Interactive Notebooks

For several years I have wanted to jump into one of the “Buzz” words in education: Interactive Notebooks (INB). I must have HUNDREDS of pins on Pinterest and saved links of blogs for inspiration. I was thrilled, scared, and excited to tackle on the notebooks with my students this year with the help of my fellow Math teachers at LMS. I am loving learning what works and doesn’t work each day when the students are working in their notebooks.

 

The students and the use of the INBs have surpassed my expectations of how great they are as tools for the students and parents! I had a parent conference several weeks ago and the father said how helpful the notes were because he “could not do math” and he could understand and help his daughter do her work! Wow! What a great testimony on the power of these little spirals. One of my FAVORTITE features is that the students can use their INB during quizzes!

 

So far I am loving using the notebooks for my classroom. Somedays the students cut and color, and some days they work on worksheets and staple the work in the notebooks. Don’t get me wrong each day is not all sunshine and rainbows when cutting and gluing. The small things that are not working is what I am trying to improve to make the notebooks as successful as possible.

 

I would like to share one of the blogs I have read about the benefits the author has listed to the INB.

(http://minds-in-bloom.com/7-reasons-to-use-interactive-notebooks/)

  1. Interactive notebooks teach students to organize and synthesize their thoughts.

By working with students to create a process for them to organize their thinking, you will be able to teach study skills without “teaching” them. Processes build structure, and with use of left- and right-side pages, students will naturally organize their thoughts.

 

 

  1. Interactive notebooks accommodate multiple learning styles at one time in (and out of) the classroom.

Whether you do teacher input activities as a whole group or as a small group, student output activities give students the ability to show exactly where they are in their understanding of the subject.

 

  1. Student-teacher-parent interaction is built and strengthened with the use of interactive notebooks.

When students are working on homework at home with their interactive notebooks, not only will students be able to use them, but parents will also be able to have a resource into the learning that is taking place in the classroom.

 

  1. Students are building a portfolio that allows for teachers to track growth over time.

Reflections of what students are learning in their output pages (as well as the work shown) will show how they are synthesizing the information learned in class, and as students develop further skills, this will be reflected in their output. These reflections are great to show during parent-teacher conferences and even discuss during student-teacher conferences.

 

  1. Interactive notebooks have students create a resource to use as they continue to extend their learning.

An interactive notebook works as a textbook for students that is theirs. Not only are they taking beneficial notes, practicing, and reflecting on material, but they are also using that information as they work on future activities. Students are going back and reviewing the prior pages repeatedly and therefore building exposure to the material each time.

 

  1. Students take ownership of their learning through color and creativity.

One of the main things that helps students to buy in to the use of interactive notebooks is not the benefits they can see from it but the ability for it to be their own. When students know, and are allowed, to use color in their notebooks, it makes their notes come alive. Using colored paper, markers, colored pencils, etc. makes it easier to sort information and group things together. This creativity also sparks the visual learning when they are expected to remember and apply the information at a later date.

 

  1. Interactive notebooks reduce clutter in the classroom, as well as in students’ lives.

By having students take all of their notes and then also practice and reflect in one location, it allows for them to be organized. Therefore, it eliminates excess papers being lost and misplaced when students would benefit from using them as they learn.

Mrs. Barker – 7th Grade Math

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The month of December brought out the best in Lewisburg Middle School’s students and staff. Many of our student organizations collected items, raised money, and/or visited people to spread some holiday cheer.

Student Council collected gift donations and held a pajama/hat day as well as sold Santa Grams to raise money for The Ronald McDonald House Holiday Helpers gift shop. The students had a great time buying additional gifts, delivering them, and touring the Ronald McDonald House.

FCS collected “socks for seniors” and took time out of their busy schedules to spend some time at retirement home with its residents while delivering their gifts.

Mr. Feazell took his choir students on an outreach trip where they performed at SilverCreek retirement homes as well as a special performance at the DeSoto Health Center.

LMS was out in full force spreading Christmas Cheer throughout the entire month.

 

Ms. Laxton – Librarian

Lewisburg Middle School Choir

LMS Choir has had a busy first half to the school year. We packed the house at our first concert of the year. I received many compliments and words of praise from parents and colleagues. The Advanced Ladies won “Best In Class” at the Ole Miss Choral Festival. We are all very proud of that trophy and already look forward to next year’s competition. There were quite a few participants in the District 2 Honor Choir and several 7th and 8th graders made it to the All State Honor Choir. All 10 of our 6th graders who auditioned made it to the All-State Honor Choir as well. We sang the National Anthem at numerous events including the River Kings Hockey game. The students worked very hard on their Christmas Program. We had 16 memorized songs in the concert and it lasted 50 minutes total. I am so proud of their efforts. We also had an end of semester field trip to Silver Creek Retirement Home as well as DeSoto Health Care Center. It was a great experience and we topped that off with a little fun and lunch at Chuck-E Cheeses. We ended the semester with a potluck and Secret Santa party during their class time.

 

We are now looking forward to the spring semester. The All-State students will be traveling to Hattiesburg to participate in the all-state choir. We will compete in District Festival, and the Advanced Ladies and Guys will travel to St. Louis and compete in the Music In The Parks competition at Six Flags. Our spring concert will come early, April 5th at Maples UMC. We hope to see you there.

Mr. Feazell – Choir Director

Sign Language Club

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Welcome to the American Sign Language Club at LMS! We have the Basic and the Advanced Sign Language Clubs sponsored by Cindy Spivey and Rita Turner.

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In the Basic Sign Language Club, we learn the alphabet, colors, numbers, animals, and fingerspelling. Fingerspelling is an activity where the student practices spelling words using the alphabet in ASL. Example:   cat, dog, apple, table, etc.

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In the Advanced Sign Language Club, we learn school items, family names, food words, and conversational phrases. In the spring, the advanced club will have an opportunity to meet a deaf couple and practice signing to them. This is a wonderful way to include the community at LMS. The Memphis Library hosts a Santa time with a Signing Santa every December.

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Resources:

Mrs. Spivey – Deaf Education Teacher

Career Day in the ‘Burg

One of the most awaited days each year, here at LMS is Career Day. It is a day dedicated to the interests of our current eighth grade group, and focuses on what path they think they may want to take when they get out of high school. Our outstanding counselors work tirelessly to create a memorable learning experience for each of our 7th/8th grade students every year.

This year, one of the biggest fields of interest was education! Students went around in rotation and visited with 12 different presenters from our community who, not only shared their professions with our students, but also answered anything our student’s inquisitive minds came up with. We had presenters from culinary arts, agriculture, law enforcement and prosecuting, art, engineering, nursing and radiology, logistics, etc. The principal from Career Tech West even came out to talk to the students about classes students can attend in high school. What was even better was that most of these professionals were educators within their field of study.

Career day is a great opportunity LMS uses to expose young minds to interests and professions students may not otherwise know much about. It is also a great way to get our community involved in the futures of our young students. This year’s Career Day was a success and we are already looking forward to next year!

 

Mrs. Keen – 8th Grade ELA

Mrs. Lacey’s 8th Grade ELA Class

We have been very busy this semester in Mrs. Lacey’s eighth grade English Language Arts class! We started out the year reading Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and exploring all things mystery! Along with reading all sorts of mysterious stories and poems, each student researched a real-life mystery and presented their findings to the class. They were graded according to the Mississippi College and Career Readiness Speaking and Listening standards. Many students were very nervous, but everyone stepped up to the plate and conquered their fears of public speaking!! It was awesome to see.

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Second nine weeks ushered us into a study of Mark Twain’s writings. We read many different excerpts from the classic American author and started to wrap our minds around “satire”. These pictures show the students reading and discussing the hilarious essay, “Taming the Bicycle.”

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These teams of four are practicing a strategy called Reciprocal Reading. Each student has a job in his/her team and periodically the group will stop and let each person peform their job. This practice helps everyone feel like they are contributors to the group. It also helps everyone better understand the reading. Sometimes kids don’t know what to “say” when discussing a text, and this is so helpful when they have a clear role to play. We hope to keep reading, learning, and soaring to the top here in eighth grade English!

Mrs. Lacey – 8th Grade ELA

Climbing to the Top

With Thanksgiving just behind us, there are still a lot of things to be thankful for at Lewisburg Middle School. I am very thankful to work at the #1 Middle School in the state for the second year in a row! I am also thankful for the administration, staff, students, and parents. It is truly a wonderful place to work at every day! The students (and teachers) at LMS are very competitive and I love every bit of it.

This year, to help motivate my students, I have created a display of their last years test scores. The display is outside my classroom, and it is a tree with monkeys on the different test score levels. The students are assigned a number so they are anonymous. My class is “Climbing to the top”. After each Case 21 the students will move their monkeys to the projected score that Case 21 predicts they will make. My hope is that the display will encourage the lower students to want to move up and if they get to move their monkey up, it will motivate them to work hard every day. It will also help my highest students to stay on top. I know that they do not want to move their monkey down a level and they will do whatever it takes to stay on top.

I am looking forward to see if my display will help my students stay focused on our goal of being number one again!

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Danielle Evans – 7th Grade Math

Motivational Monday

This year I decided to create an acronym for each day of the week. Monday-Motivational Monday, Tuesday-Tackle the Text Tuesday, Wednesday-Wonderful Words Wednesday, Thursday-Tripe Threat Thursday, and Friday-Freestyle Friday. In this blog, I will focus on the day my students enjoy the most-Motivational Monday. In order to foster intrinsic motivation, I try to create learning activities that are based on topics that are applicable to my students’ lives. Every Monday students watch a motivational video and they love it! Motivational speeches allow young students to get their fresh supply of inspiration and positive insights that can help them overcome the many challenges that life has yet to offer. While different generations of kids do experience unique challenges, one thing remains the same—proper guidance can help them go through these obstacles and find the best versions of themselves in the process. With the help of the personal stories and real-life experiences motivational videos share, they can help listeners see practical applications of the insights and lessons they are talking about. The videos help my students see the value of different experiences, including less than pleasant ones that they face on a daily basis by telling stories of triumph over similar types of situations in their lives. Several weeks after watching motivational videos, students were able to write their own motivational speeches. Motivational Monday also allows me to incorporate multiple language arts skills like tone, mood, theme, central idea, and summarizing.

 

Mrs. Green – 7th ELA

 

Choices

Differentiation of instruction is challenging, but needed. All of my students have different areas of strength, and I need to be able to let them use those strengths. After attending a reading institute this summer, one of the big “takeaways” I left with was giving students plenty of choices.   When I give specific instructions on how an assignment needs to be completed, it can tend to limit the creative nature of many of my students. At this institute, I got the chance to complete a project in any way that I desired. I felt so much freedom and really enjoyed putting it together. All of the projects were unique, but they all contained the information that was required. I wanted my students this year to have that feeling about some of their assignments. My fellow English teachers were at the institute also, and we all wanted to let our students experience this freedom of choice. We decided to give them different choices on a novel project and gave instructions on what to include. It was up to the students to be creative and choose the format that appealed to them. I thought it would be mass chaos, but these projects were so diverse and entertaining! One of the choices was a movie trailer. I had a student who filmed his own stop action film (in my classroom) using Lego’s. He then took his movie clips and made a movie trailer for the novel The Outsiders. My mind was blown! That is something I would never have dreamed of assigning, but that student used their creativity and produced a wonderful product. I am so thankful to be able to allow my students to put their own unique twists to assignments, and I will continue to do so.

 

Mrs. Anderson – 7th Grade ELA

CHOOSING TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Lewisburg Middle School Counselors do an impressive job creating a positive culture at our school, as well as educating our students about issues that help them to grow in maturity and handle the societal pressures of today.

Last month, we finished up our Anti-bullying campaign that is coordinated by the counselors. Each week the students participate in different activities to help them learn how to deal with all types of bully issues. Each week there is a theme and posters are hung from the ceiling at the front of each hallway that highlights the theme of the week. Their focus is to teach the students that they have choices to make when it comes to how to handle bullying and other social issues common among middle school ages, such as choosing to be an upstander instead of a bystander to bullying. Every day the students watch a video clip after hearing a challenge during the announcements that relates to the week’s theme. We also have a Kindness Matters barrel in the cafeteria where students and teachers can write kind words as a ‘shout out’ to be read on the intercom to promote positivity. These ‘shout outs’ also serve to show students how kindness towards others can make someone’s day and make a life-long impact. The counselors then spend time in the classroom teaching our students what it looks like in the real world to be an upstander and educates them on practical ways that they can implemented the skills they are learning into their everyday lives.

Mrs. Young goes into each 6th grade class during activity time and teaches the 6th graders differences between bullying and being mean. She helps students to identify what actions are truly bullying as well as talk about different ways that bullying can occur. She then helps the 6th graders by giving them ways to become upstanders for their peers that may be bullied, but have no one to turn to. She also gives students an opportunity to learn what it means to advocate for themselves when someone is treating them unkindly.

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Mrs. Fleming goes into the 7th * 8th grade Social Studies classes and teaches empathy building to 8th and Cyber-bullying to 7th. In 7th grade most students have smart phones and are finally old enough to have social media accounts. This reality brings a whole new level of bullying into our schools and seems to hit a peak in 7th grade, where kids have not fully developed maturity skills. These small groups sessions led by Mrs. Fleming give our students opportunities to hear the impact that cyberbully has on others so they can learn just how serious cyberbully actually is for teenagers. Since students in 8th grade are beginning to mature and become more self-aware, as well as, aware that they can affect how others are feeling, Mrs. Fleming focuses on teaching what empathy is and why it is important to think before we act or don’t act in the case of being a bystander in the 8th grade sessions. The students also learn to think about the person that is doing the bully and decide why someone might be acting unkind or treating others mean. They learn that kindness can actually help the bully as well as those that are being bullied. The students are taught to celebrate difference among their peers and think about how these differences make our world a better place.

 

The close out activity for Anti-Bullying Month, which we are all very excited about, was a mix it up lunch…

During this time teachers will have a group of students that they will eat lunch with somewhere in the building or outside if it is nice enough. The teacher will guide the students through a discussion that hits the topics they have been learning about all month from our counselors. They will then play a team building game to just have fun together as a way to learn that you can enjoy being with people that are different from you and you can build a positive community just by spending time together.

 

These are only a few of the things our counselors do to make our school great. They host career day, host fieldtrips to colleges or career centers, teach goal setting, and meet with students on a regular basis to work on social skills, organization, grade improving, and challenging home lives. They also spend time with the teachers helping us troubleshoot problems with our students as well as our own personal challenges. I am grateful to work with such creative and caring people. There is no limit to the infinite amount of impact they have on all of us today and in the future because of what they choose to do each and everyday.

Mrs. Frayser