Saturday, August 9, 2014

You Oughta Know About Setting Up and Organizing Interactive Notebooks

Have you jumped on board with interactive notebooks yet?   

Interactive notebooks are a great way to have students organize information, preview assignments, record their thoughts, keep a portfolio of their work, make connections, explain concepts and demonstrate understanding in a creative and meaningful way.  

Interactive notebooks allow students to record ideas and concepts visually and linguistically which seems to enhance the retention of information.  

One of the biggest benefits I have personally seen with interactive notebooks is the amount of engagement and pride that students seem to have in their notebook.  The work is personal and meaningful.  

 Setting Up an Interactive Notebook

There are many ways a teacher can set up interactive notebooks.  A teacher may choose to have different subjects in different notebooks.  Or they may choose to focus on a single subject and just have one interactive notebook.  If you are trying to save on the cost of the notebooks, you may want to include more than one subject in a notebook.   I have seen this done by dividing notebooks into sections.  I have also seen this done with one subject going from the front cover towards the center, flipping the notebook over, and having another subject go from the back cover towards the center. 

If you plan on using a lot of foldable graphic organizers (rather that just writing in the notebook), I would suggest you use a composition book that is non-spiral.  The spines are stronger and they do not tend to lose pages.  

If you have students who rotate to you for the subject you want to use notebooks in, I would suggest a tub in your classroom that the students grab their notebooks from when the arrive and place them back in as they leave.  If you want students to be able to recognize their notebook easily you can attach a piece of bright ribbon as a bookmark or put a piece of duct tape on the binding to distinguish one notebook from another. 

For each unit I have students skip a page.  When we complete the unit the students return to that page and make a title page for that unit.  

 I usually have them tab each section with a post-it note so that it is easier for me to find the section when I am grading.  

I also suggest gluing an envelope to the back cover.  Students can place lose items they are working on in the envelope for safe keeping.  

I have my students number their pages and include a table of contents as we go.  

I set up my teacher's notebook ahead of time.  If I have folds or cuts to make, I usually do that ahead of time too, even if I will model the making of the fold again with the class.  This way I can put my teacher's notebook under the doc camera so that students can see what it is suppose to look like.  I often cover some of my information up with post-it notes or index cards so that the students cannot just copy my notebook.  

I do grade the interactive notebooks and I have a whole blog post about that.  You can read it here.  Grading Interactive Notebooks

You may be interested in my 

Bundle of Interactive Notebook Flaps and Folds

Or one of my specialty packs 

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