Have you considered using interactive notebooks in your classroom? Are you unsure if it’s right for you? Are you afraid of the organizational aspect of implementing this new strategy? Here are a few reasons that might show you that interactive notebooks are NOT right for your classroom.
If your students’ notebooks already have the organization thing goin’ on, then interactive notebooks may not be for you. The year before I implemented interactive notebooks, my middle school students’ literature notebooks were an absolute MESS! Nothing was organized or catalogued (why would it be?), pages were empty or skipped, work was done in random places, and it was impossible to find something I requested, especially if it were a month or two old. Now, my students can literally find any page we’ve completed this year within seconds.
If your students are currently retaining the concepts you teach from day-to-day, you may not need to try interactive notebooks. Before interactive notebooks, I found myself re-teaching concepts over and over and over again. Every time a concept came up that had already been taught, half of the class was stalled until I went over the material again. Now, with interactive notebooks, I can hold students accountable! If I bring up a topic we haven’t discussed in a month – for example, theme – and a student gives me a clueless look, I’ll simply say, “Those notes are on page 16 of your notebook, so give yourself a refresher and then finish the assignment.” Because the student constructed the page himself, those notes are going to be so much more meaningful than some random information in a textbook somewhere.
If your students are actively engaged while you’re dictating notes, then interactive notebooks probably aren’t for you. Before interactive notebooks, my classroom was filled with drowsy, apathetic, passive learners. Once I began using interactive notebooks, those lazy teens and preteens were replaced with active, engaged learners!
If you aren’t required to accommodate a variety of learning styles within your classroom, then interactive notebooks aren’t for you. In my twelve years of teaching, reading is the subject where I struggled most with finding ways for students to interact with content. With interactive notebooks, all of these lessons already accommodate for visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning styles without doing anything extra.
If your students are already maintaining a record of everything you’ve taught them this year, you might not need interactive notebooks. I love that my students have a comprehensive record of their learning at their fingertips at all times. My PARENTS love how the interactive notebook is the perfect go-to place when a parent wants to know what’s going on in my classroom or when a student needs extra help on a homework assignment. And my PRINCIPAL loves this irrefutable evidence of having covered those required standards.
Are you interested in using interactive notebooks in your classroom but don’t know where to start? Fear not! I’m hosting a FREE webinar on interactive notebooking for beginners!
In this free webinar, we’ll discuss supplies, planning, organization, and hacks to make this work in your classroom.
We’ll specifically discuss implementation in grades 4-8 with a focus on ELA, but teachers of all grades and subjects can benefit from the information presented.