I've been spending a lot of time this summer working on my Social Studies notebooking units for next year. I loved notebooking this year, and I learned a lot! Next year, it will (hopefully) go a lot smoother, and it'll be much more organized! I've been creating units and posting them on TeachersPayTeachers. So far, I've posted a unit about Native Americans and Explorers of North America. I created these units to work for me, but they can easily be used in any classroom or for homeschoolers. What drives me crazy about some products on TPT is the lack of thoroughness. If I'm using a packet of worksheets, I want to have good directions! So, my packets have directions and comments about how I use notebooking in my classroom.
What I discovered to be the most important part of notebooking was the discussions that my class had about each topic. I would have students volunteer to read paragraphs aloud to the class, then we would stop and discuss it. We'd talk about how different the schools in colonial times were, the differences between Aztec and Conquistador armor, how the horse made a difference to Native American tribes, etc. My students loved connecting the past to today through these discussions, and would bring up details in later conversations. Yes, sometimes they got a little animated, but I figured that they were INTERESTED and ENJOYING learning about history!
Right now, I'm working on the Colonial America notebooking unit. That should be available in the next few weeks!
Now, to get some rest, because I have to be at school meeting for our new reading curriculum at EIGHT O'CLOCK in the MORNING tomorrow. Seriously?!? It's summer! 8:00am?!? Oh well, I'm excited to find out some more info on this reading program (Good Habits Great Readers), so I can start making plans for next year! Oh, did I mention that next year I'm teaching ONLY Reading (with some Social Studies) and Writing! Yahoo! I'm so excited to do this, though I'll REALLY miss teaching science (some of it at least...), but I get all of the fifth graders during the day and I don't have to teach math!