As many people who know me know, I love interactive notebooks. I’ve been working with them for years and refining them within my classroom. I’ve also been creating interactive notebook examples for my students to use throughout their own books and getting into the philosophy and construction of interactive notebook ideas. It had never dawned on me before that many people may not be as familiar with interactive notebooks as I am, and it wasn’t until a friend of mine came to me perplexed about what an interactive notebook even was, that I decided to write this blog post and guide and address some of the common issues that many people have with interactive notebooks. I even wrote THE Guide to Interactive Notebooks, which you can download here.
Interactive Notebook Ideas
An interactive notebook allows students to be independent and creative thinkers and writers. It takes class notes and other activities and allow students to process the information presented in class in their own way and in their own style. Interactive notebooks can incorporate many different forms of learning so that all modalities are being met, and they allow for many creative ideas so that learning is fresh and always changing.
Interactive Notebook Setup
The interactive notebook setup can be as simple or as elaborate as you wish it to be, but I have found over years of experience, that the more time I take at the beginning, the less frustration I have throughout the process. Therefore, I recommend looking at the pros and cons of each type of notebook and choosing the one that best fits your style and needs. I’ve even gone as far as making a notebook from individual sheets of notebook paper as we slowly grew our sheets into a notebook over the course of the school year. In hindsight, this is a method I would not recommend.
Next, there are things like the interactive notebook table of contents, an envelope for pieces and parts of foldable crafts, a bookmark, and page numbering. Each of these items are effective and helpful in their own right, but none of them are critical to the process if things must get rolling and teaching must commence. If you’d like help with them; however, I go over each concept in THE Guide to Interactive Notebooks, available here.
Then comes the examples, and the foldable crafts, and the templates that fill the pages; this is where the magic happens. Interactive notebook examples can include writing pieces from anything from fiction to nonfiction, letters to stories. They can include card sorts and Venn diagrams, foldable crafts, matching exercises, maps, and more. There are over 1000 foldable templates for interactive notebooks alone.
Interactive Notebook Expectations
Ultimately, however, the effectiveness of the interactive notebook will come down to the teacher and how effective they are at guiding their interactive notebook time. Just as with any subject, if the teacher is nervous, unsure, or shows an air of disdain, the students will sense that and run with it. The teacher must be calm and collected, organized and efficient, energized and excited for the interactive notebook to be effective. No one wants kids cutting and gluing their lives away, so ideas must be implemented appropriately in order to ensure that students maximize their learning time.
If you’d like more information on how to set-up and run your interactive notebooks, I have THE free 13-page interactive notebook guide. It’s available here if you would like more guidance and support with this process.
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