Thursday, October 4, 2012

Interactive Notebook

This year I decided to start using Interactive Notebooks. First, I strongly believe that the Interactive Notebook will enable my students to become more creative, independent thinkers, and writers. Secondly, they will give structure to all my lessons, organization, and problem solving strategies. Moreover, they will allow me to gain insight into my students' abilities, opinions, understandings, and misconceptions about the lesson/skill at hand. Lastly, Interactive Notebooks are an easy way for me to incorporate differentiated instruction and meet the needs of every student in my class.

What Is An Interactive Notebook?
Interactive Notebooks are a valuable tool that can help strengthen student learning of curriculum through increased student interaction and participation. These notebooks are used in my class daily to help my students learn and keep track of their learning progress. This notebook uses both the right and left-brain hemispheres to help sort, categorize and be creative with newly attained knowledge. The left side of the notebook is used for writing down information given by me such as notes, vocabulary, formulas, examples, etc... The right side of the notebook shows the understanding and references the information from the right side through self worked examples, reflections, drawings, figures, etc... The benefits for my students are endless because they become more organized and can easily access their work and notes quickly.

Why Notebook?
Well for starters, I was tired of students not utilizing their notes, losing their papers, and not remembering the previously learned concepts. With the Math Interactive Notebook, students now have the opportunity to reflect on their strategies and assess their own learning. They can practice putting their knowledge into words both verbally and in writing. Futhermore, by using the notebook, instructional focus suddenly starts to shift from computation to problem solving and real-life application. The Interactive Notebook serves as a documented portfolio-like record of student growth and progress. Finally, the Interactive Notebook is an open-ended and naturally differentiated assessment tool.

Notebook Supplies:
  • Composition book
  • Highlighters (at least four different colors)
  • Glue Stickes
  • Colored Pencils (Basic 8 colors)
  • Scissors
Why Are Interactive Notebooks Different?

Left side pages are used to write down learn-able content
  • Class notes
  • Discussion notes
  • Textbook notes
  • Graded Test
Right side pages are used to process the right side notes with
  • Problem of the Day (warm up)
  • Independent Practice Problems
  • Graphic Organizers (Frayer Model, Foldables, Venn Diagrams...)
  • Glued Assignments
  • Glued Quiz/Test Corrections
The Pros and Cons

  • Everyone has the same notes in the same place.
  • Student engagement, responsibility, and organization
  • Students will actually use their notes.
  • Helpful for student review
  • Used for future math classes
  • Quick Assessment tool
  • Every year you don't have to re-invent the wheel.
  • For the teacher, it is a lot of work and planning to set up.
  • Stolen or lost notebooks
  • New students mid sememster
  • Damaged notebooks
One workbook that I recently purchased that has helped me tremendously when it comes to planning and creating foldables is Dinah Zike's Notebook Foldables for Spiral, Binders, & Composition Books. I highly recommend this workbook if you decide to start working with Interactive Notebooks.

I also created an Interactive Notebook PowerPoint Presentation that I use at the beginning of the school year when we start setting up all of our Notebooks. You can find my Powerpoint by visiting my teacher store at Teachers Pay Teachers and edit it to suit your needs. 

Here are samples of entries inside my Interactive Notebooks. 
(I have one notebook for each subject.)
Scientific Method Foldable.

            Place Value Foldable  

  Multiplication Strategies Foldable

Multiplication Properties Foldable

Multiplication & Division Fact Family House (Door Opens!)

Chapter Vocabulary Foldable with Examples

Algebraic Expressions

Character Traits & Story Evidence

Character Traits


  1. very nice! This is something I had hoped to do beginning this year with my schooling at home students. However, we were trying the approach of the program that was provided...and had too much on "my" plate. I say mine, because I agree that it takes quite of bit of prep time at the beginning. Finding your post makes me want to start right now! :-)

    1. Hi Amber,
      I found the interactive notebook to be very helpful and useful. My students used it as an extension of their learning. They also used their notebooks to help them study before a test. Besides math, my students kept a science interactive notebook and a writer's notebook. I'll be adding a post about them in the near future. Good luck in creating and implementing yours.

  2. I am planning on implementing this next year. I can't wait to read more about how this worked for you this year.

    Think, Wonder, & Teach

    1. Thanks Misty,
      Please drop by again, I promise to add more useful info. and resources in the near future. This summer I will be adding posts to my blog. :)

  3. hi i would love to do this with my home schooled children ....could you please tell me where you found the printables you used in you book...thanks mary

    1. Hello, keeping an interactive notebook is very easy. Many of the printables in my notebook I made myself on the computer, however I also purchased the workbook "Dinah Zike's Notebook Foldables" and I found their foldables to be very useful and easy to print. The link to this workbook is in my Interactive Notebook Post. I'll be posting more great resources during the summer. Thanks for dropping by!

  4. I'm just getting in to Interactive Notebooks and I found your post through Pinterest. This summer I'm totally revamping my idea of how my kids will keep their notebooks and I love how you set up your math notebook. I'll be using your ideas as a great reference for myself! Thank you! I hope you can check out my blog sometime.


    Teaching with Ms. Mel

    1. Hi Mel,
      This year I was really bad about keeping up with my blog. I wish I would have brought a sample of my math interactive notebook home so that I can photograph some of the foldables I created. I left my sample in my classroom. I promise to post a follow page to the math interactive notebook once I return to my room in August. This year, I promised myself to make the time to write in my blog and share all my ideas and resources. Please drop by again in the future. I will also love to drop by your blog. Thanks for the invite. Heidy

  5. Love your ideas! I am addicted to interactive notebooks in all subjects. I teach 3rd grade, and I find I have to go very slow in the beginning. But once they get the hand of it, it become and awesome resource that they can use throughout the year. Thank you for sharing!

    Teaching With Moxie

  6. Great idea, thanks for sharing! when you return to your room in August, is it possible that you could unbind one of these and put it through the copier/scanner and sell it on tpt or something? I want to start this with my 4th gr math students this year but no one on my campus has done it before.. so all I have are random pins from pinterest (which is how I saw a page of yours) and ex parts from workshops. Each is just a part of another part. I also found parts on TPT too... but I have yet to find a whole year, rather than try to fit each teachers ideas together and have gaps and overlap, I would like a better plan for my first year to try this- so I don't make it more complicated and give up on it before it really had a chance. Or if you ever find the kids getting ready to recycle one at the end of the year, you could prob make a bonus check. I know I would buy one lol. Is there a specific teacher professional book you bought that gave you the ideas for each math lesson topic? If so, I would love the ISBN # Thanks

  7. Thank you for sharing these! I will be using several of them this year in our math notebooks!

    Simply 2nd Resources

  8. Love this! What program do you use?

  9. We Hold our Tutors to a Higher Standard, and Pay our Tutors More Fairly, than nearly any other Tutoring Company.Thus, we have Better (and more Experienced) Tutors.We accept only the top tutor applicants, and will never compromise our selectivity in order to artificially inflate our ranks. In addition, every member of the Team is required to have recently scored in the 95th percentile or above on any standardized test that he/she teaches.Math Tutor Austin, Math Tutor Atlanta, Math Tutor Houston, Math Tutor Seattle.
    Math Tutor Las Vegas | Tutor for kids Las Vegas | Math Tutor Charlotte | Math Tutor Phoenix | Math Tutor Hawaii | Math Tutor Los Angeles | Math Tutor Boston | Math Tutor New York | Math Tutor Denver | Math Tutor Chicago | Math Tutor | Science Tutor Las Vegas |

  10. I wish more teachers would do stuff like this, especially high school teachers. I think it would make learning different parts of a subject, especially for students like me, SO much easier.

  11. Is there anyway you can share any more?? I love this! I used it today... so helpful for someone new to math!

    Mrs. Raterman

  12. I really enjoy using interactive notebooks as well. I was wondering how you use you vocabulary notebook? Is it for all subjects in one notebook? Thanks
    Mrs. Magnusson