Tips for Using Interactive Notebooks

Useful and practical ideas to manage interactive notebooks in your classroom from the 2 Peas and a Dog blog.

We had a great discussion on our #2ndaryELA Twitter Chat about how to best use and manage interactive notebooks in the classroom. Teachers who joined the chat had great ideas to share. Here is a quick summary, followed by a detailed summary.


Interactive Notebook Top Tips 
  • Teach and model routines, expectations and material management to make INB's an independent task 
  • Always keep a model INB for students to reference or to help absent students to catch up 
  • If you decide to grade your INB's use pre-printed label rubrics to speed up the process
  • Skip the colouring or save the colouring for early finishers
  • Use the $0.15 spiral notebooks you can find on sale during the back to school rush
  • Engagement is the big focus for using INB's - if students enjoy using this method for note taking they will want to use them as a study and reference tool 
  • Keep frequently used supplies in bins on each table group or at a central location in the classroom. 

Have you tried interactive notebooks in your classroom? Describe your experience with them. If not, what is holding you back? 
  • Using ISNs for the 1st time this year. Total success! Helps me structure lessons and guide learning
  • Finding it hard to balance the lesson with the cut/paste aspect 
  • Starting this year with interactive journals. So far they like them.
  • Save coloring for "early finishers" 
  • Sometimes, you can get away with a staple or tape instead of glue
  • Use the $0.15 spiral notebooks- each class one color all same size
  • Set a timer and reward anyone who finished before the timer went off or by the time it went off
  • Teach "superior kindergarten gluing skills" during the 1st week & threaten to take away gluing privileges for over-users 

How and why do you use interactive notebooks in your classroom? What questions do you have about using INB in your classroom?
  • I use my interactive notes during centers so my students are actively engaged in their learning!
  • I use INBs for reading and grammar. I’ve enjoyed them better than conventional notes, and I think the students have too! 
  • My goal with ISNs it to create a reference tool, something super usable that they'll WANT to use

How do you manage all the supplies required for interactive notebooks in your classroom? What supplies do you recommend?
  • Keep a model and take a picture of each page for the Google Classroom for absent students
  • Each table has their own supply caddy with glue, scissors, colored pencils, markers, crayons refill as necessary
  • Use small manila envelopes to glue in back cover for pieces
  • Use bottled glue rather than glue sticks because it holds better. Students need to use dots of glue. Too much will cause pages to stick. 
  • Provide scissors, glue, spiral notebooks, etc. I put in supply buckets for each group @EatWriteTeach has lovely smash books she uses http://goo.gl/BGnfHu 
  • Keep scissors, glue sticks, tape, colored pencils & markers accessible in my room at all times

How do you assess student output in their interactive notebooks? 
  • I love them because they make my grading load easier. http://goo.gl/0DSRKL 
  • Assessment is done 2x/trimester. I check for neatness-coloring, notes; and correct information on pages
  • I use mine for walk around quizzes with each other, so they feel foolish if they don't have a completed notebook
  • Allow students to use their INBs on quizzes so it’s important they have the correct notes and they’re organized well
  • Create rubric for each unit, score per page. Sometimes have students glue rubrics next to an entry.
  • We only take notes in our IN, so I don't assess them. I assess weekly center work and our weekly CFAs

Resources for Interactive Notebooks





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Useful and practical ideas to manage interactive notebooks in your classroom.


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