Interactive Science Notebooks FAQ

 

What programs do you use to create digital notebooks?
Watching the PPT to Slides video helped me figure out how to take use existing PPTs to help me merge into the digital lane. I love that I can incorporate my tried and true class notes/resources from PPT. Another great features is having all the slides automatically saved into one folder for you - makes it easy to find the slides you need from Google Slides to add as background images.  A great example of this strategy is the Sandwich Science unit.  The Teacher Master has the presentation in PPT with all the slides, while the Student Master is a Slides version. 

Also available ... Digital ISN Resources - A listing of tips, tutorials, and other tools that helped me in the digital transition. 

What slide size do you prefer?
I like using the custom size settings of 11x8.5, which is like a standard page in landscape view.  It displays well on a computer monitor as well as the SmartBoard.  If I need to print a copy, it is already formatted to do so - just send it to the printer.   I set up each slide to be equal to one page in a regular notebook.

How do you assign these to your students? How often?
I will assign the digital notebooks  through Google Classroom as an assignment (with the "make a copy for each student option) How often they are assigned will depend on the unit or assignment.  The Science Starters notebooks will be assigned weekly.  The unit notebooks (see the samples on the ISN main page) will be assigned at the start of a unit and be due final test day for that unit.  Some may cover a couple weeks, while others will be six weeks or more.

How will you grade the notebooks? 
I plan to grade many times throughout a unit as well as at the end.  One of the perks of GC is I can see the student notebooks without them having to submit them.  I may have students send screenshots of completed activities to be graded individually.  Other times I will have them bring up a specific slide on their screen so I can check for completion before we review the activity in class.  Students will be able to use the digital notebooks on note quizzes (just like the paper ones), which has always been a big incentive for my students to keep notebooks up-to-date and completed. At the end of the unit, I will have a list of slides to check for points as well as overall effort, organization, etc.

How will you add pages to student notebooks? 
I know from past experience that I won't have every unit notebook finished until after I get done teaching a unit (just like the non-digital times!)  I plan to post slide updates as materials on Google Classroom.  Rather than sharing the entire Master Copy, I will create a file with just the slides students need to add (much more manageable for all the kids.)  The title of the file will include the ISN it goes with and the date it should be added.  I plan to use notes in the gray areas to indicate the correct slide # in the full ISN.

How do you use existing PPTs to develop student notebooks? 
Watching the PPT to Slides video was a game changer for me!  I was spending a lot of time trying to recreate everything on Slides.  What an exciting moment to figure out how to take my tried and true class notes/resources to help me merge into the digital lane. I love that PPT saves all the slides into a folder for you - makes it easy to find the slides you need from Google Slides to add as background images.  A great example of this strategy is the Sandwich Science unit I recently added a digital notebook version for one of my favorite lessons.  Would have taken twice as long to build it all on Slides! 

What slide size do you prefer?
I like using the custom size settings of 11x8.5, which is like a standard page in landscape view.  It displays well on a computer monitor as well as the SmartBoard.  If I need to print a copy, it is already formatted to do so - just send it to the printer.   I set up each slide to be equal to one page in a regular notebook.

Will I still have students complete hand-drawn projects, graphs, and written responses? 
Yes, but they will have ways to share those efforts with me in their digital notebooks - especially any "Doodle Notes" they create (see below.) I think students learn best by being able to express what they learn in different ways whether it be writing, drawing, discussing, creating, etc. I know I'll have students (like myself) who prefer to hand draw a mnemonic or graph or use pen and paper to write notes and  summaries. Thankfully, tech makes it easier for them to share those artifacts digitally by inserting them into their ISNs. This was one of the big takeaways for me from remote learning last spring - students found many ways to share what they learned in ways I didn't expect.

Doodle Notes (my version - not the premade graphic version) as an option for student notes!  In my version, students "doodle" to create their own notes from a textbook passage, video, or demonstration.  Watch my video on Educreations that was created to introduce my students to Doodle Notes!

Why switch now? 
Good question ... Only four years until retirement, am I crazy for making this big change? I think it's a perfect time with the challenges we face in education today.  I have used the spiral notebook version for almost 10 years and cannot imagine teaching without this tool.  However, the main issues I've had with them is the time it takes to use them - the time spent formatting worksheets to fit in the spiral notebooks and then copying worksheets. Add in the class time spent cutting, gluing, and organizing and it adds up to lost planning and instructional time.  I also dreaded the pages that were glued together or lost pages (or the whole notebook.)  I believe the digital versions will help avoid those negative  issues and allow me to still incorporate my favorite ISN strategies into the new format.   Plus it will be a great tool for the next science teacher who takes over my classroom!


Have other questions?  Send me an e-mail!

 

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