5 Strategies for Starting Interactive Notebooks

5 Strategies for Starting Interactive Notebooks

One of the most frequent questions that I get is “How do I start with interactive notebooks?” My response: JUST DO IT! For about 2 years I played around with the idea and when I started at a new school, I ran the idea by my new boss and she loved it- and guess what, at that point I had to do it! No going back…and I am SO glad that I started using them!

Tip #1-Choose Your Supplies

Choose which supplies you want to use, but don’t go crazy! For me it is composition notebooks and liquid glue! I decided early on, if a student brought a spiral notebook, that would be OK too. It wasn’t worth going crazy about. Liquid glue with Tap n Glue tops have worked best for me and that’s what I stick with! No need to go crazy buying lots of tape and glue sticks that won’t hold up. I talk a little bit more about my must have interactive notebook supplies HERE!

Tip #2- Plan Out Your First Pages

I like starting my notebooks out with some frequently used reference pages. These are great because it helps students get in the routine of gluing in pages. I start by choosing a few reference pages that I love my students to have on hand (multiplication charts, place value charts, etc) as well as a copy of the syllabus and our growth mindset introduction activity.

I have a set of 30+ premade math reference sheets that you can just print and glue in here. They are formatted for both interactive notebooks and binders.

Choose reference sheets that your students will refer to!

Tip #3- Stay off of Pinterest and Tip #4- Don’t reinvent the wheel

Your pages don’t have to be beautiful and intricate to engage your students in higher level thinking. Cute foldables, bright colors and graphics, although I personally enjoy these things, does not equal more engaged students! I personally don’t do left side/right side, but our entire book is filled with teacher inputs and student outputs. My first years, my notebooks had a fair share of regular pages just folded in half and glued in. If you have great activities, scaffolded notes and problems that you are already using to engage your students, use them in your notebooks! My go-to notes are one fold mini books- notes on the front and practice problems on the inside. I have them created for all standards in grades 5-8!

Tip #5- Figure out how to print 2 per page

Honestly, this was huge for me my first year or two. My printer at home and the two printers I used in school had different methods of printing two per page. Once I had them all figured out, I was easily able to shrink pages down to fit in our notebooks AND save on paper! This seems like such a silly tip, but it makes life so much easier!

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