I’ll admit… I wasn’t on the interactive notebooks train when it was presented to me (read: mandated with zero background or functional description for how to do it with first graders).
But that’s one of the joys of teaching – you continually learn new and better ways to do things that can completely shift your mindset on something, like interactive notebooks (INBs). For me, this usually happens because I read new research or see something implemented in a way that lights a spark for how I could do it.
That’s all it takes. That’s all it took for me and interactive notebooks in the primary years. Now? I’m hooked. Give me ALL the interactive notebooks (Is six too many??? Asking for a friend…). And I think you will be, too. Here are 9 reasons your students will love interactive notebooks.
1 – The Interaction
I know – this may come as a shock to some of you… but number one on the list of reasons your students will love interactive notebooks may be the (drumroll please…) INTERACTIVE nature of it! Students can interact with the content in a variety of ways, depending on the activities you choose to use/how they use it. Often, the activities can be repeated multiple times for endless fun!
Not able to picture it? Check out the interactive activities in this Phonics Interactive Notebook for K-1.
2 – INBs are a One-Stop-Shop and Reduce Clutter
Not only is this great for your more disorganized students as a tool to help them keep their things organized, but it is also great for you (no more, “I can’t find it!”). I would have loved this as a student as well because organization and neatness were (and still are) really important to me.
The CORE Binder offers the interactive nature of an interactive notebook in a laminated and reusable binder format!
3 – You (Their Teacher) Loves Interactive Notebooks
When you love something, that joy can easily transfer to your students. Share your love with them. How could you not love something that brain research, multiple intelligences, and note-taking literature all support? Higher student achievement? Yes, please! (The bonus? When they’re successful, they’re going to be happier, more confident, and like it more, too!)
I personally love all three of the resources mentioned in this blog and when I’m pumped about something, my students definitely know it.
4 – They Can Be Digital!
Going digital? Want to reduce your paper usage? Administration telling you to increase your ‘tech time?’ INBs can be digital, too! We all know how much students love to use technology (so you won’t get any resistance there and offering them another time to use technology will be huge on the list of reasons your students will love interactive notebooks) – and after this past year – many have a familiarity with it like never before. Just make sure you include some handwritten things as well to get the benefits of that note-taking research – students can do handwritten things and take a picture that they upload to their digital notebook.
This Grammar Interactive Notebook Mega Bundle is fully digital (available in an included paper format as well) and will definitely be one of the reasons your students will love interactive notebooks!
5 – Reference Material
While I’m a huge fan of helping increase student independence, students also want to be able to do things on their own. INBs offer students the option to be more self-reliant and independent and often help them to answer their own questions. Since everything is in one place, students know where to look to find the answer and as they use it more and more, they reinforce the skills more and more.
6 – All the Colors and Creativity of an Interactive Notebook
One of the biggest reasons your students will love interactive notebooks is all the colors and creativity. Whether you print on white paper and have students color the items, print on brightly colored paper, or print in color so the engaging clipart pops, students will love this aspect of INBs. Graphic organizers allow for student creativity to shine within the boundaries set by the teacher so they can still get what they need while also engaging students.
7 – Help Create the Connections Between the Known and Unknown throughout an Interactive Notebook
Students may not consciously know it, but one of the reasons your students will love interactive notebooks is because they help students make connections between the new, unknown content/material/skill and what they already know. When these connections are made, students learn and retain their learning much more easily. This, in turn, gives them increased confidence!
8 – INBs Make It About the Student (Less Direct Instruction, More Processing Time)
Even as an adult, sitting in a lecture or a meeting where I’m being talked at is less engaging, less memorable, less everything than one where I am asked to partake in some sort of task. Direct instruction has a time and a place – and it is not all day long. Students need processing and consolidation time. Interactive notebooks allow for a built-in decrease in direct instruction and an increase in processing and consolidation time for students – thereby increasing achievement.
9 – Ownership of the Interactive Notebook Learning Process
The last of the reasons your students will love interactive notebooks is because they have increased ownership. It is THEIR notebook that showcases all their hard work. They can decorate it, they can make it their own (within the scope of your direction). Children are more likely to try eating something new if they help to grow it or cook it. The same applies here – they’re more likely to learn it if they feel a connection to it if they can help mold it and make it their own.
Do you love interactive notebooks too? Do you use them? Are you supposed to, but don’t know how so you just shove them in a closet? (Not that I know anyone who has ever done that…) Share your INB stories below! And check out the links included here – I think you’ll love INBs as much as I do!
WRITTEN BY: KRISTIN HALVERSON, NBCT
At Education to the Core, we exist to help our teachers build a stronger classroom as they connect with our community to find trusted, state-of-the-art resources designed by teachers for teachers. We aspire to be the world’s leading & most trusted community for educational resources for teachers. We improve the lives of every teacher and learner with the most comprehensive, reliable, and inclusive educational resources.
If you enjoyed what we have to offer at ETTC, be sure to join our email list so that you won’t miss a beat.