Have you been wondering about using interactive notebooks in social studies? Check out this post all about how to incorporate INBs into your classroom without losing your mind.
You might have seen interactive notebooks and thought, yeah, they look great, but they seem like a whole lot of paper and a whole lot of work. AND you would be right, they can be. BUT there are some strategies you can use to make sure the implementation of interactive notebooks goes smoothly and does not drive you insane.
When I first heard all about interactive notebooks I didn’t want to touch them with a ten-foot pole. They seemed like a terrible waste of time. Then, one of my teammates showed me her students’ notebooks and I kind of fell in love. They were amazing artifacts of students’ learning. The notebook activities were great, but what REALLY sold me was the student responses to the activities.
I decided to give them a try and was pleasantly surprised that the process didn’t take nearly as long as I imagined it would.
There are some management tips for interactive notebooks that can be the difference between loving and hating them. Here they are:
Give Students Full Ownership
I am not saying to let students be all loosy goosy about their notebooks, but allowing individuality within the expectations will give student ownership will foster responsibility.
Set your expectations from the beginning, but then encourage students to use the tools they have to make their notebooks an artifact of their own learning. Have them emphasize what they think is important and highlight key concepts.
This might mean allowing students to choose the materials they use to complete the activities as well as how they respond to them.
Emphasize Interactive Notebooks as a Tool
When you show students that you value the work they are putting into their notebooks they will too.
Interactive notebooks should be shown and used as a tool marking the timeline of learning throughout the year. The activities you use in the notebook should be chosen purposefully. Each activity should engage your students in the content. Additionally, they should create a lasting artifact of their learning they can refer back to throughout the year and beyond.
One of the moments that really made this stick for me was when a 7th grade Texas History teacher emailed me and told me how great our INBs were. One of my former students had brought her 4th grade Texas History notebook to class with her. He was amazed by all the content it had in it.
I encourage students to refer back to their notebook throughout the year. Allowing them to use it on all assessments and having random notebook quizzes also encouraged use.
Interactive Notebooks Organize Our Learning
By centering our history block around the interactive notebook it provides a predictable routine for students to follow.
Together, we quickly built a routine of immediately cutting out the activity. We would complete it together, and then gluing, decorating, and emphasizing any important parts through sketches and specialized text.
We also ended every class period by responding to the activity in our notebooks. This part was the most powerful and where students deepened their learning.
Want specific management tips for interactive notebooks? Check out this post.
Ready to Try Interactive Notebooks in History?
Check out this Texas History Interactive Notebook or this United States History Interactive Notebook. Both sets come complete with notebooks activities in three forms to make differentiation easy and journal prompts for each activity.
Get your FREE activities today!
Subscribe to get our weekly newsletter and your FREE Texas Regions notebook!