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What Really is an Interactive Notebook?

What Really is an Interactive Notebook? What do they entail? Research shows that when students interact and engage kinesthetically with what they are learning then their understanding will deepen and be built to a higher level of cognition.If you have been reading my blog for any time you know that I am passionate about the use of Interactive Notebooks as a part of learning in the classroom. Each time I am out and about for professional developments I work with teachers from all ranges of the spectrum of Interactive Notebooks. Some of them have used them for a few years and want to get better where as there are some who aren’t even aware of what an Interactive Notebook truly is. Today I want to take some time to review what an Interactive Notebook is and subsequently what they aren’t.

How do you know if what you are doing is Interactive? Your interactive notebook must have a two way flow of information including teacher input (notes) and student output (reflection/practice).



When we look at the words Interactive Notebook it breaks down to:

The “notebook” part of an Interactive Notebook is something that all of the teachers that I have worked with have down because we have all worked with different forms of notebooks over the course of time. The tricky part it seems is the “interactive” portion.

What does research say?

Research behind interactive notebooks shows that they are most beneficial when used as a learning tool developed by students for students. We as teachers guide the input that is being put into the notebooks so that students build a solid foundation and then students develop the output to demonstrate what they have learned.

How do we implement this?

As a teacher we must determine what our students would need to complete an input activity from us as a teacher. For the most part in my classroom this was a mini lesson of sorts where my students took notes whether it be within a flippable, cloze notes or other method.

Mean, Median, Mode and Range Flippable

Within this mini lesson not only did my students have a flippable to match the definition and key words for Mean, Median, Mode and Range to but we also completed a class graph in the center over the hours of sleep each student in the classroom had received the night before. Based on that data we then determined our mean, median, mode and range for an example to pull from. To continue, we also created examples of Real Life Mean, Median, Mode and Range. This was all part of the input activity that I guided my students through in class.

From this students must synthesize what they have learned and organize the information so that they can apply it to build connections on their own. This could vary from day to day and student to student. I have used everything from practice problems, journals, reflections, connections, mind maps, and applying real life to what they have learned.

What does all of this mean?

As teachers we must take time to make sure that we are using Interactive Notebooks appropriately. They are not just a manner to organize teacher notes just as they are not just a manner to organize glorified worksheets. Just because we use scissors, glue and color to put them together does not mean that they should be 100% student centered busy-work.

Students must be able to take ownership of what they are learning for them to be effective. We as a teacher must realize that and guide that in our instruction and modeling so students can see that when they build their own connections it will deepen their own personal learning.

Interactive Notebooks Starter's Pack

If you are interested in learning more about Interactive Notebooks in the classroom, check out my Starter Pack for all subjects! And come back next week where I will have some friends linking up with me about ways they use Interactive Notebooks effectively in their classroom for student success.

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