How to Use Interactive Notebooks in the Classroom

Interactive Notebooks are a staple in my class. I use them across subject areas-- reading, grammar, math, and science. They are perfect for note-taking and direct practice. Plus, they're an amazing reference tool generated completely by the student!

Why use interactive notebooks?

Interactive notebooks allow students the freedom to express themselves and visualize important concepts. They serve as a note-taking tool and personal resource. Students are able to practice the skills taught inside the notebook and keep the activities as a reference tool.

How to introduce interactive notebooks to your elementary students:

After using interactive notebooks for many years, there is one major thing i've learned:
  Set the Expectations!

I have my own neatly organized notebook that I use for modeling purposes. Before diving straight into notebooks at the beginning of the year, we spend 2 weeks doing the following:

-Practicing how to properly cut pieces of paper
-Practicing how to properly apply glue to a piece of paper
-Modeling how to add headings to our pages 
-Numbering each of our notebook pages
-Adding a table of contents to the beginning of our interactive notebook
-Discussing WHY maintining a neat notebook is crucial
-Creating a 'Interactive Notebook Rules' page as a class (We discussed "What are the expectations?") and glueing it inside our notebook

We were able to get started once my kiddos understood why we would be using these notebooks and how they should be properly used.

Keeping interactive notebooks organized:

Some interactive notebook activities may contain many pieces. Here are some ways to help your kiddos stay organized:

- Request each student to bring an empty pouch at the beginning of the year. This is a great place to store pieces that have been cut out and haven't been glued yet. I tried using ziplock bags for these pieces, but my students kept losing their bags. (10 boxes of ziplock bags later, I realized a pencil pouch was a better idea.) 

- Get a small garbage can for each table/group. I bought mine at the Dollar Tree and they're great! The table captain gets them from the shelf whenever we start a cutting activity. 

-Fill their caddies with supplies- this way students do not have to get up to get glue, scissors, crayons, etc. 

-Have students keep record of their skills on a Table of Contents glued at the beginning of the notebook. Every time they are creating a page for a new skill, they will record the name of the page along with its page number.

How do I use Grammar Notebooks in my classroom?

Grammar is one of my favorite things to teach! Therefore, our grammar notebook plays a big role in our everyday routine. Every week we focus in on a new grammar skill. On the first day of the week, my kiddos add a page to their notebook focusing on that grammar skill. (EX: contractions, complex sentences, types of nouns, etc.)
They are able to highlight, annotate, and design their page in a way that will help them visualize whatever the skill is that week. We discuss examples of the skill as a class and add them to our notebook page.

On Tuesday, students complete a paired activity and glue it into their notebook. Students now have a reference tool that they can use throughout the week and throughout the course of the school year. 

Want to try out an interactive notebook page with your kiddos? Grab the 'Parts of Speech' activity for free by clicking below!

I hope you love using interactive notebooks in your classroom as much as I do!

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  1. Replies
    1. I love this resource!! I have one question what do you put under the flap that says 'What words get abbreviated?"

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