How do you create Buy In with Interactive Notebooks?

Interactive Notebooks 101 with 4mulaFun

It’s been awhile since I did a post for Interactive Notebooks 101 and since I just got back from presenting a workshop I have PLENTY of tips to share.

Every time I am at a workshop I get asked the same question over and over in some way, shape or form… “How do I get my students to buy in to Interactive Notebooks?

Creating Buy In

Any time that you start something new in your classroom you have to start by being enthused and energetic about it from the beginning yourself. I can’t tell you how many times I have been reluctant about trying something and that makes my students reluctant about trying it as well.

How can you do this with Interactive Notebooks? When we allow students to truly make their Interactive Notebooks their own and move outside of our personal comfort zone that can also help with buy in. Students want to make something personal and this is just the start. Color and creativity can be key components.

What are some other ways to capture students? What about involving them in the the planning? Students like when they can be involved and despite the fact that many of us have curriculum guides to follow we can still allow our students to help us plan different components of their learning. I would typically let my students choose what color they wanted the next flippable to be on or even sometimes which flippable to use if it needed a certain number of spots. This helped me not only involve them but to also take that extra step off my plate.

Many of us as math teachers have word problems in our Interactive Notebooks. An easy way to incorporate our students is to use their names in the very word problems that we use. Yes, this is an extra step if we have to type them up ourselves but if you are using your students or people that your students know then they will connect to that problem.

What about for those time when you have open-ended work? Students in my class were able to choose their own flippables at times to help create their study guides and create/solve word problems. By just keeping a few of the various types of flippables printed (or just keeping the extras from each time I copied them) this allowed my students to take ownership of that material that they were then compiling.

And I know there are times that you will have students fight the cutting and gluing because they think it is just too babyish for them. This right here is when you have to PROVE to them how they can be beneficial. This can simply be by either telling stories of prior students, allowing them use their notebooks on quizzes in class and also showing how studying their notebooks can pay off for a better grade and understanding overall.

What are some other ways that you have been able to create “buy in” with your students?

Posted in Discussion, Teaching | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Celebrate Good Times with Equations

Put on your dancing shoes and celebrate a milestone with me! Yes, I have reached a milestone with my Teachers Pay Teachers store and I want to give back to you!

What does that mean for you? Well, you can grab the Equations Flippables, Practice and Task Cards for FREE this week! Simply click on the link or the picture and grab it quick! It will only be free through Saturday, January 18th and I would love your feedback as well.

Equations Flippables, Practice and Task CardsYou might ask how this will help you in your classroom. Well this mini unit is a great way to introduce One-Step and Two-Step Equations in your classroom as well as follow through.

Everything is included:

- Equations with Variables on Both Sides Flippable
- Equations Practice
- Equations Practice Answer Key
- Two Step Equations Flippable
- Equations Task Cards (set of 16)
- Equations Task Cards Answer Keys

This unit is a great 2-3 day unit (depending on class length) and even future follow up as needed with the task cards.



So what are you waiting for? Go grab this mini-unit and I would LOVE to hear how you are able to use it!

Posted in Teaching | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Middle School Interactive Notebooks for All Subjects

This week has been a blast and it all started with a workshop that I gave in San Antonio, Texas for a group of 80 middle school teachers in all content areas from Math and Science to Woodworking and Nutrition. Yep! Everyone was there.

I walked in and was amazed to see so any tables all prepped for the day but also so many teachers. As you can see, the school was able to get the teachers set up with some seriously awesome materials to complete this workshop. Everyone got a stack like this below…

Supplies for INB Workshop

First thing we did was an icebreaker where we got to Save Fred from falling in the Artic Ocean. You can check out my blog post where I shared more information about that as well as the slides that you can use to do it in your classroom as well.

Fun with Save Fred

After a discussion on interaction and engagement we got Rockin’ and Rollin’ on creating some flippables for each content area. The ideas were just flowing and I couldn’t believe all the awesomeness as I was walking around and getting to know this group of teachers.

Creating Four Petal Flippables

Every teacher was creating throughout the entire workshop and I was so energized just through their excitement as we kept going. The ideas they were sharing in the content areas as well as across the campus definitely let me see how excited they were to start this semester with their Interactive Notebooks.

More Four Petal Flippables

I can’t wait to see some photos that they have coming to me with the ideas they were telling me. I will definitely be sharing those pictures with you as I get them on Facebook for sure.

Remember, if you are looking for a workshop in you area, check out my Workshops page and fill out a request. Remember, I travel and I love meeting my followers and helping others learn about the benefits of Interactive Notebooks.

Posted in Teaching | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Preparing to Exhibit at TMSA2014!

Many of you know I have gone to several conferences and presented here and there but I have NEVER had the opportunity to be an exhibitor. When Michele Luck of Michele Luck’s Social Studies asked me to help her in my home state of Texas you better bet I was there!

You may wonder what we are doing as a part of being an exhibitor. Michele goes around and represents Teachers Pay Teachers to let other teachers know about the amazing resources that they can find out there. She opens it up for TpT authors to jump in and be a part of the group by sending in little goodies for teachers to help market their stores.

You can see from our first day of work, we were hard at work preparing goodie bags (you can see some in the background) containing roughly 20 different teachers materials. Talk about assembly line processes at it’s best!

TMSA Goodie Bags Prep

After about 3 hours of work on Tuesday we were able to completely stuff around 200 bags. It then took another 6 hours on Wednesday (I slept in a bit so I didn’t help the entire time) to complete the stuffing of 500 total bags, use a sticker to tape them down and then pack them up in the boxes. And VOILA we are done and ready to take them to the exhibit table for Thursday-Saturday!

TMSA Goodie Bags 2

Make sure you are following me on Instagram (@4mulaFun) so that you get regular updates from the Texas Middle School Association Conference as well as Facebook for some more short updates over the next few days.

Posted in Teaching | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Made it Monday: Winter Fred Icebreaker and Conference Prep

This past weekend while preparing for my latest Interact with Me and Engage Me workshop in San Antonio, Texas I was chatting with my blogging buddies Jamie and Meg about a way to get the teachers back in the mindset of learning as it as the first day back from the winter break. Hey, I remember that day and how it was always the hardest for me to get motivated.

After some quick discussion on finding something interactive and engaging (since that is what I talk about first in my workshop), it was set that I had to do the Save Fred activity. Well, since it was Winter, we had to winterize it a bit.

Save Fred- Winter EditionSave Fred- Winter Edition Rules

Once we went over the guidelines the teachers were able to look into the cup on their table and take out each of the supplies.

Winter Fred Icebreaker- It's FRED!

1 Gummi Worm per group because you only have 1 FRED!

Winter Fred Icebreaker- It's Fred's Life Preserver

1 Gummy Lifesaver per group because you only need one life preserver

Winter Fred Icebreaker- It's Fred's Boat

1 cup per group because there is only one boat

Saving Fred- Winter Edition- Paperclips

4 paper clips per group to use for the Saving of Fred

I will tell you that this is not only a great thing for teachers to do but it is also a great activity for you to use in your class to help get your students to think outside of the box. Check out MissMathDork’s post about how she used it in her classroom this year.

And you have to see how much the teacher’s enjoyed this. I was walking around and enjoying every minute of the discussions they were having.

Save Fred IcebreakerSave Fred Icebreaker 2

I will be posting more about the workshop later this week. Feel free to use the Saving Fred Winter edition pictures above if you want to use it in your classroom.

Monday Made It

I’m off to link up with Monday Made it over at Fourth Grade Frolics and check out what my other blogging teacher friends have been up to in the last month.

Posted in Teaching | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Pinteresting Middle School Teachers

Hello Bloggy Readers,

TWELVE middle school bloggers have gotten together to share with you their favorite Pinterest boards geared towards 6th-8th grade teachers.

We hope you enjoy this variety of ideas. Be sure to check out our other Pinterest boards while you are there.

Happy Pinning!

Kristy from 2 Peas and a Dog recommends this middle school Pinterest board:
Middle School Freebies

You can find other great things by Kristy by following this link:
2 Peas and Dog Blog

Pam from Desktop Learning Adventures recommends this middle school Pinterest board:
Hot off the Presses Latest Middle School Releases

You can find other great things by Pam by following this link:
Desktop Learning Adventures Blog

Ellie from Middle School Math Moments recommends this middle school Pinterest board:
Middle School Math

You can find other great things by Ellie by following this link:
Middle School Math Moments Blog

Jennifer from 4mulaFun recommends this middle school Pinterest board:
Success in Secondary

You can find other great things by Jennifer by following this link:
4mula Fun Blog

Sidney from Teaching is a Gift recommends this middle school Pinterest board:
Gifted Teaching Ideas

You can find other great things by Sidney by following this link:
Teaching is a Gift Blog

Kate from Kate’s 6th Grade Classroom Cafe recommends this middle school Pinterest board:
Grade 6 Tricks of the Trade

You can find other great things by Kate by following this link:
Kate’s 6th Grade Classroom Cafe Blog

Stephanie from The Creative Classroom recommends this middle school Pinterest board:
Anchor Charts

You can find other great things by Stephanie by following this link:
The Creative Classroom Blog

Jamie from MissMathDork recommends this middle school Pinterest board:
Math is Real Life

You can find other great things by Jamie by following this link:
Miss Math Dork Blog

Kim from Teaching Math by Hart recommends this middle school Pinterest board:
Number Sense

You can find other great things by Kim by following this link:
Teaching Math By Hart Blog

John from An Educator’s Life recommends this middle school Pinterest board:
Reading Ideas

You can find other great things by John by following this link:
An Educator’s Life Blog

Erin from Miss Lifesaver recommends this middle school Pinterest board:
School Stuff

You can find other great things by Erin by following this link:
Miss Lifesaver Blog

Tammy from Teaching FSL recommends this middle school Pinterest board:
Magnificent Middle School

You can find other great things by Tammy by following this link:
Teaching FSL Blog

Looking for other Middle School ideas? Check out the Middle School Blog Log

Posted in News, Teaching | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

One Little Word 2014: Making Progress

Since January 2011 I have participated in the One Little Word project started by Ali Edwards. Ali began this project a few years prior as a way to focus and dedicate ones life for a year to see the world around you in a different perspective.

That first year my word was Simplify and boy did I do a lot of that during that year. Not only was there physical purging from my house but there was also emotional purging as well. Definitely a year that allowed me to realize that in life it really is the simple things that matter the most.


January 2012 came and my new word was Open. After moving to a new piece of land in the country during the prior year I was totally out of my natural element. I needed to be open to what was to come and allow myself to take it in one piece at a time. That year was a very challenging year for my little family but we made it through it and we moved right into 2013.

Last year it was really hard for me to choose a word that spoke to me because I was going through so much emotionally so I really didn’t settle on a word until mid to late January when Change became evident. Hubby and I had moved back to town, we still owned our property 75 miles away, I started a new job, hubby started a new job and we were back near my family and that was just in January. The year proved to be full of changes and now that I have just wrapped up 2013 I am not hesitant to say that it was probably the best year of our marriage so far. We truly ¬†have embraced each change and been blessed beyond measure.


With all that being said, now it is time for a new word for 2014. As I sat down thinking about what my goals for 2014 were I kept thinking about hard word, determination, and the passion that I have right now and how i want it to continue. With that my word- Persistance- was born. Being persistent is more than being stubborn and bossy (although I do that well), but it is also about making sure things don’t fall through the cracks and staying on target with any project that I start. It’s so important as a business owner to keep the mojo going right along side the motivation but also just as important to take time for myself.¬†

I am hoping that the blessings from 2013 continue into 2014 so that I can continue to pass them on to others in a grander scale.

Have you thought of a word that might mean something to you that you want to guide you through this year? Feel free to share it with me as I love hearing from others and seeing what they have chose and why. If you have blogged about it, leave a link so that I can take a peek!
Posted in Discussion | Tagged , , | 1 Comment