What is interactive notebook output?
Output is the thinking part! I like to think the input is what students are learning, or information they are given. This is often recorded on the right hand side of the notebook and includes notes, fold-ups, and tables or graphs you have supplied them with.
On the left hand side you can find your interactive notebook output. This is where students think about, contextualize, and perform critical analysis on what they have learned.
There are MANY ways for students to show their thinking and connect to the information, but I certainly have my favorites. Below is a list of my all time favorite interactive notebook output activities.
Not every output activity works for every unit, but by varying the ways in which students respond it ups engagement and keeps them thinking critically.
This interactive notebook output activity is just what it sounds like. Students are given a prompt to respond to in their notebooks.
A few tips for this strategy include giving students a choice between two or three prompts to respond to or including a photograph or image to help spark their thinking.
Draw and Label
Before you tell me students don’t have time to spend drawing in your class, let me tell you some of the best synthesis I have seen from students comes from labeled drawings.
The trick to getting students to think deeply is in the labeling. Provide students with examples that include content vocabulary and descriptions that really explain their drawing. A good rule of thumb is that someone who knows nothing about the topic should be able to understand based on the labels.
Poetry or Song Lyrics
Creative expression across content areas is vital, and we have amazing lyricists among us. Whether students write an acrostic poem on a subject they are studying, create a piggyback song based on a pop tune, or write their own song, the imagination and critical thinking skills they use will really allow us to know they understand the material.
Top 10 List
Think back to the days of David Letterman, and maybe even show an appropriate clip to the class.
A Top 10 List can be factual or satirical and can really get students thinking about their content. Plus, they are amazingly fun to share! I am always impressed with what different students latch onto as the most important parts of a unit and this interactive notebook output activity really lets them shine.
Cartoon or Storyboard
Many of our students love to draw, so this interactive notebook output idea is sure to excite them. This is one of my favorite strategies to use to show cause and effect relationships in history or instead of a timeline.
Sticky Note Summary
This strategy allows students to whittle down their summaries into a perfect one sentence about a topic.
Check out this post for more information.
A word web is a great strategy for helping students to make connections between their new learning and previous learning or their own lives. I often refer to this interactive notebook output activity as a brain dump, because I want students to get down on paper everything they know about a topic.
To start, the topic is written in the middle of the page. Then, students jot down everything they can think of and form a web connecting their thoughts. This strategy is a great way to show student thinking as well.
This is a great strategy and does not take a lot of time. For an FQR students write down a fact, a question, and response they have to a topic.
For example, if the topic were the Texas Revolution:
- Fact – The Treaty of Velasco ended the Texas Revolution.
- Question – How many people were involved in the Battle of San Jacinto?
- Response – While the fighting was officially over after the Battle of San Jacinto, there were still a lot of things to figure out about the new Republic of Texas. I wonder how long it took for the people to begin to feel like their own country.
For this strategy, students create their own quiz, complete with answer key. I love the added bonus that I then have a bank of questions on the topic to pull from later.
Two Truths and a Lie
By far, my students’ favorite interactive notebook output strategy is two truths and a lie. When given a topic, students must come up with two facts or truthful statements and a lie or inaccurate premise. They really enjoy trying to come up with a statement that is close enough to the truth they can stump their peers.
Why Do Interactive Notebook Output Activities?
The output is really where the thinking happens! The graphic organizers, fold-ups, and notes are all great information, but the synthesis of their learning is more powerful.
Ready To Dive In?
First, I have a printable of different interactive notebook output ideas for you to have easy access to. I love to keep this list somewhere I can refer to it quickly, or even make it available to students for them to choose which output they would like to complete. Check out the pop-up to get it sent straight to your inbox.