For several years I have wanted to jump into one of the “Buzz” words in education: Interactive Notebooks (INB). I must have HUNDREDS of pins on Pinterest and saved links of blogs for inspiration. I was thrilled, scared, and excited to tackle on the notebooks with my students this year with the help of my fellow Math teachers at LMS. I am loving learning what works and doesn’t work each day when the students are working in their notebooks.
The students and the use of the INBs have surpassed my expectations of how great they are as tools for the students and parents! I had a parent conference several weeks ago and the father said how helpful the notes were because he “could not do math” and he could understand and help his daughter do her work! Wow! What a great testimony on the power of these little spirals. One of my FAVORTITE features is that the students can use their INB during quizzes!
So far I am loving using the notebooks for my classroom. Somedays the students cut and color, and some days they work on worksheets and staple the work in the notebooks. Don’t get me wrong each day is not all sunshine and rainbows when cutting and gluing. The small things that are not working is what I am trying to improve to make the notebooks as successful as possible.
I would like to share one of the blogs I have read about the benefits the author has listed to the INB.
- Interactive notebooks teach students to organize and synthesize their thoughts.
By working with students to create a process for them to organize their thinking, you will be able to teach study skills without “teaching” them. Processes build structure, and with use of left- and right-side pages, students will naturally organize their thoughts.
- Interactive notebooks accommodate multiple learning styles at one time in (and out of) the classroom.
Whether you do teacher input activities as a whole group or as a small group, student output activities give students the ability to show exactly where they are in their understanding of the subject.
- Student-teacher-parent interaction is built and strengthened with the use of interactive notebooks.
When students are working on homework at home with their interactive notebooks, not only will students be able to use them, but parents will also be able to have a resource into the learning that is taking place in the classroom.
- Students are building a portfolio that allows for teachers to track growth over time.
Reflections of what students are learning in their output pages (as well as the work shown) will show how they are synthesizing the information learned in class, and as students develop further skills, this will be reflected in their output. These reflections are great to show during parent-teacher conferences and even discuss during student-teacher conferences.
- Interactive notebooks have students create a resource to use as they continue to extend their learning.
An interactive notebook works as a textbook for students that is theirs. Not only are they taking beneficial notes, practicing, and reflecting on material, but they are also using that information as they work on future activities. Students are going back and reviewing the prior pages repeatedly and therefore building exposure to the material each time.
- Students take ownership of their learning through color and creativity.
One of the main things that helps students to buy in to the use of interactive notebooks is not the benefits they can see from it but the ability for it to be their own. When students know, and are allowed, to use color in their notebooks, it makes their notes come alive. Using colored paper, markers, colored pencils, etc. makes it easier to sort information and group things together. This creativity also sparks the visual learning when they are expected to remember and apply the information at a later date.
- Interactive notebooks reduce clutter in the classroom, as well as in students’ lives.
By having students take all of their notes and then also practice and reflect in one location, it allows for them to be organized. Therefore, it eliminates excess papers being lost and misplaced when students would benefit from using them as they learn.
Mrs. Barker – 7th Grade Math