Vocabulary and the Interactive Student Notebook

It’s official: I’ll be using Interactive Student Notebooks (ISNs) next year. I’ve heard about ISNs through AVID for years, but I’ve never been brave enough to try using them with my students. It seems as if ISNs would completely change my daily routines, which is fine, but I’ve always been unwilling to put forth the time, energy, and resources necessary to implement those changes. I’m excited to try them next year though, mostly because I’ll be teaching freshmen for the first time so I need to adjust my practice anyway.

I stumbled across the ISN idea on Pinterest a few days ago. Since I have been trying to figure out how to teach Greek and Latin root words next year in order to address the ELA CCSS L.3 and L.6, I was drawn to a pin titled Greek and Latin Root Words for Interactive Notebooks. It was a link to Teachers Pay Teachers, which I’ve used only once before.

The bundle included forty-five root words with corresponding terms on cute black and white images screaming to be colored. I paid $12.50 for the 200 + page document (totally worth it), and my mind has been racing with ideas ever since:

Wow! These are great! How can I fit all forty-five root words and the corresponding terms into just one year? 

Divide the roots into five five-week-long units with nine root words per unit.

Okay, so should I have just a few root words per quiz, or what? 

No, quiz the kids on the corresponding terms every week. That way, they’ll be exposed to each root word five times through five different words, which will also give them five opportunities to demonstrate mastery of the roots. 

Bam! Alright, so how does this tie into the interactive notebook idea? The cute pictures are too big and time consuming to include in every unit. 

Cut them out, color them, and hang them on the windows or the wall. Create a new foldable for each unit so there are only five total vocabulary foldables throughout the year.

Ooh! Okay, I know how to do this…

ISN Vocab Root Word Foldable

I created this foldable in about three minutes. I added the words and pictures in another five.

It’s great because the flaps allow for easy studying, and the pictures inside the flaps help the kids to process the information and make connections. The kids can even color code their flaps if they wish!

There is space around the foldable as well, so the kids can add words to the margins.

I did this on plain printer paper, but I’ll print on cardstock for the kids because these flaps are see through. Not very useful for quizzing yourself!

Once I created the root word foldable, I realized the kids will also need a study guide for their weekly terms. To create this, I simply modified the vocabulary study guides I used this year, and I turned them into a foldable in order to make a tactile study guide:

ISN Vocab Study Guide Folded

ISN Vocab Weekly Study Guide

Earlier this year, while reading Vocabulary for the Common Core by Robert J. Marzano and Julia A. Simms, I was intrigued by the idea of having students track their vocabulary progress. They suggested having the students use a data table to increase their own awareness of their learning. The Marzano data table is below:

Marzano and Simms Vocabulary Tracking Chart

I like components of this chart, but I feel as if lacks some important information, like actual data from vocabulary quizzes. I thought it would be helpful to have the students chart their comfort level for each root word, then compare that to the results of their vocabulary quizzes. The resulting table is below:

ISN Vocab Data Sheets

How will this all go into the interactive notebook? Easy!

At the beginning of each unit, the students will receive a new list of words and a new data chart. They will fill out the comfort level side of the chart before the mini-lesson.

I will then give a mini-lesson on the definitions of each root word, and the first group of corresponding terms.

Afterwards, the students will create the root word foldable and receive their first study guide. Every week after that, I will give them another study guide and review the root words and corresponding terms.

The students will fill out the comfort level tracking table again after the third and last quiz. Then, they will take their Vocabulary Unit Test and record the score. Hopefully, their grade on the test will correspond with the data on each chart!

At this point, it is all theory. I’m not sure what will and won’t work, and I can easily see myself forgetting to do the data tables or prioritizing other things instead. Also, I’ll have to design the quizzes to be easy to analyze so the students can see clearly which terms they did and didn’t understand.

It’s a work in progress!

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