Modelling books are a way of recording and sharing our everyday and ongoing learning. They feature in many New Zealand primary school classrooms. A collaborative resource they record our ideas and our collective thinking. They help make learning more visible and illustrate what success will look like. Already firmly embedded in our pedagogical practice when OneNote Class Notebooks were introduced to our school, the chance to create even more efficient and effective digital modelling books became a reality.
Why OneNote makes modelling books even better!
Modelling books serve many purposes. They allow us to record our discussions and ideas visually. We use these to solve problems together and to share our thinking as we develop conceptual understanding. The powerful combination of a class notebook and digital ink allows us to collaborate and share much more easily than ever before. Now we can record our ideas at the same time, ensuring more time for discussion and analysis of these ideas.
They help promote a sense of shared responsibility for learning by encouraging all to participate. Using the functionality of the collaboration space means we can record all of the groups ideas not just the teachers. Recorded ideas are valued ideas. There is a definite sense of wanting and needing to discover new learning together.
Modelling books help illustrate learning over time. We can see how concepts are linked to previous and subsequent ones and that effective learning is about building on and strengthening these links. Rather than flipping back pages we can see learning at a glance via page titles and tabs. Finding previous learning and accessing resources is easy.
Traditional Modelling Books
Modelling books are a shared resource where students and teachers construct learning together. They are an important record of the work that gets done in classrooms. Traditionally modelling books are kept in are in scrapbook form and stored in boxes for students and teachers to access as needed.
n our classrooms we have modelling books for recording each group’s learning in reading, writing and math. Each teaching session begins with us referring back to our previous lesson so we can consider where we were at, and which concepts we thought we needed to work on next. Our focus learning intention is recorded and together we will co-construct success criteria.
Modelling books also help to keep our conversations focussed on the learning and stop us wandering too far from the intended learning. Having our learning intention front and centre means we refer back regularly throughout a lesson - are we there yet? Are we getting there? What is it we need to do now?
As a teacher I also find them a valuable record of where we got up to, and what needs to be tackled next. Each lesson typically ends with a plenary discussion about the learning, often students will indicate how well they understand and which criteria needs further attention. A great start for planning subsequent lessons, but also an important source of evidence of an individual student’s progress over time.
Using a traditional physical modelling book students could revisit work anytime throughout the school day. There might be slight delays if others needed it too. The use of the OneNote Class Notebook means that this learning is shared instantly with everyone in the class. Easily accessible from any device in the room, and beyond, now we can all see our work, all the time.
One of the unintended benefits is the way OneNote helps us to deprivatise teaching and learning. Our students can now see the work of other groups more easily. They can see the pathway ahead with Illustrated examples of what work at the next level looks like. This increased visibility has been invaluable for teachers too. As we begin our journey of working more collaboratively in Innovative Learning Environments, sharing class notebooks and developing modelling books together actively encourages ongoing conversations about effective practice.
More time to do what we do best!
OneNote saves significant administration time and hours of lesson preparation time. Our class note books means our students don’t have to hunt for resources and materials anymore. The learning we have done is preserved so they can revisit whenever they need to. We can get on with business of learning. We have more time to do what we do best, teach!