Instructional techniques for interactive notebooks

How to use input and output activities for your interactive notebook classes?

When using instructional techniques for interactive notebooks, it is best to use simple methods. Students engage better when the activities are short with easy to follow directions.

Ensure your students are ready to learn when you give them simple step-by-step instructions. The activities shown here are samples you can use in your own classroom or homeschool group.

You will see how to use Question of the Day and Exit Ticket samples as part of input and output activities. Also, you will notice KWL charts are very versatile educational tools. These tables are used as anchor charts or posters with ideas for all year-long.

In fact, KWL charts are easy to use since it can introduce a lesson and build up on ideas. More engaging than KWL charts and QODs are the Agree and Disagree cards.

When you use these cards, you will see how students begin to engage with one another. While it doesn’t require much preparation, Agree and Disagree cards integrate students to deeper level of thinking.

instructional techniques

Instructional Techniques for your Interactive Notebooks – Left Side

Using Question of the Day (QOD) and Exit Tickets

One of the most common ways to engage students is to use QODs and exit tickets. These simple activities boost prior knowledge in students and reinforces learned topics.

An effective way to introduce a lesson is to engage students in a teacher-directed question. Without offering too much information, try to check the responses from each student.

Do students know the main ideas from yesterday’s lesson or do they need reinforcements? It is even more clear in inclusion classrooms.

Besides, diverse learning in inclusion classroom perform much better when they have the opportunity to recall and respond to previous knowledge. For instance, take a look at the sample of learning Spanish in the QOD.

Exit tickets are very useful instructional techniques if you’re evaluating a particular topic before a unit test or quiz. It helps you know what they don’t know or haven’t mastered yet.

I ask, specifically, for students to look back at their notes or recall the information about prepositions. This is a great way for students to take part of learning the material.

Here’s how you can use the QOD activity:

  • Show 4 different pictures of Spanish prepositions at the beginning of a lesson
  • Direct students to write the proper preposition based on the picture
  • Go over the answers and ask for feedback

To encourage more class participation, have students work with their shoulder partners (someone next to them) and share their ideas.

instructional techniques

Ideas for using the exit ticket activity

  • Write down on a PowerPoint slide or on the whiteboard the exit ticket question or statement
  • Direct students to write it down on their exit ticket
  • Ask students to answer it on the space provided
  • Swap tickets with a shoulder partner and give feedback

Creating KWL Charts for next topics within a lesson

A fun way to introduce a new topic of a lesson is using a KWL chart as instructional techniques. Students are detectives when it comes to using these charts.

They first begin by making connections with material they already know. For instance, if you’re studying the days of the week in Spanish, you might want to encourage students to names as many as possible.

instructional techniques

Then, encourage students to make their own predictions about Spanish prepositions. Once students fill out the K section of the chart, move to the W section.

Here, students make even more connections with what they want to know about Spanish time in general. Some very interesting questions arise from this section.

So, encourage students to think beyond what they know to enhance their learning experience.

In this case, some questions apt to learning about Spanish time are: “How is time expressed in Spanish?” and “Is 14:00 hours the same as 2:00 p.m.?” You change the questions and even ask students to offer other questions, too.

Agree and Disagree cards as instructional techniques

Agree and disagree cards are useful methods to encourage students to reflect on deeper level thinking. These cards are most effective after a lesson or instruction of a difficult concept.

As educational tools, you use these cards to measure how much they assimilate new material. When students lack the motivation to keep up with learned material, you see which students need help the most.

By simply asking different levels of questions (using Bloom’s taxonomy), these cards turn into true-and-false questions.

instructional techniques

To make learning fun, give students a minute to read a statement of question, then give the signal to raise the card, whoever gives the correct answer in less than 1 second wins a prize. So, students have fun while learning.

Indeed, instructional techniques are useful tools in lessons, especially in interactive notebooks. With so many choices about which ones are most helpful, it’s difficult to see which ones work for your classroom. You know your students better than others.

Perhaps, not all activities work with certain groups in your classroom and other love the idea of using flip cards to learn. No matter how students offer ideas and receive information, it is useful to have helpful instructional techniques to make your teaching learning less painful.

Comment below, what do you think? Do you use more than one method more often than others?    

Barbara Mascareno

Barbara is an educational writer, teacher, and instructional designer. She loves to write K-12 education content, teaching strategies, bilingual education approaches, and foreign language.

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