17 August 2015

Interactive Notebook Page: Performance & Proficiency

Teaching with interactive notebooks has made me very intentional about how and what I teach.

It makes me consider what belongs in a reference resource for a class with no textbook. It makes me break down information into one-page bites and figure out the most direct ways to represent that information.

But interactive notebooks should help students become intentional too, and to that end, I like to start with a page on proficiency objectives.

Performance & Proficiency in the Classroom

While I am not technically officially qualified to evaluate Proficiency, I try to hit the highlights of what it takes to get some sort of impression of where students are performing in order to approximate their proficiency level.

Of course it would be pretty silly of me to assess something not based on instruction for class, I think I can kind of hit "spontaneous" with Integrated Performance Asessments (IPAs) and then "broad content and context" and maybe even "sustained performance" with some portfolio samples.

What students need in their interactive notebooks is a ready reference to understand what proficiency will look like for them. 

Proficiency Page Evolution

My first foray into interactive notebooks--and explicit proficiency exploration--I ripped off the bike analogy from Srta. Barragán et al. However, the level descriptors really didn't fit the levels I'm dealing with in Spanish I (we are not going to hit Intermediate Mid in one semester.)

I tried presenting proficiency levels a different way in Spanish II, pinching a few samples from a practice IPA to align with AAPPL rubrics. I'd be hard pressed to get anything for illustration beyond N2 with my brand new Spanish I novices.

Now I had delusions of grandeur and setting up lit circles this year for my little padawans, merrily cramming them full of all of the documents I've been poring over the last five years to figure out what a novice is. But that's kind of the opposite of focusing their attention or establishing clear targets.

After digging through Proficiency Guidelines, Performance Guidelines, Can-dos, and rubrics, I've narrowed my evaluation tools to two that the kiddos needed in their ready reference:

That's a lot of information to fit on one page! But it needs to be condensed to be accessible.

AAPPL Foldables

See more Spanish interactive notebook examples
on my class Instagram!
My expectations for performance levels progress as the course progresses, and the students need to see their targets laid out both visually and verbally.

So I played with foldables to figure out how to squeeze it all onto one page:
  1. Visuals to represent proficiency stages
  2. Breakdown of graduated grading progression
  3. AAPPL descriptors
I'm pretty pleased with my little baby flaps foldable! The babies 1) indicate how the students' linguistic mobility will increase and 2) align with brief descriptions of each level N1-I1.

And when you open the baby flaps? We split the blank space into 3 columns, then into 5 rows by baby, and discussed what expectations should be for each six weeks, i.e. how to get a B. Both Spanish I classes agreed that N2 was a decent place to start and N3 should get an A at first, but that it would take I1 to get an A by the end of the semester (though we may revisit our ending expectations at a later date.)

I also like how I got the accordion of condensed AAPPL standards to fold out in IPA order--interpreting, interpersonal, presentational. We'll look at those more closely as we gear up for our first IPA in a couple of weeks.

Can-Do Cone

Flash the answer key on Nearpod
after everyone has sorted!
For portfolios I needed to work in Can-Do key terms (I've got 12 separate rubrics for those--not so notebook friendly), but organize them in a way that was both simple and useful. So I went through all twelve rubrics that I put together on ForAllRubrics (look in the library under @SraSpanglish!) and picked out the Can-Do key words that I thought kiddos would need to keep in mind as they complete their portfolios and I sorted them like so:

  • what they DO
  • what they do it WITH
  • what they do it ABOUT

I'm also going to have the kiddos pick out key words, so they get some experience navigating ForAllRubrics AND so they can make some deeper connections. To group them, I whipped up some little sorting cards real quick that said leer, escuchar, hablar, and escribir and some table pictures with books, headphones, microphones, and pens. Then each group opens up the Novice Mid, Novice High, and Intermediate Low rubrics for their designated skill and jots down the words they think are important on some big ol' chart paper.

We'll narrow down the can-do rubric key words with some open-ended Nearpod questions:

  1. What VERBS are important for your skill?
  2. What sort of TEXTS do you use or make?
  3. What TOPICS will you engage with?

I decided DO and WITH for each skill would fit nicely in four little columns under the AAPPL foldables, but that I wanted them to do something more with the ABOUTs, so I made a triangle page with a bunch of little slips with all the different ABOUTs.

We'll highlight the different levels and different colors and talk about how much time each level usually takes, and then I'll let them work in pairs to start--but NO GLUE until we go over the right levels for each!

Stay tuned

We'll be finalizing our pages today, so stay tuned to my class Instagram to see how the pages turn out. I'll also be uploading my files to TeachersPayTeachers and collecting more posts on an Interactive Notebook Pages page!

#5 in the Top 5 posts of 2015


  1. This is wonderful!!! I would LOVE to have my students complete this in their ISN's. I didn't see a copy of these foldables on your TPT site. Will you be making them available?


    1. Hey, Erin! Thanks for your interest! I am still working on refining them before uploading--already have that swamped feeling 3 weeks into the year! There should be a few up in the next week or two!

  2. Love the proficiency foldable!