Foster Your Students Creativity - Daily

If you are reading this you probably interested in applying Interactive Notebooks (INB's) to your classroom. Well, one of my absolute favorite things about INB's is that the way I set them up forces me to think about fun and creative short assignments/projects. These are completed on my student's output pages (all of the left side pages) in their INB's. Output pages are designed to engage students "right-brain" and allow students to synthesize the content you just taught them. Most assignments should take 10-15 minutes of student work time and are assigned immediately after the direct instruction of the target concept. In my class, I rarely give homework assignments, but students are expected to complete these pages at home if they need extra time. All of these pages will be graded at the end of the unit so that saves me time too. Occasionally I will spot grade to check progress and these are super fun to use for quick Pair-Share or Inside/Outside circle collaboration.


"Output pages are designed to engage students "right brain" and allow students to synthesize the content you just taught them. "

For every notes page in my student's INB there is a complementary and adjacent output page. Output pages can come in a variety of forms. The 2 things I require, aside from the completed activity, are a title to help with organization and purposeful and constructive color.

Just like I said in my INB guide, there is no 1 right way to assign or use output pages. Do what works best for you and your students. If a less creative practice worksheet works better for your timing and student goals then a bright and colorful acrostic poem, that is okay! Have fun designing your output pages to enhance your instruction and increase student learning and engagement however that may be.


INB Output Page Examples


These are just a few output page examples that I love and use. There are SOOOOO many different ideas and templates available for you to use. This is where a lot of teachers can utilize the really cool foldables they find/buy too. Remember that glue sponges will help your sanity if you chose to pick output pages involving pasting items.


No printing, cutting, and gluing output page ideas:

  • A vocabulary word or concept acrostic poem - I love this one, my rules are that the sentences (not single words) do not have to flow or rhyme, but I expect my students to make full sentences relating to the content that starts with each letter of the assigned poetry word.

  • Doodle/ Art page - Have students doodle and create a page of content related art as you are giving instruction. I always ask for the page to be filled and love seeing what they come up with.

  • Create a comic strip - These are fun when you have content that has a sequence like weathering, erosion, and deposition or mitosis. I normally ask for a 4 frame minimum.

  • Design a T-shirt - Everybody wants to be a designer so give them a chance. I have them create a t-shirt to sale that should have a picture and fun slogan about our content. I have seen teachers that provide blank t-shirt templates, but it is so much easier and so much fun to see them draw them out! Let them design the front and back if they want, I have had students go so far as to include a purchase price and description like they were selling their shirt design online! PS. I have also seen this as a hat design, but I always felt there was more workspace with a t-shirt.

  • Social Media Post - I have been sadly informed by my 6th graders that "Facebook is for old people", but the good news is that there are always new "hip" social media platforms that you can ask them to design for. I like using these for my cells unit and I ask them to not only make the picture for the post but the comments and tags... it is so cool to see what fun stuff they come up with and they LOVE this assignment every year!

  • Create a song or Rap - This is always hilarious and I am constantly impressed by how much more talent my students have than me. I will sometimes let them work with a partner if they ask because this is a harder assignment to do, but I still require both partners to have their own copy in their INB's.

  • Poster Projects - I am sure you have assigned your students a project at some point to create a poster highlighting some concepts. Well make them do that same assignment but as an output page and now you have 150 fewer posters flying around your desk or falling off the walls. These are great for "wanted" posters for characters, diseases, organelles, etc. I also use this same idea to have them design severe weather safety posters.

  • Any kind of mind-map or graphic organizers - Have your students compare and contrast two concepts, create a sequential flow chart, brainstorm page, etc. There are countless graphic organizers used by teachers, have them complete it here and if it is simple enough to save paper by having them draw it on their own!

  • Quick writes or creative stories - I love being able to tie in creative writing to a unit. All authors use science to back their novels and make them believable so why not have your students tell you about the life of a rock - creative writing style! I always require an illustration that supports the story too.

  • Design a meme - This is similar to a social media post, but they love it. Some "borrow" memes wording that is widely circulated for this, but their creative art to go along with the "stay positive like a proton" meme is always fun to see.

  • Draw and Label - Organs, cells, body system, earth layers, water cycle, rocket designs, etc.

Printing but minimal cutting or pasting

For these, I just print out 2 to a page and cut down the center using my paper trimmer. Easy peasy! If the pages are double sides there are creative ways you can insert a "glue here" box on the bottom or side of the back of the paper so that students can flip it back and forth... think sticky note. Consider looking at my glue sponge post to make any type of gluing easier!

  • Vocabulary Builders - I always start the unit with a targeted vocabulary building page. Students get the vocabulary words but are expected to complete the page and activity as they learn about the words as I work thought the unit.

  • Any worksheet you already use - Scale it down to 1/2 page. Yes, the print is smaller but I promise they will read and write on it just fine!

  • Labs, Graphing, or Data tables - I will often use an output page for data collection during mini labs or demos. I normally ask for a prediction at the top of the page, provide them with the table and graph paper to glue in, and have them write a short conclusion at the bottom.

  • Label and Color - Pictures or charts that are too elaborate or detailed for most of your student's drawing abilities. Print out the image and have them label the parts and color it in

  • Movie notes and questions - Great for easy sub plans!

  • Complex graphic organizers - Some organizers are too complex or detailed for you to expect students to recreate on their own. Save everybody time and just print them out.

  • 1 sheet of computer paper - Fold it into thirds, like a window with shutters, glue the middle main part into the INB page and you now have a simple flipable teaching tool for vocabulary, comparing and contrasting 2 concepts, etc.

Foldables

You have probably seen a lot of these if you looked up INB's on Pinterest or Teachers Pay Teachers. They are soooo cool, and I have tried a few. They work really well for the right group of students and with the right amount of time. These often involve a lot of cutting and gluing and students that can follow directions. My advice is if you find one you love, use it, but I wouldn't plan to use these style of output pages frequently.


As with everything try to use a variety of different output pages to keep students always guessing what fun enrichment activity they will be doing next. I also recommend providing students with 2-3 options on some of the pages. I will often say you can write a song, create a meme, or a creative story to appeal to the variety of learners you have in your classroom!


Let me know what you think.

Feedback and new ideas always welcome!

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