According to the State School Report Card, only 13.3% of 9th Graders at my school entered as proficient and 56.1% are economically disadvantaged. Many come from single-parent homes or live with relatives or friends. Despite many challenges, 86% of my students were proficient on the state final exam this year, including several with learning disabilities and many who speak English as a second language.
When they have all the resources they need, my students meet and exceed academic growth every year.
In our project photo, you can see some of what they have shared that makes them proud of our school community. They inspire me on a daily basis!
After much trial-and-error, I have found that my students are much, much more likely to maintain and use an interactive notebook than any other classroom organizational or study tool. Three-ring binders, folders, 5-subject notebooks... nothing I have used in the past 8 semesters has been least likely to go missing or neglected than using marble composition notebooks for students to make interactive notebooks.
Interactive notebooks allow for my students to take Cornell-style notes, to create 3-D color foldable pages to study, to glue in and annotate primary and secondary source readings, to design full-page illustrated reviews of key concepts, to practice unit vocabulary terms, to sketch and color timelines, events, and historical people --just about everything we do throughout the semester has a place in their interactive notebooks.
At the end of the class, their interactive notebooks are their #1 study tool for their state final exam. Many of my students, especially those with learning disabilities, have difficulties with traditional, linear note-taking and study strategies, but using interactive notebooks has been a game-changer. And because we use marble composition notebooks, everything stays in order with no loose pages going astray. The use of color through highlighters, colored pencils, and color paper transforms their notebooks into eye-catching, brain-stimulating, engaging material that they have curated themselves.
The materials in this project are the essentials for interactive notebooks that are effective and productive, and that students will use!
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