What are Interactive Notebooks?
Filed under: Interactive Notebooks | Tags: how to use interactive notebooks, Interactive Notebooks, notebooking, social studies, social studies teaching strategy |
Nope, I’m not talking about a laptop or netbook. In fact, it uses some of the oldest school technology available – paper, pencil, and your students’ creativity.
It is a binder, spiral, or composition notebook that becomes a working portfolio of student work. It contains lessons that are broken into two pieces
An interactive notebook is a teaching strategy made popular by History Alive!, a program of the Teacher’s Curriculum Institute. Like chess, you can learn the basics and implement very quickly – and you can take many years developing your individual processes and assignments. It’s what cooks would call a “base” recipe.
The idea is based on the two-page spread created when you open the notebooks.
One side is the “teacher-side” – the stuff you want the students to learn, this can take many forms. I use the left side for this, “left is for learning”.
The other side is the “student-side” – on this side the student processes the information in a varitey of creative ways – mind maps, drawings, poetry, etc.
Some things to consider:
Be clear in your purpose for using an IAN. I use mine for several reasons:
They keep the kids organized. I got really, really tired of copies of my handouts all over the floor. It is also REALLY obvious (even to the kids) when they are missing assignments.
They keep me organized. No piles of loose assignments. Yeah!
They keep me on track in my planning. The left side (teacher side) is really lower levels of Bloom’s – the stuff they need to “know”. The right side I see as the higher levels of Bloom’s – a chance to interact and make sense of the material. After the first quarter I give them lots of choices as to the student side – it is a simple way to differentiate and allow them to choose the most meaningful way to work with their notes.
Decide the basics: What type of notebook will you use? (Binder, Composition book, Spiral) How many will you use? (I use one for each semester) How will you put in handouts? (Glue, Tape, no handouts, handwritten notes only) How often and how will you assess them? How will you keep a record of what you’ve done for absent students/yourself for next year? What type of assignments will help your students process your material best? What will you keep in the IAN? These are some of the basic questions you need to answer for yourself.
I have used IANs for seven years now, and I just about have the process/procedures where I want them al. Notebooks are a process, and my favorite thing about them is that they are infinitely “tweakable” to fit your students and your needs.
Most of my students really love their notebooks and take a great deal of pride in them. I’ve gotten really good feedback over the years about things that worked and things that didn’t work for the students and the parents. I keep all of their work (except the occasional odd loose homework) in their notebooks so it really becomes their working portfolio for the year.