Hey y’all! It’s the first Thursday of the month, so you know what that means!
Thursday Throw Down is THE place to learn about different ways to make learning interactive!
This week I want to answer one of the most frequently asked questions I receive in regards to interactive notebooks: How can you take the next step and think “outside of the book?”
Here’s a simple example of how I’m using interactive notebooks with my 8th graders to break down and analyze several different literary devices and examples of figurative language found in the literary masterpiece that we are studying, The Wednesday Wars. (You can read more about my novel study on this book here.)
As we read each chapter, I’m guiding my students to find these concepts that I’m focusing on with this novel. As we come across them, my students “annotate” using sticky notes on the pages and we keep going. Then, we can go back and review the chapter and those concepts again as my students file the sticky notes under the tabs in the notebook foldable.
Because this interactive notebook page is a double spread and will get lots of mileage, I have my students reinforce each side of the notebook page. I’ll have them glue two pages in the notebook together (no more then 5-6 baby dots of glue!) and then glue the next two pages together. This will give the notebook pages a little more sturdiness since we’ll be using and referring back to these pages throughout the next month or so.
These are a few of the more complex concepts I teach my 8th grade literature students. When my 6th graders read The Sign of the Beaver next month, they’ll do a similar page but with only 4 items instead of 8. We’ll be looking for story devices: foreshadowing, suspense, cliffhanger, and flashback.
You can download the interactive notebook templates filled in to use with The Wednesday Wars by clicking the pictures below. It’s a free download through Google Docs.
If you want to do something a little different with the template, you can download the blank version by clicking below.
Free Nonfiction Text Resources!
Are you looking for more quality nonfiction text resources to supplement your reading lessons? I’m constantly looking to pull in something nonfiction that relates to literature that I’m teaching. You can find an awesome blog post that includes several websites for obtaining free nonfiction text articles here:
Awesome, right? BUT that’s still not the best thing I’ve got to share with you!
Here it comes… FREE access to a huge treasure trove of nonfiction text articles written by the Associated Press and “translated” into 12 different reading levels… WHAT! Yu huh! It’s true!
You can print out an article at the 10th grade level for your higher independent readers to challenge them, print it out on a 5th grade level for some of your lower readers, and then everyone is reading the same article and can have the same discussion! SERIOUSLY! If your socks aren’t shakin’ with THAT news then you might want to get your pulse checked.
Here’s how to gain access to those articles.
Go to www.achieve3000.com – this is a paid website that requires a username and password. If you were to subscribe, your students would access this website and you could assign them articles to read electronically and all kinds of really neat stuff. BUT, as a teacher, you can simply access all of those articles for free! Login to this website with the following credentials (capitalization DOES matter here):
Once you’re “in,” it defaults to a sixth grade reading level. You should see “Level 6” along the top. Click “Search” along the top blue bars and type in a topic. For example, if you search for “Mars,” several articles will come up in your search results. Click on one and scroll through it. Then, back up at the top of the blue bar, click on Level and change it to 2. You now have the same article with the same basic information written at a 2nd grade level. Of course, it’s shorter and includes fewer details and less text complexity. Wowza, right!
By now you’re probably wanting to be left alone with that website, so I’ll leave you to it. Grab a snack and hunker down. When you’re done, be sure to come back and link up your blog post about making learning interactive for your students! Please, no direct product links.
Don’t forget to be a good dance partner and throw down some love (and a comment or two!) to these bloggers who have linked up! Yee haw!