When I was in school we took notes on loose leaf paper that MAYBE made it home with us that night. There wasn’t any organization in my notes, and I could barely read what was written on them when there was. Now that I’m a teacher, I’ve seen the power of using an interactive notebook (INB) in my class.
Yes to Interactive Notebooks (INB’s)
- The research is in, and using graphic organizers helps students compartmentalize new learning.
- Organization is a nightmare for many K-12 students. Using a graphic organizer and having them glued into a central place teaches organization.
- Graphic organizers allow the students to be creative while still allowing the teacher to maintain some control of what information is important.
- More is not always better. I’ve learned that teachers need to be succinct in order to be effective. Graphic organizers and interactive notebooks are clear means to that end.
- Using an interactive notebook is a lot more fun for students. Taking notes shouldn’t be a drag, and with interactive notebooks it isn’t.
Some “Best Practices” for INBs
- Keep a model INB for students to reference whenever they want. This can also help out those students who missed class!
- Let students draw pictures and make notes that have meaning for them. For example, I teach a unit on the properties of minerals. When I think of luster I think of a gold bar shining in the sun, but my 140 students may have completely different images in their heads about what luster is to them.
- Glue a manila envelope into the inside back cover. If any students haven’t finished by end of class, they can keep their pieces in the envelope until they have more time.
- Try a table of contents! Have your students keep a running list in the front cover of their notebooks that lists important templates and where they can be found.
- Set a timer. If your students seem like they’re taking a long time to cut and glue, use a timer to keep them on their toes.
- Seeing a lot of mess on your floors? Keep small plastic bins on your tables so students can throw trash there instead of all over the room.
- If you have the space, consider using milk-crate-size bins to store your notebooks in your classroom. You can label them and save time if you draft a student to hand them out at the start of class.
At the end of the day, the best best practice you can have is this: use what works for you and your students. You want a notebook that students can use and want to use. The best INB is a functioning INB.
Where can I find Interactive Notebook templates?
Throughout the years I have created INB pages and bundles for every one of the 5E Lessons I sell. I started making them to use in my classroom. These will save you a ton of time and you can use them for just about everything you teach.
If you’re looking for specific lesson INBs, you can find them in my 5E Lessons! They’re in section 3 – Explanation. The great thing is there are paper versions and there are digital versions in the presentations that you can push out to your students in your LMS.
I’d love to hear your experience with INBs in your classroom. Feel free to share any tips you have found helpful on my Facebook page.
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