How to Use Spanish Interactive Notebooks in Your Classroom
If you’re a teacher, odds are that you have heard about Spanish interactive notebooks before. But, have you made the decision to use them in your classroom?
In this post I’ll explain what Spanish interactive notebooks are and why they’re useful for your students. Then, I’ll give you a few ideas on how to use them in your classroom and clever strategies to make the most of them. Finally, I’ll show you how to make your Spanish interactive notebook a digital one and take your Spanish learning process to the next level.
What Are Spanish Interactive Notebooks?
Interactive have seen a boom in recent years and teachers used them in a wide variety of languages, Spanish included. Basically, interactive notebooks are “spiral or composition notebooks where students can organize their notes.”
However, they go much further than simple note-taking tools. Personally, I loved this definition: interactive notebooks provide “a space where students may take what is inside their brains, lay it out, make meaning, apply it, and share it with their peers, parents, and teachers.”
Usually, the right side of the notebook is reserved for notes, handouts, discussions, and every other piece of information given by the teacher, while the left side is where students personalize that information, with their own wording, drawings, charts, comics, and the sort. The left side is the student’s opportunity to make sense of what they have just learned.
Why Are Spanish Interactive Notebooks Useful to Students?
Spanish interactive notebooks are great tools to help students to organize their ideas and accommodate different learning styles into a single place. They are also useful to allow students to express their own ideas, enhance their creativity, and process information.
This interesting way of learning allows students to take ownership of their own learning and give them agency to explore more and dig deeper. Finally, Spanish interactive notebooks work as a portfolio of the student’s learning process, and strengthen the student-teacher-parent interaction.
How To Use Spanish Interactive Notebooks in Your Classroom
Spanish interactive notebooks are, among other things, creativity tools for your students. So, my piece of advice is to get creative with the way you use them in your classroom. The following are just a few Spanish interactive notebook ideas to apply with your students.
Sell the Idea to Your Students
Just because interactive notebooks are somewhat common these days, that doesn’t mean that everybody has heard of them or knows how to use them. Students get motivated when they buy the idea of a new project. If you catch their attention with the interactive notebook concept, you’ll see their creativity flourish. If they aren’t on board, you’ll end up with a lot of notes on the right side of the notebook, and very little to show for on the left side.
Define Your Table of Contents
Having a well-defined Table of Contents before you start using your Spanish interactive notebook, allows you to have your course organized and scheduled, and your students to know beforehand what they will be learning in the coming weeks and months.
The Table of Contents also helps your students to design their Spanish interactive notebooks with a cohesive look and to prepare for their classes.
Follow a Rubric
State very clearly to your students what’s expected from their Spanish interactive notebooks and how you plan to grade them. Top grades may be given to complete notebooks, with neat and clean work through its pages. Make sure to include concepts such as quality work, organization, and visual appearance.
If you want general items to be included such as date and title, page numbers, or a specific number of charts, drawings, tables, or Venn diagrams make sure that your students understand this and they can even glue the rubric to their notebooks just after the Table of Contents.
Number the Pages
Do you notice a patron here? A Table of Contents, a rubric, and numbering the pages of your students’ Spanish interactive notebooks are simple strategies to keep the notebooks well-organized. Yes, they’re creativity enhancing tools, but you can guide that creativity to flourish in a positive way.
Using Spanish interactive notebooks can get messy at times, there’s a lot of glue involved, and plenty of cutouts. By numbering the pages of your students notebooks, you make sure that everybody is in the same channel and that they don’t get lost searching for specific pieces of content.
Use Different Learning Tools
The best thing about Spanish interactive notebooks is that you can use a wide array of learning tools and facilitate the inclusion of different learning styles. Use that flexibility and make the most of it.
Some learning tools that your students can and should use in their Spanish interactive notebooks include:
- Concept maps
- Venn Diagrams
Spanish Interactive Digital Notebook
Can you have a digital Spanish interactive notebook? Yes, but the dynamic is completely different and the challenges it presents are diverse. Your students can create a Spanish interactive digital notebook opening a Google Drive folder and keeping all the documents from a specific unit in that folder.
Introduce Spanish Interactive Notebooks in Your Classroom and Improve Your Lessons
Spanish interactive notebooks are smart learning tools that a series of studies have found bring a lot of benefits to your students’ learning process. Try introducing them into your Spanish lessons and see how your students get engaged in the creation of their own notebooks and learning.
Remember that Spanish is a primary subject that most students begin studying in elementary school. By high school students find that Spanish is both an Advanced Placement course and available as an SAT II subject test. Using a series of learning tools such as Spanish interactive notebooks to learn the language, give your students a strong foundation to deal with these courses in a successful way.
Do you need support in your classroom? Homeschool Spanish Academy provides 1-on-1 or 2-on-1 online Spanish classes for K-12 students. We can help alleviate the difficulty of having many students of varying levels of performance. Sign up for a free class to give us a try today!
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