Setting up Routines with Interactive Notebooks

Taking time to set up your routines and explicitly teaching them to your students will not only pay off in the short term but also the long term. Students need the routine and I'm here to help! #interactivenotebooks #inb

Over the course of four years as I was growing in using Interactive Notebooks in my classroom, there was never a year I didn’t learn more about my process and how I wanted things to flow more smoothly for my classroom.

As a teacher we are not only in charge of making sure that each of our students are being taught the standards appropriate for their grade level but also in differentiated ways to meet their needs. This alone is why I started using Interactive Notebooks on a daily basis in my classroom because I was able to easily differentiate lessons based on individual students or groups.

Speaking from experience, you have to set up consistent routines in your classroom. Where will students get their supplies for the day? What if a supply runs out? Who replaces it? How/when will you be grading interactive notebooks? Where do interactive notebooks stay?


Are you interested in using Interactive Notebooks in your classroom but struggling with how you might fit it all in in a small 45 or 90 minute time block? After years of doing it in both time spans I am here to share with you some easy, actionable tips and strategies for effectively teaching with Interactive Notebooks without fail.Earlier this summer I wrote a blog post over at All Things Upper Elementary about being able to build a structure in your classroom that allows for you to use Interactive Notebooks regularly. Taking Time for INBs is a glimpse into my classroom for teachers to see how I structure lessons so that I can get the most out of the time frame (I had 48-52 minutes last year).

Pick Up Area

Picking up supplies as they walk in was important to me. This helped them build responsibility for their own learning in my classroom.


At each table there was a community tub of supplies as well as the Tidy Trash Tub that took care of all trash for each class period. Ain’t nobody got time for 28 students getting up out of their seats multiple times during class.

Manipulative and Supply Shelves

Supplies were stored in a central location that ALL STUDENTS knew about and only one person per group was able to replace items if needed. Glue stick dries up or glue bottle runs out, take care of it. Broken map pencil- grab a new one of that color and put the broken aside to be sharpened. Dried up marker- toss it and get a new one. INDEPENDENT and QUICK!

When it comes to grading Interactive Notebooks, I have always done a variety of strategies. I provide my students with a rubric so they know what standards I uphold them to on a regular basis each 6 week grading period. (It’s a free download by the way.)

Representing Decimals- Interactive Notebook Flippable, Practice and Journal

I have also done spot checks looking for specific things with lessons.  From this example that I showed the other day, one of those “spot checks” might be to make sure the journal question was answered completely. Based on the completeness of the journal answer I would determine on a scale of 0-10 where the students placed (10 being the best-complete, creative and colorful as in illustrated in some way). That is easy to multiply by 10 to get a participation grade from my students as well as get some valuable data from their understanding of the lesson.

I will have more coming up about grading of Interactive Notebooks in the coming weeks it has been something that has been highly asked about via email and in my workshops.

WHEW! What a long post…. thanks for getting through it and I have SO much more to share with you…


5 thoughts on “Setting up Routines with Interactive Notebooks”

  1. Great ideas! I love the idea of the tidy trash tub! Last year it was driving me nuts how the students kept getting up to throw scraps away and the scraps all on my floor. So I will be definitely using that idea!

  2. I would like to see ” Taking Time for INBs” you referred to that you did for “All Things Upper Elementary”, but their blog is “by intivation only”!


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