Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Interactive Notebook in the high school biology classroom

I know it's summer "vacation" but teachers never stop working or thinking about their classrooms. Every school year is a fresh start and a chance to revamp the way you have done things in the past. I love that I have that opportunity every year.

For the past couple years we have used some "Brain Breaks" interactive notebook activities that I had created. They worked really well to help the students review what they were learning in class and I've wanted to expand on that this year.

Back in the spring I came across Lee Ferguson and I was inspired by the Interactive notebooks that her AP Bio students create. I highly recommend that at some point this summer you go to her website and check it out. There are some amazing resources and ideas on her site.

Lee Ferguson interactive notebooks in AP Bio
Before you go to her site, let me show you what I have been doing.

I have a belief that as a teacher if I am going to expect my students to do something then I also need to do it. It not only helps me work out the kinks it also helps me realize what it feels like to do it, and if the students will like it or find it tedious and annoying.

Here is my current interactive notebook called "BILL" (Biology Interactive Learning Log). I got that name from Lee...how cute is that?

Here are some pictures from inside of mine:

Each unit has a tab and a graph where students can "Track your Progress" by graphing their grades on quizzes and tests in that unit.

There are Brain Breaks that we have been using over the past couple years.
You can find them here

Because Biology has a LOT of new vocabulary I have always had the students do flashcards but this summer I redesigned them to make them visually more appealing. You can find them here

"Buzzword" Flashcard Template EDITABLE!

And my latest addition...on Pinterest I saw where some really creative math teachers have been using Spiral homework that reviews old concepts and brings in new material so I've been working on those...I'm working on making one page for each week. I have several ideas for using those as homework, bellwork, and/or group work...I'm sure that a post will be coming soon about those.

Spiral Biology Practice, students glue at the top and flip up to put answers underneath.

To give you more information about what is in it...
I plan to send this in an email to all parents and students BEFORE school starts...yep, I look up all of their email addresses and contact them before the first day.

On the first couple days of school we will tape 2 composition notebooks together with packaging tape and we will set it up by numbering the pages (only put a number on the right hand page...then refer to the pages as the number Left or Right...for example: 17R, 17L) glueing the table of contents in (you'll see that these also have page numbers in the top right of each page: 2L 2R, etc)

Here are the Table of Content pages for the whole year:

I hope this post gives you ideas... let me know if you have questions and let me know if you have any ideas or if you have used interactive notebooks in your classes.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Growth Mindset Activity

This year instead of the typical "rules roundup" I plan to do something a little different on the first day of school.  We will be making some growth mindset posters for our classroom.

I often find that my students at some point in the year encounter a setback and have a tough time getting past it. Sooo...this year each class will work together to create a poster for our classroom wall showing a celebrity that has encountered setbacks and through hard work has overcome these obstacles.

I created this poster set so that all students in the class receive a part of the poster and have a part in creating the large poster.

Poster of Michael Jordan

student coloring a page

Famous Faces Poster Set Details:
• There are 6 different posters and all can be combined into one large poster. 
• There are 5 rows and 5 columns for each poster. (some are blank…check the key)
• Each poster is approx. 35” x 50” when complete. Combined as one large banner poster it is approximately 35” x 300”
• This growth mindset poster is ideal for a large bulletin board or a hallway. 
• Each growth mindset poster piece fits on a normal 8.5” x 11” piece of paper. 
• Use markers, colored pencils or crayons. 
• The colors you will need are: red, green, brown, purple, black, and blue. 

Famous Failures Growth Mindset Poster Set. This fun, collaborative activity features portraits and the struggles of 6 famous persons: Michael Jordan, Albert Einstein, Stephen King, Marilyn Monroe, Oprah Winfrey, Colonel Sanders 
(each poster contains approx. 20 pages for students to color and approx 5 blank boxes)



The final posters are a striking visual inspiration to your students and school community that everybody can overcome setbacks. 

Display the final posters in your classroom, in a hallway or some other place around school. 

All posters are easy for teachers and fun for kids and make a lasting impression--on students, parents and your entire school community! Large and visually striking, this poster is the perfect accompaniment to your growth mindset lessons and makes for a great display in the front office, the auditorium, a hallway, or your classroom. No matter where it ends up hanging, it will engender unending compliments while proving a source of inspiration!

The collaboration of this growth mindset poster makes such an impact without really having to say anything - every single piece of the poster matters - just as every child in the class matters. Your students will walk by and say "I did that piece" each time they see the poster. They take great pride in being part of this art project. 

Differentiation is built into the design of this growth mindset activity. Some pages have more to color than others so some kids will easily be able to color two pages. There are large sections behind the quotes that get left white. Other pages have a lot of little details to color. You can use this to differentiate and provide the appropriate experience for each child to achieve success and be part of the group. This poster makes a great lesson all in of itself or can be used for early finishers and morning work.

This poster set is available at this link.