Jill Weber, 2016 Gilder Lehrman Kansas History Teacher of the Year, has joined the Doing Social Studies writing team and will be posting throughout the year. The following is a cross-post from her excellent site A View of the Web.
I used Interactive Notebooks in my social studies class for eight years. The majority of the students loved them. But I had a serious love/hate relationship with them. And after taking a long look at the pros and cons of the books and my current curriculum, I decided not to continue with the interactive notebooks last year.
While I found it a relief not having to keep up with the grading of 60+ notebooks, there was something missing from my class. I had a number of kids ask me why we weren’t doing them anymore, and others who were disappointed that the “hands on” cutting, pasting, and creativity was replaced with more writing assignments. I felt guilty that my answer was “because I just couldn’t keep up with all the grading.”
That got me thinking on ways that I could bring the interactive notebooks idea back without having all the copious grading that went with it. I talked with our language arts teacher, who uses her interactive notebooks as a tool to help organize materials and doesn’t grade it at all. I liked that idea.
But I wanted more. I wanted a way to hold kids accountable. I wanted them to take pride in the organization and appearance of the book. And, most of all, I wanted it to be used as something more than a storage device. I want it to be something they will reference throughout the year.
Then an idea started to take form. An idea to use the notebook more like a detective’s note book when trying to solve a crime.
So this year, we have: the Historian In Training Notebook or HIT books. (HIT is a cool name for a middle school activity, right? )
The HIT notebook will be designed as sort of a history detective notebook that we’ll use to identify historical thinking techniques, analyze primary sources, keep information over specific historical questions, and refer back to skills learned throughout the year.
A few examples of possible pages . . . Continue reading H.I.T. Notebooks: A Different take on Interactive Notebooks