It’s been a few years since interactive notebooks exploded in the teaching world. They are amazing and fun but incredibly time consuming. Today I’m sharing how I made my sight word interactive notebook work in less time than traditional interactive notebooks.
Depending on the grade level you teach (and if you’re here I’m assuming you are an elementary teacher), then you will want to look for a sight word interactive notebook that requires less cutting.
In my experience the more a student has to cut out the longer it will take them. Especially students who struggle still with scissor skills. Many interactive notebooks tend to have a lot of different parts to cut, glue, and fold to make them look cute. These types of notebooks don’t tend to be very functional for our younger students.
I’m all about saving time in my classroom so I can maximize instruction and small group times. By creating my own sight word interactive notebooks I was able to do just that when I designed pages with less cutting. First most pages require one cut down the middle as there are two days on each page. As a teacher you could easily do that for your students if you wanted with the paper cutter in your copy area.
Most pages require no cutting beyond cutting down the middle to have a half-page sheet of paper. A few of the days only need a few straight lines cut to create flaps. The hardest page comes every other week (if doing a page a day) and requires students to make a small pocket.
Speaking of the same page every other week, the next element you’ll want to look for in a sight word interactive notebook is for it to have some repetitive activities. Now too much repetition and you might have bored students. It’s important to find the right balance.
I personally find the interactive notebooks that have different activities on almost every page to be a lot. Most of my time is spent instructing students on how to cut and complete the page, rather than them focusing on practicing the skill intended.
Lower elementary students especially should be given repetitive activities but you also don’t want the same activity every day. Providing variety but also some consistency in activities is key in saving class time putting together their sight word interactive notebook.
My sight word preprimer interactive notebook for example, has 14 different activities in the 24 pages or 48 days of activities if completing one half-page a day as intended. This means students become familiar with the style of activities and do not need to be taught how to complete them. Many of the activities are common word work center activities most students are used to and can complete independently.
All of this means you spend less time showing students how to cut, glue, and complete pages and students can focus on practicing the words.
Some Variety, But Not Too Much
My next tip for choosing a good sight word interactive notebook is to look for some variety but not new activities every day. While you want to keep your students from boredom, having too much variety can cause confusion and chaos.
When students aren’t sure what to do, your classroom behaviors can start breaking down and students will not be doing what you want them to be doing. However when they know exactly what to do and can complete the work independently it frees you up to concentrate on your small group instruction.
Substance Over Cutesy
Lastly you will want to look for an interactive notebook that focuses more on practice rather than being cutesy. Students don’t seem to care for cutesy as much as teachers do and those types of activities tend to be complicated or hard for students to complete.
Look at sight word interactive notebooks that do not have a lot of small pieces or complicated items to cut out. Younger learners can have trouble with scissor skills and folding. Finding notebooks that require less of this means more time for your classroom instruction and independent practice.
There’s nothing worse than planning what should be a fun and worthwhile independent activity and then finding out it’s too hard for students to work on.