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Supporting CCSS with the Interactive Notebook

In my university Education program my professor stressed the idea of using an Interactive Notebook for teaching Social Studies.  She loved this idea so much that our entire Masters level course was implemented through the creation of an Interactive Notebook!  I still have that notebook, and I refer to it often as my guide for teaching with the best practices in the Social Studies classroom.

As we begin to address and implement the CCSS, it is important to continue utilizing some of those old, but tried and true, methods.  The Interactive Notebook should be a staple in the SS classroom, using it to introduce ideas or topics, to record the key content, and to wrap-up assignments, allowing students the opportunity to process and express the lesson ideas in their own words or in their own individual way for best understanding!

One of my favorite uses for the IN is in vocabulary development.  This works well to implement the following CCSS:
  • Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies.
There are so many ways to have students learn and develop their vocabulary, but one of my favorites (and a great one for the beginning of the school year) is the illustration of terms.  While they are also required to define the terms in their own words, the illustration (even stick figures) helps them to remember and retain the term's meaning.  It also gives them a visual symbol that will help them on testing with recall tasks.

The implementation of this can be simply assigned as a bellringer/starter activity in the Interactive Notebook.  Allow students sufficient time to complete the tasks, and allow students to compare their work with others.  Be sure to reinforce the terms and their meaning in the class lesson, and then require students to utilize the terms correctly in their wrap-up assignment at the end of class.

Here are samples from my Reconstruction Unit:

 A "save the world" tip:  Encourage students to use the back of the previous day's notes page.  This not only saves paper, but keep's each full day lesson in one open notebook visual image.  It's better for organization, student processing, and retention!

Hope this idea will work well for you in your classroom!

Read my entire series on Implementing CCSS in the Social Studies Classroom starting here!