHEN I HEAR THAT FROM TEACHERS). The ISN helps tremendously content wise but more important with their organization.
I'm going to go through and show you my set up for the first part of the ISN. You can change things according to what will work for your class :)
1) Yesterday I showed you an author's page. That's just one way you can learn about the author of that particular ISN. I love to see what the kids bring in because there are times where they draw, write, or even bring in pictures of themselves and their families. It's fun to learn a little bit about themselves.
Here's just an example of one:
|She wrote poems and words to describe herself|
Each day the kids look at the Do Now and for the most part, it's to set up their ISN or do something within the ISN. I'll post what the Do Now looks like in my classroom at a later date.
How does the TOC look?
- Title - The exact title of the specific page
- Page # - Important that the kids put it there this way they know where to look
- Optional - Date - some kids like to put the date in the margin this way they know when they put that page in their ISN
|These are two pages of the TOC for the Astronomy Unit|
4) Words Worth Knowing or the WWK - This might be one of my favorite part of the ISN. You don't think about it, but science (as well as ALL other subjects) is filled with vocabulary that the students may or may not know. From my experience, science has some pretty nasty words that are super difficult to say and have super long definitions. They need a place to write this down. Seriously, however many times you may say the definition in class, there are going to be kids that still won't get it. The WWK gives them the opportunity to look up the words when asked. This little reference area is critical. Also does wonders for ELL students as well (more on that another time).
Over the years, I have changed the amount of pages that I've set aside for the WWK. For me, I've begun to set aside about 6 pages for most units. This allows all students with small print and large print to have enough space. Again, having paper ready to be attached when they do run out of space is always a good thing - saves you both time. Below is an example:
|First page of the student's WWK for the Astronomy Unit|
This is only the beginning. Yes, it's a lot to take in, and a lot of class time at FIRST, but if you are doing this for the very first time, over time it will become second nature for everyone in class.