Let me caution you - This is only my 2nd year using them. I decided to "give it one more go" before I pass judgement on the idea as a whole. Last year, I used them often in the first semester, but they somewhat "fizzled" out in the second - I even decided to keep my 5th graders notebooks and recycle them for third this year.
Pros - I like the idea of having a place for students to log what they've learned, reflect on what they've heard, and post assignments and compositions, not to mention something they can take with them when they go on to middle school. The students have been positive about using the notebooks and seem to enjoy them.
Cons - I do not like the 1) time it takes to use the notebooks and, honestly, the 2) time it takes for me to create things to go inside the notebooks (Have you seen your average 3rd grader make a foldable? Eeek), 3) the cost (or acquisition) of materials (makers, pens, glue, paper, and the notebooks themselves).
* I only use notebooks with grades 3-5. You might just pick one or two grades to "try it out".
* Find a convenient place to store them and an efficient way to pass them out/clean them up. I store them on a bookshelf by homeroom teacher. On the cover, I've written the student's name, grade, and teacher in permanent marker. I color-code (using a marker dot or sticker) each journal based on where the student sits (if they sit on the red risers, they have a red dot, etc). Journals can be passed out quickly during our normal greeting/warm-up routine.
* Create a sense of "ownership" for the students - praise their good work, allow them to share with others, ask to use theirs as "model" for other classes/grades, put a cute sticker on a particularly worthy assignment
* Create meaningful assignments that are aligned with your curriculum. For me, this is why so much of my notebook is a "work in progress". I've had to "grow" my curriculum with my students. This is my 3rd year with them, and it is the first year that I've though, "Whew, they are pretty much on-pace with where they should be."
* Keep it simple - If I can use the large paper-cutter to crop a worksheet, rather than hand 25 scissors to 3rd graders, I'll do myself, thanks. If it will take me twenty minutes to fold 20 foldables when it would take a 4th grader 20 minutes to fold 1, I'll do it. If I can glue in a page and spare 30 glue-bottles from the fingers of 30 5th graders, I'll do that too. See what I mean about cons (taking a lot of your time)?
* If you want to have an organized notebook (a section for rhythm, a section for melodies, etc), you'll need to plan out nearly all the components ahead of time. I do a basic "notebook" planning page per nine weeks, where I list things I want to create or have the students create to put in their notebooks. Then, I simply have the students enter in notes and assignments as we complete them. Many teachers have their student's notebooks number by page (i.e. pages 20-35 are rhythmic pages), but those teachers are usually teaching only one classroom of students, not multiple classes and grade levels.
Anyway, here are a few pages from my current 3rd grade "model" notebook. We'll begin working in our notebooks next week (fingers crossed).
Here's the title-page for our notebooks. I let the students decorate it themselves, as long as what they draw is music-related. I set a time limit of 10 minutes for this activity and I usually multi-task by playing a song we're learning or will learn, or have learned, or will listen to, etc, while they complete this task.
This sheet includes the musical vocabulary the students will learn over the first nine-weeks. Words highlighted in yellow are words the students are learning/have learned. At the end of the first nine weeks, the students put a green dot next to words they are sure they know, and a red dot next to words they are unsure of this. This gives me the opportunity to see what we need to revisit or relearn. Vocabulary words are posted on the word wall and on the "vocabulary wall" which is a large pocket chart (I forgot to take a picture of this but I will post it soon - it is very effective).
This little page is quite interactive. The students illustrate each vocabulary word. We use these words ALL the time (they are also on the word wall and currently on the vocabulary wall as we are reviewing them).
|One Beat Rhythms|
|Two Beat Rhythms|
|Four Beat Rhythms|
I'll also be including some rhythm practice pages and a few rhythm composition activities that the students will glue in.
Here are a few melodic-based pages.
|Melodic Shape Activity|
|Melodic Vocabulary with Illustrations|
|Do Re Mi Song Activity|
|Treble Clef - corresponds to boomwhacker colors|
Students can also log listening experiences. I like to include these basic vocabulary pages so students can refer to them.
3rd Grade Listening Recommendations , can also be logged here.
Two years ago, I had a moderate obsession with foldables. I'm currently "researching" (and by that, I mean browsing Pinterest) to see which foldables to incorporate in the interactive notebook.
|Love this book!|
|Orchestral Instruments Foldable|
|Pentatonic Page from previous notebooks|
|Recorder Fingerings Foldable|
|Rhythm Value Look Book - I'll probably use this again|
That's about all I have for right now. I'll update soon!