When a colleague told me we should try interactive notebooks in math, we agreed and then went on our merry ways and did math the same old way for another year, so at the end of that school year, she approached us again and DEMANDED we buy this Interactive Math Journal by Jen Runde. We took a look, bought it and then went on summer vacation. Near the end of the summer I opened it up and it CHANGED MY WORLD. I will never teach math the same way again. That being said, there are a few things I learned and will change for the upcoming year to get the most of math journals.
Interactive math notebooks are an investment, but like all good investments they take time to show a good return. Patience is the key! They take time, but they result in deeper understanding, so here are some things you need to consider before starting your interactive math notebook journey.
Of course you want your students to have a great selection of books for reading throughout the year, but most schools do not pay for classroom libraries. How on earth are new teachers (and even the more experienced ones) expected to have a quality selection of classroom library books?
Here’s some ways to get your hands on some books: Continue Reading
Do you have boundaries when it comes to your personal time? Do you have a hard time saying no? Do you always find people add to your to-do list because you’re just so darn good at everything? This was us, but we managed to start carving out time by doing a few simple things. Continue Reading
Let’s be honest. Teaching lands somewhere between collecting and hoarding. Mr. Ninja once had to bring a giant rock on a 1400 km trip because there was a possibility it might come in handy for a science lesson. It’s lived in our garden for twelve years. So why do we do it?
Well, a big part of it is money. If we can get something for free, we’ll take it. We all know our classrooms are underfunded and so when interesting items come along (whether we actually need them or not) we tend to take them. What is wrong with us? Continue Reading
How do we create a classroom community where all students feel they are equal and belong? It turns out we’ve had more combined grade classes that straight grade classes since we began teaching, so we can’t imagine teaching any other way. First of all, we call it a combined class rather than a split class. It’s the first thing we do with parents because our combined classes are not like the old ‘split’ classes.
When students come into our classroom on the first day of school they immediately collect into two different groups-the lower grade and the upper grade. They don’t know each other well and like to sit with their friends. We don’t give students a seating plan right away (or sometimes at all) so we can see which relationships form or are already in place, but then we slowly start changing their mindset about the combined class.
So, what are our secrets?
The ninjas are always thinking of new things to create and spending lots of time working on ideas and resources at home (yes, we know, after a full day of work we should be unplugging but we just can’t help it). One ninja has taken over the dining room table to work while the other has been struggling with setting up good office Continue Reading