Bright Idea - Easy Interactive Notebook Tabs and Mind-Blowing Tip!

Our reading notebooks are divided into sections instead of having a master table of contents. My coworker had hers divided up with adhesive labels, such as Avery, folded in half to create the tabs. One end of the label was on one side of the paper, and the other end was on the other side of the paper. When it was creased, it extended beyond the edge of the paper to create tabs. Then she wrote on the tabs. Fairly cheap and easy!

Well, my tabs had to be preprinted (of course), so off to the computer I went. I opened a label template in Word (gotta love Avery template 5160!) I highlighted all of the cells and centered them. Then I kept them highlighted and changed the orientation of the text. That's this little guy right here:

Then I chose my font and started typing. I used a font anywhere from 10 to 14 pt, and I left a blank line between the two titles on the label (so it would be labeled on the front and back of the tab).

This shows 18 labels.

Students each got a label, and I instructed them to stick on the left end so the the words are on the part hanging off the edge. Then I had them carefully turn the page, make a crease in the blank area between the two titles, then stick down the other side. I don't have a picture of that part of the process, so hopefully you can imagine what that looks like. Then I handed out the next tab and showed them how to stagger them down the side. I will say, some of them are a hot mess. Others got the hang of it and they look quite nice. Either way, they serve their purpose.

After I already set up my teacher reading notebook, I had a thought...

I stumbled upon this on a whim. Bit of space on a lamination sheet + two lonely labels = What if? But you're probably thinking, why in the world would I want to laminate labels?! My plan is to laminate my tabs to make them sturdier and more durable, but I'm sure there are other uses, too. Maybe a small desk name tag or maybe write-on/wipe-off surface on the front of something.

Here's how you do it. Either pre-print your labels or do blank ones if you're doing write-on/wipe-off. Laminate them as usual. Then cut apart the labels. You should be able to peel off the backing, leaving a label with a laminated surface. Then you can fold it in half for a tab or use it as you normally would as a label. Pretty cool, huh?

How to make your own tabs for your interactive notebooks and how to laminate them

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Apps and Websites for Your Classroom Library

I asked for recommendations for classroom library apps and websites, and my Facebook followers did not disappoint. There were five apps mentioned, so I decided to give them all a whirl to see which one fits my needs.

Scholastic Book Wizard Mobile - FREE
This is the app that a first tried. I got a box of books from a Scholastic book order, and I thought that I would give it a shot. I quickly got frustrated as books that I bought FROM THEM did not scan or appear in their database. The search option did not bring them up, either. Out of the 23 books I tested, it only found 18. If they could update their database, this one might actually be pretty decent because you can export your list for end-of-year inventory and such. It also has a pretty nice synopsis of each book.

Literacy Leveler - $3.99
This one is only an app. The library is pretty extensive - it found most of my books. I was able to search to find the rest. Within the app, you can sort by title, author, Lexile, DRA, and GRL. If you could export the list for inventory purposes, it would be awesome.

Level It Books - $3.99
This is also just an app. I was able to scan or search for 22 of the 23 books. This one also has an option to check in and out books. There are a few other features that I don't need, but there is no ability to export the list.

Book Retriever - $0.99
I couldn't get it to scan a single book. The connection kept failing. And I'm not even going to see if I can enter them manually. Next...

Classroom Organizer - FREE
This is an app and a {website}. I could scan or search for all 23 books. I can export the list to Excel. Books can be checked in and out. The app crashed a few times for me, so there's definite room for improvement.

One follower also mentioned that she purchased a {book scanner} on Amazon. While I am all for all things technology, at $100ish, I'm going to explore the other routes first. But I might just get one anyway, because it looks really fun...

UPDATE: I got one. It's a fun as it looks!

Feel free to comment with other apps and websites that I may have overlooked. The perfect one has to be out there somewhere!

Constitution Day - September 17

Constitution Day is quickly approaching! This is one holiday that sneaks up on me every year, and then I frantically look for something that I can use in isolation while I'm right in the middle of my Native American social studies unit.

This year, I'm going to address Constitution Day in reading instead of social studies. I wrote some close reading passages about the Constitution with second read, third read, and writing response activities. They are at {TpT} if you would like to do the activities with your class. I also included a basic how-to on close reading if you've never tried it with your class before.

I hope that it will come in handy for your last-minute Constitution Day planning!! And of course, any positive feedback left for me would be appreciated!

Happy Class

Very quick post.

I detest making seating charts. Like, really, really, really hate it. Another blogger (and I cannot for the life of me remember who...) blogged about {Happy Class}. Happy Class is a free website (you can upgrade for more options) that will create your seating chart for you. You can mark seating preferences (front of room, etc.) and mark which kids should and should not be seated near each other.

The only drawback to the free version is that you get only one room arrangement and one class roster. But if you are self-contained, then that shouldn't be an issue.