Guest Post by Kayse Morris from Teaching on Less
Tips for Taking Interactive Notebooks Outside
Isn’t it time you walked outside and smelled the fresh air? Students are eager to get away from the classroom, so why aren’t you? It’s so important that we engage our students in all different types of environments. My favorite place to do this is to go on a weekly field-trip outside. But how can this happen when we have so much to learn? Can interactive notebooks really be taken outside? Of course they can!!! Check out the steps below to learn how smelling the fresh air can enhance your interactive notebooks and student learning!
Step 1: Explore the outdoors.
When I first began interactive notebooks, I was stressed out! It is hard to remember all of the steps needed to achieve the perfect interactive notebook. It wasn’t until my students began really understanding the routine that we decided to take our love for interactive notebooks outside. First, we learned to explore. In step one it is important to start slow. Begin taking your interactive notebooks outside by remembering to do all of the hard work inside. Cut all of the pieces and glue down anything you can inside. Anything that you need for outdoor learning can be placed inside a simple ziploc baggie.
Step 2: Analyze and explore new topics.
When interactive notebooks are combined with outdoor exploring students can analyze and explore new topics. For example, when using our science interactive notebooks, students are asked to go find different things within nature. In order to find those things, they must explore their surroundings. You can also incorporate any close reading strategies with this topic. Have students read a close reading article on the life cycle of a butterfly. Ask them to find different objects that caterpillars could attach themselves to before beginning their transformation to a butterfly. Glue those pieces into their interactive notebook.
Step 3: Be an investigator.
Who doesn’t love to be an investigator? Give your students magnified glasses to add more excitement. Make your students feel like outdoor scientist. Keep a log of information. Graph your findings, map your findings, or even illustrate what you see. Make your investigation feel like a real investigation and see how learning can transform. Another way to incorporate cross curricular activities is to bring math and reading into this activity. Can your students locate something that is fuzzy? Discuss what words describe fuzzy. Once students collect fuzzy things, graph it!
Step 4: Get moving.
Research suggests that outdoor adventure opens up a new level of learning for students. It excites them and motivates them. Some students are more kinesthetic learners and inviting them to explore outdoor adventure may ignite their learning even further! This is a wonderful way to differentiate any assignment.
Step 5: Foster teamwork.
Finally, taking your interactive notebooks outside offers a new way to teach students teamwork. Working together is something that we must learn from a very young age. Common core even adds team work to its standards. Pair students with a partner or team and engage them in meaningful conversations. Give them mentor sentences to facilitate proper teamwork. Encourage them to speak to their partners clearly and concisely.
Enjoy this freebie from my TPT store and start the journey today! Remember, to make life a little bit easier, encourage your students to do all of the hard work inside. Cut and glue as many pieces as possible. Give clear instructions about partners or teams and make sure students understand their boundaries outside.
Kayse Morris is an English teacher who loves adventure. Her website, Teaching on Less, shares her passion for living and teaching on less. In her spare time, she likes to help other teachers by creating Youtube tutorials. You can find her tutorials here. For more ideas from Kayse, visit her on Teachers Pay Teachers, Facebook, and Pinterest.