Our new website is on its way–

by Rhonda Meyer Vivian December 17, 2015 News 0 Comments

dinah.com_logo_cmyk_Edit on H

Notebooking Central is one of several websites representing the products, ideas and strategies of Dinah Zike. Though the creation of separate websites for different brands made some sense in the past, it now makes more sense to pull everything together into one spot. In spring 2016, a new website ( will encompass this website (, as well as that of Dinah-Might Adventures, LP (the current and Dinah Zike Academy, LP ( By consolidating websites, we’ll be able to provide more resources for you, including additional photos and videos. We’ll also introduce a new product line especially for early childhood educators, parents, grandparents, and others who interact with young learners. Called LOCOmotion, this line will offer interactive visual and kinesthetic tools for PK-2nd learners and their teachers.

Sign up for updates at–we never sell or share email addresses–and check in with us to watch knowledge unfold.

2015 Conference Template Ideas–Formative Assessment–A Piece of Cake

by Rhonda Meyer Vivian February 24, 2015 News, Promotions 0 Comments

Last year, we offered content area templates at conferences, free for download from our Notebooking Central store, along with ideas for application. This year, we decided to focus on formative assessment, and selected a template from our Formative Assessment booklet (Item # NC-X101).Formative Assessment

The templates in this booklet are designed to engage and encourage student metacognition and authentic response to daily academic work. The templates are sorted into four suggested categories of usage:

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Lit., Literacy, and Learning Across the Curriculum with Notebook Foldables – Judith Youngers, PhD

Hi, similarly to The Book Whisperer, Donalyn Miller, I tend to read several tradebooks for youth or young adults weekly.  My other passion is Foldables®, and I help design resource books and templates for Dinah here at DMA as well as work with teachers at the Dinah Zike Academy and on the road at conferences.  I also work with students at local schools and at the Comfort Library.

This post is the first I plan to do on a regular basis going forward.  Each post will involve my sharing of a quality tradebook for elementary or secondary readers with corresponding Notebook Foldables® that I have created and tried out with teachers and with students at different levels.  Each book I share will have reading, writing, and cross-curricular connections and be tied to standards-based skills and concepts.

Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate

The book I have chosen for this post is Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate (2007), a moving and memorable insider view of an eleven year-old newcomer and outsider in this country.  The high impact book, written in prose poem style received the SCBWI 2008 Golden Kite Award for Best Fiction, the Bank Street 2008 Josette Frank Award, a Book Sense Children’s Pick and the SLJ Best Book of the year awards.  I love sharing this book and rereading it myself many times over.  It’s appropriate for 4th grade through senior high readers.


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What’s Your Favorite Notebooking Central Template? – North and South

It is very difficult to pick a top favorite out of all my favorite NBC templates, but North and South (pg 43), from U.S. History Pre-history to Reconstruction, ranks way up there.  I use it in many of my workshops as well with my university Elementary Social Studies class.

US History: Pre-History to Reconstruction

One simple line marked
the country into two directions.

This template has so many diverse uses.  It can be used to show how a concept cut can be important to the theme. This cut is not straight, but follows the surveying line of Mr. Mason and Mr. Dixon. One simple line marked the country into two directions. Although the title mentions people and economy, the concept can be greatly expanded into culture, weather, speech, etc.  It fits nicely on notebook paper.  Construction Note:  It is difficult, especially for young students, to cut once it is glued on the paper.  The two almost right angles tend to tear apart.  I cut it first, and then glue one side down.  When I place the other side I leave enough space so that the line can really be seen.  While this goes against the Fold/Glue/Cut process, the students do not get as frustrated while making it.

Useful for many levels

Being a resident of Pennsylvania, I have seen the sign indicating the Mason-Dixon Line, and this makes the Foldable® even more significant.  I have used this template with 5th graders as well as university students.  Many of the older students were not aware that the line was so close to them and even how it was formed.  The information that the teacher asks students to record underneath the tab will change according to the level of instruction that is needed and given. For example, students might be asked to list states to the north and south of the line underneath the tabs; more advanced students might be asked to explore the economies of north and south and the impact of the Mason-Dixon line on interstate trade.


Many tasks, same template

Other writing tasks might include:

1.  Write about why this is called the Mason-Dixon line. Give a short bio about Mr. Mason under one tab and about Mr. Dixon under the other tab.
2.  List the names of well-known people who, at the time, lived below or above this line geographically.
3.  Think about the current time, list differences between the people living above and below this line. (Use a Venn diagram Foldable® to compare and contrast.)
4.  Thinking about the Civil War, list the battles that were fought under the tab of its location.

What is written under these two tabs is directly related to the topic being studied at the time. This purposeful cut Foldable® is used in lessons about geography, history, current events, culture, famous people, the Civil War, and more. It lends itself to so many topics and can certainly be used more than once in the instruction.
This template brings one of those “light bulb” moments when the students suddenly understand how a line on map can mean so many things.  The Foldable really makes the history being taught to come alive!


Response to Research: Embodied Cognition

by Rhonda Meyer Vivian December 04, 2014 Resources 0 Comments

“Is the body the next breakthrough in education tech?”

A recent (7/9/14) article in The Hechinger Report caught our interest.  Thanks to Deb Vannatter in Indiana for pointing it out to us!  Titled “Is the body the next breakthrough in education tech?,” author Annie Murphy Paul explored the perspective known as embodied cognition and how it is playing out in education technology.  Very simply, embodied cognition is the notion that we “think with and through our bodies.”

Embodied cognition can be thought of as the process by which we all learn to do precise muscular activities consistently and accurately, like walking.  Recently, this idea is finding some traction in the classroom.  An example from the rollercoasterresearch of Margaret Chan and John Black, both of Teachers College, Columbia University illustrates the concept:  ” . . .physically manipulating an animation of a roller coaster helps students understand the workings of gravity and energy better than static onscreen images and text.  Interestingly, this embodied exercise becomes even more helpful as the challenge of understanding grows greater: when students are younger, or the problem posed is more difficult.”

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Things I’m Grateful to See in Student Journals

by Rhonda Meyer Vivian November 26, 2014 News 1 Comment

There are many student journals or interactive student notebooks that don’t seem very special on the surface, especially when we know our students well.  I’ve been fortunate to see many examples of student notebooks from students I don’t know around the U.S., at different grade levels and in different content areas, from teachers who have brought examples when they attend the Dinah Zike Academy or visit us at a conference exhibit hall. Most of these are in the form of bound composition books that get thicker as the unit/school year continues.  Though I use the terms interchangeably here, I realize that in many classrooms, the terms journaling and notebooking are used to reflect different processes.

What I am Thankful for in Notebooking

In this week of gratitude, it seems fitting to share some of the wonderful things I’ve seen in student notebooks.  So here goes: Read more…

Notebook Foldables in the Classroom – 5th Grade Science

Letter from a Parent

“My 5th grader brought her science notebook home a few months after school started, and I was completely blown away by it.  It was very interactive and full of foldables.  She was so proud of it and went through it with me and explained every single page.  While showing it to me, she told me that science was her favorite subject.  She had never been so enthusiastic about science, so I think her notebook had a lot to do with it!”


What are your students taking home from your classroom? How do they explain what they’re learning?

Perspectives on Notebooking: High School Science

From Veteran Science Teacher, LaVonda Popp

So you teach science and, “Yay!,” -fist bump- you even teach high school science (Biology, Chemistry, IPC, Physics, etc.).  Congratulations, because you have one of the best jobs EVER!  And you feel like this every single day you walk in the classroom, right?  I know, I’ve been there, and some days you just want to run screaming out of your classroom.  Students lose their notes, didn’t bring an assignment, whine about taking notes, and, quite frankly, just don’t want to be in NBFclass.  That’s any class, not just your class. How do you engage them?  How do you get that ownership of knowledge?  How do you promote accountability?  Organization?  Well ……………. have you tried using Notebook Foldables®?

It might be a life-changing experience, not only for you, but also for your students.  Just the visual, kinesthetic part is enough to get them to at least pay attention – and you will take anything, even a couple of minutes, right? – but then, THEN when they realize you are providing them with a tool to make learning purposeful and meaningful, all of a sudden you are “The Bomb Dot Com” and they love coming to your class.  Now, don’t get me wrong, they don’t really care if it is purposeful and meaningful, but they do, for the most part, understand that at some point in time they will need to be able to remember or be able to retrieve the knowledge you are bestowing upon them.

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