Sunday, May 4, 2014

Getting Started with Interactive Notebooks

Interactive notebooks seem to be a newfound staple in classrooms- but what exactly are they and what benefit can they offer our students over traditional note-taking procedures?

Today I’ll introduce you to Interactive Notebooks, or INB, and show you just how powerful they can be in your classroom!

Interactive notebooks are just that- they’re a more interactive way to organize pieces of information. Most INBs use 4 ways of note-taking: pockets, foldables, spinners, and mini-books. Some are easier to make than others, but I’m certain there’s a template out there to meet all your needs!

Before you begin incorporating INB into your lessons, it’s best to introduce yourself to some of the most popular templates available. Keep the templates in mind as you plan- when one fits with your unit of study, add it in!

This is the most basic type of INB template- a foldable. It’s easy to make. Just cut it out and cut between the “pieces” so the flaps move freely. Label the template and place your notes inside.

Spinners are another easy way to incorporate INBs into your classroom.  Cut both circles out and layer one on top of the other. Use a brad to fasten the two together.

Pockets aren’t difficult to make, but there’s certainly an extra step or two! I like to use pockets to store math manipulatives, like a hundreds chart or number line, or some type of cards. Some pocket templates have “flaps” while others simply have an open top.



The “mini-book” is the last type of template. It definitely takes an extra moment to complete, but the finished product is really remarkable! The minibook pictured in the photo is a tabbed book. Student label the tabs and quickly open to the section they need.





Getting started with INBs:

Again, my first recommendation is that you simply begin to take a look at some INB templates and simply become familiar with them. Print one off and cut/fold/glue to see how the process works. Don’t force an INB into every lesson- let it come naturally. Are you teaching a concept with three parts, like right, acute, and obtuse angles?  That brings to mind a template I recently saw that was divided into three parts, so I think I”ll incorporate that template into my lessons.

Once you’ve familiarized yourself with a few of the basic INB templates, think about how you’d use it in your classroom. If this is their first experience with INB, you’ll probably want to print a few extra copies and walk them through step by step where to cut and where to fold.  Using a document camera is an excellent way to walk your students through the cutting and folding.  If one isn’t available, try the activity in small group rotations.

I like using the same templates repeatedly, as it becomes more of an independent activity. The students will recognize the templates and recognize where to cut and fold. Teach the template once and students will create foldable more quickly in the future!

Next, jot down a few ideas on what types of information students might right in the foldable. I’d suggest assisting students with the labels on the foldable to get them in the right track, but allow them to determine what information and details to include. Remember- this is an INTERACTIVE notebook, which means students should be engaged throughout the process, not just writing word for word what’s on the board!

I love interactive notebooks because it helps students organize information. If it’s organized in a meaningful way on paper it will more likely be well organized and retained in memory. Encourage students to return to the INB to review the material they’ve included or to add more information as their learning progresses.

Ready to get started?

I'm actively creating INB templates for math! Currently I have three available:




All the photos in this blog come from one of my current INB. See one you want? Want to take a closer look? Click the link below! 


Very soon I'll have an Interactive Notebook for Place Value in my TPT store!


What resources or tips do you have to share about INB? Please share links or ideas in the comments below!




1 comment:

  1. Hi, I thought that this new teacher-seller website might interest you. They are based in Canada and offer features that are not found on similar sites. They also have a lot of new features coming. Here is a link: Created by Teachers, Exclusively for Teachers

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