Introducing the Interactive Notebooks (INBs) on Day 1 of school worked ALMOST PERFECTLY!
You should have seen the scissors and tape flying in there. :-)
I introduced the concept to my class of 7th graders very briefly, then quickly got them busy DOING things -- getting handouts, making a foldable on the parts of the INB, filling it in, and setting up their table of contents pages. The homework tonight is to finish setting up the TOC pages and study the foldable on the parts of the INB in preparation for tomorrow's test. Yes, a test! On Day 2! I must be a maniac!
I did the same with my mostly 8th grade class, though we didn't get through quite as much as the earlier class. In their defense, they do have Algebra right after lunch and frankly, after all the rules and responsibilities reviews all morning, nobody is at their best right after lunch on the first day.
The funny thing, though, was that the activity instantly got everybody engaged in what was going on. Because no one had ever done it before, no one was at a particular advantage or disadvantage. They've all been cutting and pasting since pre-school, but never in the service of their more recent learning.
I used the document camera to model what we were doing and I found that the kinesthetic aspect added an extra dimension of interest to the activities. The foldable was on yellow paper, and my scissors have bright orange handles, and I was showing them where and how to fold and cut and snip. There were some misfires during the cutting process (which I had anticipated there might be), but I told these students to simply recycle the spoiled handout and get a new one from the hanging file because in mathematics making mistakes is a normal part of the learning process and we simply regroup and keep going.
I got the impression that no one had ever normalized the mistake-making process, and that made me even more eager to play The Mistake Game with our giant group whiteboards.
At the end of each class, I took a brief, unscientific poll and discovered that nobody in either class had ever done a foldable in class before! Egad! And they all really seemed to like the tangible nature of managing the learning of abstract procedures.
I'm excited to see what happens on Day 2. Stay tuned for more!