Teaching Articles

The How and Why of Interactive Notebooks

The Interactive Notebook System (INS) is designed to teach students to better note-taking skills and allow them to synthesize what they’ve learned in their own creative way. Students may use any type of notebook as long as they meet the following criteria:

  1. Size – it should be at least A5 or regular sized notebook. Students may choose  to use an A5 binder provided that students will always have notepaper at hand. The notebook should not be attached to other subject’s notebook, (i.e. Cattleya binders, 3-in-1 notebooks, etc.).
  2. Durability – the binding should be sturdy because we will be pasting a lot of materials to the page
  3. Thickness – at least 100 pages.

The “INPUT” page is where all the teacher-driven  information, handouts, lectures and testable information are written or pasted. We will use  a simplified  version of the Cornell Note-taking Method to help students take notes more efficiently.

This is a simple guide to the Cornell Note-taking Method by Writer’s Bloc

The “OUTPUT” page is where the students rearrange information to suit their personal learning styles. Activities for this page may be teacher-prompted or freestyle depending on the topic at hand. We do “OUTPUTS” as a form of lesson summary but we only do it after 4-5 different lessons.

This is a great example of an OUTPUT page made by Sunni Brown.

We keep a unified table of contents for the INS and everyone should have the same material or topic for the same page. I check the notebooks randomly, for this reason the students need to make sure that their notebooks are always updated.The notebooks will be done in class as seatwork and graded based on the following Rubric:

Please check the RESOURCE page for the printable materials we may use per subject and year level.  Some are my design while others are from amazing designers and teachers who share their materials online  through blogs and the TeacherPayTeacher marketplace. I will do my best to attribute and link to the correct sources as much as possible.

2 thoughts on “The How and Why of Interactive Notebooks”

  1. Hello 🙂
    First and foremost I would like to tell you that I find this note taking method very useful. Also, i am a special ed teacher, and I used to practice something similar in my class by using this online software to convert jpg files into a pdf file http://www.jpgtopdf.com If you have any tips and advice, that would be great!
    Kindest regards,
    Hayden

    1. Hi Hayden! Glad to hear from you. Thanks for the link, could you tell me how you use this in your classroom? What files do you convert to pdf?

      I’m not a SPED teacher but with my middle school students, I found that giving the SPED students tasks that allow them to walk around while listening to the lesson helps them focus better. This must not feel punitive so that they won’t shut down. Do you have a blog? I would like to read up on classroom management hacks, especially around ADHD students.

      Thanks in advance!

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