Thursday, July 3, 2014

An Entire Interactive Notebook

Warning: This is a LONG post, full of a gazillion pictures! 

Everything I read and/or hear about interactive notebooks is people asking "how do I do this?" I cannot stress enough that making interactive notebooks has to work for YOU,  how YOU decide to use them. 

For me, in my opinion, teachers just need to do it. Seriously, it seems cliche' but it's true. 
Do it and then USE them in your classroom. 

That's the most important thing. When we made a foldable about tax, tip and percent and then students asked me, "How do I find percent?", I would say, "Did you look in your binder first?" It was magical!!! 

At the end of the year when students were writing to next years students about what they would need to know to survive sixth grade math, many of them said, "Keep your math binder organized and look at your notes first before asking for help." I thought that was powerful! Of course, I would help my students as needed, but they needed to try on their own first. 

 I want you to see what a "real" notebook looks like from beginning to end. It's not perfect, but I am proud of what my students and I made this year and I can use this to improve. This was my 3rd year using them for 6th grade math and it is the best. I want you to see the failures and the successes.  I took pictures of pages side by side and inside of foldables for you to see. 


This was my first day of school activity. It's how students learn about me and how I learn about them. 

 Page 2 is guidelines and expectations. 
Didn't quite get everything filled in. I am going to unit Table of Contents next year.

 These are state reference materials. Every student is allowed to use this on their state test, so we use them all year. They are very comfortable with them before the test. 
Left side: Student work using divisibility rules
Right Side: Divisibility Notes

Left side: Writing in Math!!!!
This one is from Live Love Math
There's a whole set! 
Many foldables are just cut paper and students write everything! 

Some foldables are typed notes and they cut and paste everything.
Left Side: I read a story and students had to write  the integer I described.
We did the right side first for  notes, then left side activity. 

 Left side: After completing the notes on the right side, students completed their own trees.

Yes, page 22 remained blank. I just had to get over it!

 Sometimes things are just worksheets. Sometimes notes are on the left and work on the right. 
Left side: a morning warm up they glued in

 Left side: another warm up they completed after learning about PEMDAS

 Students love taking notes on a paper plate. 
 This was a warm up page. They would glue their warm up each day on this page.
I kept these because I wanted them to know their warm ups were important, not just busy work. 

 Egads! Another blank page!

 The foldable on the left is from Laura Candler 

Page 52 is from 4mula Fun. It's a homework sheet, but I used it in class. 
Great practice and I wanted them to have access to it for converting. 

 Most popular foldable. It's for integer operation rules. We used this A LOT!!! 
At the end of the year when we were practicing integers again, I was able to say, "Look on page 60 for the rules". 

 Page 64-66 are from For the Love of Teaching Math.
I posted about this activity here

 Mean, Median, Mode and Range foldable from 4mula Fun 

  Page 73 and 74 were some of the funnest days I taught. 
I got the entire lesson from Math = Love and posted about it here

Page 75, I tried a Unit table of Contents and loved it. 
I posted about it here

 I posted about these here.

 These pages were not blank for my students. 
When students are absent, I take their notes. 
Sometimes that means, mine don't get completed. 

 Our very last unit was new information we will teach next year, but at the beginning of the year. 
It was kind of a "hodge podge" unit. 

 I have just realized that I never posted about pages 90-93. 
I even found the half written post. 
Guess I will be completing that soon. 
Again, these will be concepts taught at the beginning of the school year. 

I did post about using stickers with my students. 
They loved it and I will definitely be doing it again. 

This was it, our notebook. 
Thanks for making it this far. 

I hope it shows you reality. 
Somethings are great and some are not, but I feel very good about the use of interactive notebooks in my classroom and it is something I will definitely continue using with my students. 

Be sure to check out the July Tried It Tuesday's over at Holly's blog. 

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  1. It's so neat to look back over your journey of your Interactive Notebook throughout this year. You and your kids really put a lot of hard work into them and it definitely shows in each and every one of those pictures!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  2. What do you mean that you are going to "unit table of contents" next year?

    1. see page 75, it's a table of contents for one unit.


  3. I teach fourth grade, and love using foldables. Thank you for the pictures of your interactive notebook. I also love the first day of school activity with numbers that are important to the students. Thanks for some great ideas!
    Melissa Kaylor :)

    Fourth Grade Lab

  4. These are beautiful! I have 'favorited' this post! Thanks!
    Grade 4 Buzz

    1. Thank you!
      Thanks for making through the whole thing!


  5. LOVE this! What book did you read aloud for the integers?

    Think, Wonder, & Teach

  6. This is great. Thanks for sharing. Do you like binders better than composition books? I have used both, and I do not know which I like better and which I will use this year.

    Get Your Science on in Room 701

    1. that question is so tricky for me. I personally liked the binders, but I think students did better with the composition notebooks.

      I think next year I am using composition notebooks. just not sure though.

      Thanks for the comments

  7. Thank you so much for sharing your INB. Last year was my first year using INB,s and I am reflecting on how to improve them. It is helpful to see how you started at the beginning of the year. I like the unit table of contents as well. Love reading your blog. You are awesome.

  8. How did the binders hold up for your students? Were pages constantly falling out or tearing at the holes? I like the idea of a binder because I can use tabs to keep it more organized for multiple topics (ELA... reading, writing, grammar, spelling, word work, etc.), but I'm afraid they won't hold up as well. I also like that I can have them include ALL their work in these binders, which I can't do in a composition notebook. What do you think?

    1. Some were good, some not so good.

      I am going back to composition notebooks for this next school year though.

      I think it also depends on if your kids take them out of the room or not. Mine did not.

      Good luck!

    2. Miss Lifesaver,

      I know this post is almost a year old, but I'm just now finding it because I'm going to start INBs in my room next year. You can make tabs in the composition books with either pieces of cardstock or index cards.

      Thank you for sharing this! I have never seen an INB in person and I am scared! :)

    3. so glad you found it, I have lots more and more recent as well. I feel each year they get better and better.
      At the top of my page, I have Interactive Notebook Page that has all the links to the posts I have written. I will get it updated asap, and hopefully it will be useful.

  9. So you prefer binders to the actual notebook? I love the tabs!

    Man, this is like the perfect way to get me to be on the track for INB's thanks :)

    Anisa @ Creative Undertakings

  10. This is AMAZING, Elizabeth!! I just found out last week that I will be teaching all math next year! I need to figure out a system for math INBs and this is a great starting point! I'm sure I will continue to tweak things over the years but I love how yours look! Thank you for sharing. :)
    Fourth Grade Flipper

  11. Fantastic post! I use a math notebook in my class and it's amazing to see the kids refer to it all year. I keep mine in bound notebooks instead of a binder but you make the binder looks so organized. Thanks for sharing :)

    I'm new to the blogging world...Check out my blog

  12. This is AMAZING! I'm going to start using math notebooks this year and this is a fabulous resource - Thank you sooo much for sharing!

  13. Hi! I am thinking about using INB next year in my 6th grade math classes, but am a little nervous/overwhelmed. Do you make entries daily or weekly? Where do the kids actually do work? Any advice would be great...


    1. I use them daily. They do some of their actual work in the notebook and some on other papers. I use a lot of task cards in my room. They have recording sheets for those, but use their notebooks for "notes". Hope this helps.

  14. Wow. I am preparing to teach 6th grade math this fall, and this is a gold mine! Your notebook is wonderful, and the pictures and descriptions are helpful as well. Thank you for taking the time to share this!

  15. Wow. I am preparing to teach 6th grade math this fall, and this is a gold mine! Your notebook is wonderful, and the pictures and descriptions are helpful as well. Thank you for taking the time to share this!

    1. awesome, hope there is more you can find on my blog to help you prepare!


  16. Hi there,
    I would like to know if you present at any teacher conference. I thought I might have seen something like this. I really enjoy your Math Interactive Notebook!

  17. I just found this, and I LOVE this! I am a brand new teacher, and I LOVE the idea of INBs! Did the composition notebooks end up working better than the binders? I love the binders because they can have paper added and replaced if students mess up. I am also worried about pages ripping out especially if students take them home for homework.

    1. I liked the notebook and used the hole reinforces when needed. I have gone back to composition notebooks only because that is what our students are required to being for supplies. My notebooks didn't leave the classroom though.

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