Friday, April 24, 2015

German INBs

The end of the school year seems like a good time to reflect on things I did this year that worked and things that didn't... and make plans for next year.
I absolutely love some of the interactive notebooks I've seen other teachers create with their classes.  Last year I tested the waters a bit by making some foldables with my students, which went well.  

I had students glue or tape the foldables into their German binders, which also contained notes, vocabulary, and homework.  It was a good system but used a lot of paper, and binders are pretty bulky.

This year I decided to jump in with both feet and make the switch from binders to composition books.  Some of my students never got around to putting pages in their binder rings, and I do a lot of guided notes, so I thought having students glue pages into composition notebooks would solve this problem and use less paper.

When I say I jumped in with both feet, I probably should say I dove in headfirst into deep water because the plan was for students to have two notebooks, one for notes and homework and one for vocabulary, and EVERYTHING would go in to those two notebooks.

It did not go well.

I don't think the ideas were bad, but it was just way too much to implement all at once.  Here's how the notes looked.  

I definitely underestimated the amount of time it would take me to reformat everything I had created last year to a new size.  Plus, I started teaching German 3 for the first time this year, so I had a lot of prep to do for that as well.  

The vocabulary notebooks were good, but students were always asking which notebook to put which things in, which drove me batty.

Trying to put homework in the composition books was just too much gluing.

After a few weeks, I threw in the towel and went back to binders.  It went much better.

Students have sections in their binder for notes, vocabulary, and homework, but it's all in one binder.  

The lesson I learned was an essential one, especially for beginning teachers: Don't try to do everything all at once.  Baby steps.    
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