Do you use interactive notebooks in you Spanish classes? If you’re not familiar with interactive notebooks, I suggest you check out this post for info on the basics. If you’d like some tips to get started, you can check out this post on essentials for interactive notebooks.
I developed a love for teaching with interactive notebooks several years back. While many teachers share that same love, there are those who consider them “a waste of time”. I have had email and in person conversations with other Spanish teachers who have kindly told me that teaching with interactive notebooks is a not a good use of time and that students should not be spending precious time in Spanish class cutting and coloring. Is this a valid point? Absolutely! However, could it be worth it to spend a bit more time incorporating these hands-on notes and activities in order to provide a more engaging learning experience for students? Absolutely! Now, the purpose of this post is not to convince you to use or not to use INBs. As a disclaimer, if you are using interactive notebooks, I firmly believe that this should be ONE part of your class and not the whole class, which is why it is so important to reserve as many minutes as possible to incorporate other learning experiences for our students. With that being said, check out these time saving tips for Spanish interactive notebooks.
1. Establish a Routine
Just like anything else in your class, INBs have to have a routine or it can become chaotic quickly. Think about how this looks in your class. What are the procedures for gathering notebooks, materials, and adding inserts to notebooks? Taking the time to establish these routines definitely pays off and saves time in the long run. Cherin at This Teachers Sweats Glitter talks about her routine for INBs here and then shows her set up using different bins here. I love the labeled bins so that groups know what they need to get quickly without waiting around for materials to be handed out.
2. Model Assembly for Students
This may seem like it a time suck, but, trust me, when you have students that are asking to start over because they “messed up”, it’s a time (and paper) saver in the long run. I always choose one student and use their handouts as the class example and cut and fold in front of the class. This also demonstrates to the class that cutting and folding can be done quickly and efficiently.
3. Give Time Limits
As with anything else in the classroom, you will have students who will take absolutely AS LONG AS POSSIBLE to create their interactive notebook inserts. I avoid this by giving set time limits. Students are given a reasonable time limit to cut, fold, and attach a template to their notebooks. When the time is up, we move on to adding information. Students that are not finished with the assembly process, then have to finish for homework. This is enforced by projecting a countdown timer on the board.
4. Use Simple Templates.
When I first started interactive notebooks, I didn’t have a clue about how the templates I selected could affect the time involved. While it’s fun to sometimes use flower and circular templates (I definitely still do!), these take more time to prepare as the cutting is not as simple. Foldable templates that use straight lines are easier and less time consuming for students to cut.
5. Prepare Templates Ahead of Time
Another tip to avoid using class time for notebook preparation is to have students prepare templates in advance. Students can prepare their templates the night before for homework and then bring them to class ready to add the information. Additionally, if you have a student assistant that needs some extra work, this could be delegated to your assistant as well.
6. Add Color Last/Use Colored Paper
While some students love adding color and some don’t, my rule regardless is that color is added to notebook or templates LAST. This ensures that you save some time there and gives students the options for adding color when other activities are completed or at home. Another option is to print templates on colored paper if available. This adds some automatic color with little effort involved.
What about you? I’d love to hear your time saving tips for interactive notebooks!