If you are wondering how to use interactive notebooks in the classroom, you’re in the right place: 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 maintaining a neat notebook is crucial
– Creating an “Interactive Notebook Rules” page as a class (We discussed “What are the expectations?”) and gluing it inside our notebook
We were able to get started with interactive notebooks once my students understood why we would be using these notebooks and how they should be properly used.
How to Keep Interactive Notebooks Organized
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Some interactive notebook activities may contain many pieces. Here are some ways to help your students 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 record the 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 to Use Interactive Notebooks for grammar
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, such as contractions, complex sentences or types of nouns. On the first day of the week, my students add a page to their notebooks focusing on that grammar skill.
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 students? Grab the ‘Parts of Speech’ activity for free by clicking below!
free parts of speech activity
Your students will love this parts of speech activity! It’s a great way to try out interactive notebooks in your class.
More Interactive Notebook Ideas
If you’re ready to try interactive notebooks, click here to grab my Grammar and Language Interactive Notebook.
You might also like my post about addition and subtraction interactive notebooks! I hope you love using interactive notebooks in your classroom as much as I do!