Sunday, August 12, 2012

Interactive Notebooks - My Journey

I am embarking on a new journey this school year. Interactive Notebooks.

I have always liked the idea of students creating a book of knowledge that they can take with them to their next math class. I liked the idea that they could go back and refer to their notes, or look over examples of their own work.

I have never been successful in the production, however.

When I started following some wonderful, inspiring people on Twitter, I learnerd about these interactive notebooks. Here is a great post about INB:

Interactive notebooks from @mgolding. Her posts are what started me on this path.

That led me to this blog:

The $1 textbook.html from @ultrarawr. After looking at the pics, I realized I was already doing some of the things in this format.
Interactive Notebook Planning Page from @mathequalslove gave me a great planning sheet for my INB

AND some great ideas to start my own Order of operations-pemdas foldable

I found this wiki after #tmc12 (PD held by teachers for teachers-unfortunatly I was not able to attend)

Interactive Notebooks Like A Pro

This wiki helped me understand the why's of Left Hand Side (LHS) vs. Right Hand Side (RHS) It is important to grasp the idea behind the INB. Here is some great brain research info from the wiki above that helped me understand why it was important to be specific about what items and info goes on the LHS.

Why Use Interactive Student Notebooks as a Form of Brain-Based Teaching

I would recommend taking the  Hemispheric Dominance Quiz quiz to see which side of your brain is more dominant. I plan on having my students take this quiz as well, so they can understand characteristics in their own thinking and learning.

All that being said, here is a rough sketch of my "flow" for my INB.

Here are some of the reasons for my set up:

1 - I hate random loose leaf paper. So I want homework contained - and I don't like sprial notebooks as it lends itself to tearing pages out. I am a comp notebook girl all the way (plus they are so cute)
2 - My school has requirements about Math Routines. We MUST have a warm up (Bell Ringer in our case) and I use it as a review from previous lesson.
3 - I teach in a Title 1 school, and my students don't have access to some basic school supplies. I felt that requiring 2 to 3 comp notebooks for the year wouldn't be too much of a burden on my students' families.


  1. Having a plan is the first step and it looks like you have it started right. I am going to keep referring back to how you use your RHS because I'm just not there conceptually.

  2. I am beginning my journey as well. I have been consumed by interactive notebook stuff and creating documents for a few weeks now. Thanks for sharing!!!

  3. How did it go? I will be embarking on the same journey next year. I'm very nervous, because I'm not the most organized individual. However, I will work over the summer to plan it out so that it works for me. I know it will help my students AND me. :-)

    1. Hi! It was very difficult to keep up with. I think I tried too much at the beginning and couldn't continue it. I would recommend just trying the format of the INB, making sure students get into the habit of writing specific information in specific spots. Also, I think it would help if you have a partner at your school (who teachers the class before or after you) that also does the INB so that in the 2nd year, students are familiar with the layout. Planning was also my downfall. Making sure you plan out your notebook is important. I tried to get my students back into using the format the last quarter. I used tape on an empty board and started writing the information in the appropriate spots. I think I would start with this, so students get an understanding of what goes where. Oh, and also, make sure that you choose a type of notebook (comp/spiral). I tried to get everyone in a comp notebook, but I had some that had 3 ring binders. I need to put my foot down next year and say get the comp book. They aren't very expensive. Also, consider where you want your students to do their homework. Maybe have 2 comp books, one for homework and one that is their INB.

      I just finished the school year and haven't had time to reflect on what I want to change for next year, but replying here has helped me do that for next year. Good luck with your notebooks!!

  4. I would be interested in how this went. I am looking at doing this next year. Thanks!

    1. I just replied to someone above . I plan to write a more concise reflection in the next few weeks.

  5. I start my first year in August and want to do this! How/where do you incorporate homework in the INB? thanks