Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Tried It Tuesday- Interactive Notebooks

It's Tuesday, I still have 2 days!!! But, I am at a workshop today. YEA!!!!!

Time for Tried It Tuesday with Holly over at The Fourth Grade Flipper.

I am also linking up with Jennifer at 4mula for Fun. I am late, but she is holding a monthly link party on the 28th of each month for Interactive Notebooks. I missed that date this time, but since I was sharing on mine today, I linked to it as well. 
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This year I tried Interactive Math Notebooks from day one and I mean we used them everyday!!! It was very rare for my students NOT to have their journals.

I will warn you though, this is along post. Math Notebooking is a HUGE passion of mine. I have a lot to say about it.

I always heard statements like, "We use our journals the most in your class, Mrs. Hodges." Their science teacher used them a lot too, but not as much.

I absolutely LOVE them. We did foldables, kept notes, worksheets, homework, warm ups, test, and test corrections in them. They were our "textbook" if you will.

This year I used the ever sturdy composition notebook.

This is example of what they looked like in the end.

This is what most covers look like now. I know the solution could have been tape, but I have a lot of kids. I also know their name could have been on the inside. Lesson learned. This wasn't a huge issue for me, except kids doodling all over the cover while they should be paying attention.

The inside is what is important to me. And I can say I am happy with 90% of the inside.

At the beginning of the year we created all our resource pages. These were awesome and we used them daily.
We started with the contract.
 I loved the table of contents. I tried hard to do left side/right side, but it didn't always work out. I plan to work on this during the summer. Megan Hayes-Golding talks a lot about this and it is very insightful. Get a copy of the table of contents here on her site. 

We never did these pages. Just too busy. I may try again next year though. I love the concept.

We made pockets for every unit. Love this. But, if there were a lot of papers, it was a nightmare. Hence, the pockets need to be deeper. I tried two ways. They both gave me fits.

 Students loved creating foldables. I could always refer to those pages when they were working. I wanted them to use it as a resource. They had all the info they needed, they just needed to use it. For this reason, I was pretty anal about page numbering. I wanted to be able to say, "What page will you find types of angles?"

I made example in every class. I would do the students who were absent. I would also do my own. This worked for the most part.

I did vocabulary in the back. Why? Because I saw it somewhere else and thought it was neat. It was, and it worked.
Notice the side pocket. This way the cards did not fall out. 
Love the idea of flashcards for vocabulary practice, by they always fell out! 

So, what am I changing?
My biggest change is that I am going away from the composition notebook. My students will have binders with dividers and pocket envelopes.

I am investing in these as well. I know, papers are going to tear out.

I am going to give it a shot and see which I like better.

I started out planning pages really well, but slacked off. Sarah at Math=Love has this great planner.

And 4mula Fun has these planning pages free at her store.

If you don't do interactive notebooks for any subject, I highly recommend you give it a try. They are awesome. Kids love them and it really gives kids a place to keep all the information they are learning.

Not sure where to start? Check out these great bloggers!

Runde's Room
Tales of Frogs and Cupcakes 
Meagan Hayes-Golding
Middle School Is Awesome

I know there are so many more. Trust me, if you want to try it, you can find resources and helpful tools to get them started.

Happy Notebooking! 


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Thanks for sharing! Your math notebooks are super cute and I can definitely see kids taking so much pride in each entry. Thanks for giving us more blogs to look at to continue to look into these! I am glad I found you-I am your newest follower! :)

    I am going to have to check out the common core apps that you have listed above-they look wonderful and intriguing! I too love being able to whip out my phone in the middle of the hallway for my Class Dojo app! :) Thanks for sharing all of these great resources!

    PS I am your newest follower!

    Learning to the Core

  3. This is fantastic. Thank you so much for sharing. I just pinned this so I can refer back to your post when I am planning my math journals over the summer!

    Hunter's Tales from Teaching

  4. This is EXACTLY what I want to try next year! I have pinned it and am going to do some serious research over the summer!! Thank you so much for the detailed post and the links:) So helpful!!
    Fourth Grade Flipper

    1. Thanks! I hope this gets you started!


  5. I "half" way did math interactive notebooks this year-I definitely want to get more consistent with them and utilitize them more! Thanks for the detailed post-I hope you share more!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  6. This was my first year to do the math notebooks and I LOVED them! My kids did too! I loved it when they would go get their notebooks on their own to use them! I used the composition notebooks and thought they worked great. I also used binders along with their notebooks. We kept graded papers, tests, unfinished assignments and such in them. The notebooks we kept all notes, foldables and activities in them. It seemed to work great having both. I however wasn't very good at keeping a table of contents, so thanks for sharing one to use. I also like the idea of dividing the notebook up into units. Great idea!

    Sixth Grade Scribbles

  7. I don't teach math but I love our ELA notebooks. I can't imagine teaching any other way. :) Great post.
    Brandee @ Creating Lifelong Learners

  8. I don't know if I can effectively tell you how much I LOVE THIS! Your notebooks are huge and amazing! Would you be interested in doing a guest post on my blog?

    Jennifer Smith-Sloane

  9. Do you do this in addition to using the book? I am wanting to do this too!
    Just don't know how to fit it all in..

  10. I have not.

    This year we are getting new books though. They will ebooks though.
    So, I do see myself still using notebooks. I think I am using composition notebooks this year instead of binders though.

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