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Interactive Notebooks

A few years ago I decided to start using Interactive Notebooks in my classroom. First, I strongly believe that the Interactive Notebook will enable my students to become more creative, independent thinkers, and writers. Secondly, they will give structure to all my lessons, organization, and problem solving strategies. Moreover, they will allow me to gain insight into my students' abilities, opinions, understandings, and misconceptions about the lesson/skill at hand. Lastly, Interactive Notebooks are an easy way for me to incorporate differentiated instruction and meet the needs of every student in my class.

What Is An Interactive Notebook?
Interactive Notebooks are a valuable tool that can help strengthen student learning of curriculum through increased student interaction and participation. These notebooks are used in my class daily to help my students learn and keep track of their learning progress. This notebook uses both the right and left-brain hemispheres to help sort, categorize and be creative with newly attained knowledge. The left side of the notebook is used for writing down information given by me such as notes, vocabulary, formulas, examples, etc... The right side of the notebook shows the understanding and references the information from the right side through self worked examples, reflections, drawings, figures, etc... The benefits for my students are endless because they become more organized and can easily access their work and notes quickly. 

Why Notebook?
Well for starters, I was tired of students not utilizing their notes, losing their papers, and not remembering the previously learned concepts. With the Math Interactive Notebook, students now have the opportunity to reflect on their strategies and assess their own learning. They can practice putting their knowledge into words both verbally and in writing. Futhermore, by using the notebook, instructional focus suddenly starts to shift from computation to problem solving and real-life application. The Interactive Notebook serves as a documented portfolio-like record of student growth and progress. Finally, the Interactive Notebook is an open-ended and naturally differentiated assessment tool.

Notebook Supplies:
  • Composition book
  • Highlighters (at least four different colors)
  • Glue Stickes
  • Colored Pencils (Basic 8 colors)
  • Scissors

Why Are Interactive Notebooks Different?

Left side pages are used to write down learn-able content
  • Class notes
  • Discussion notes
  • Textbook notes
  • Graded Test

Right side pages are used to process the right side notes with 
  • Problem of the Day (warm up)
  • Independent Practice Problems
  • Graphic Organizers (Frayer Model, Foldables, Venn Diagrams...)
  • Glued Assignments
  • Glued Quiz/Test Corrections

The Pros and Cons

  • Everyone has the same notes in the same place. 
  • Student engagement, responsibility, and organization
  • Students will actually use their notes.
  • Helpful for student review
  • Used for future math classes
  • Quick Assessment tool
  • Every year you don't have to re-invent the wheel.
  • For the teacher, it is a lot of work and planning to set up.
  • Stolen or lost notebooks
  • New students mid sememster
  • Damaged notebooks
One workbook that I recently purchased that has helped me tremendously when it comes to planning and creating foldables is Dinah Zike's Notebook Foldables for Spiral, Binders, & Composition Books. I highly recommend this workbook if you decide to start working with Interactive Notebooks.

I also created an Interactive Notebook PowerPoint Presentation that I use at the beginning of the school year when we start setting up all of our Notebooks. You can find my Powerpoint by visiting my teacher store at Teachers Pay Teachers and edit it to suit your needs. 

Here are samples of entries inside my Interactive Notebooks.
(I have one notebook for each subject.)

Scientific Method Foldable.

            Place Value Foldable  

 Multiplication Strategies Foldable

Multiplication Properties Foldable

Multiplication & Division Fact Family House (Door Opens!)

Chapter Vocabulary Foldable with Examples

Algebraic Expressions

Character Traits & Story Evidence

Well there you have it. That's how I use Interactive Notebooks in my classroom. Leave me a comment and let me know how it works for you. 

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