Tips for Using Interactive Notebooks in a Primary Classroom

25 November 2015 / Leave a Comment

Using interactive notebooks is an amazing opportunity to use higher order thinking skills and cement your students' learning. I am here to give you several tips to make the experience stress free and meaningful for you and your students!

1. Teach students your expectations for gathering, using, and putting materials away.

When students know your expectations and have a chance to practice procedures with guidance, the stress factor dramatically decreases for you.  The first time I exposed my students to note-booking activities this year, I learned this the hard way.  Simply explaining the activity leaves too much room for student interpretation when accomplishing the goal.  Now I pre-teach everything, step-by-step.  This allows me to continue working in small groups when students are responding in their notebooks independently. 

2. Organize materials for daily or long term ease of use.

I keep materials my students use daily for notebooks in baskets. The baskets are replenished and organized as needed.  When students know where to get materials, such as glue and scissors, they won't need to interrupt your guided group to complete their daily notebook activities. 


3. Activities should be meaningful and incorporate higher order thinking.

Notebook activities are more than cutting and glueing.  Don't get me wrong, anchor charts and reference sheets are great to put into notebooks.  However, for students to create meaning they need the opportunity to work with the material they have been taught. Incorporating their own notes, summarizing, etc., provide students ways to analyze and cement their learning.

4. Teach clean up procedures.

When note-booking in a guided group, I often use a large bowl to catch scraps. You can grab these bowls at Wal-Mart for a dollar sometimes. Whatever you use, keep it convenient and teach students your expectations for cleaning up after the activity is completed. This will save your sanity at the end of the day!

I've used notebooks for science and reading.  They are definitely work the time it takes to establish the expectations and routines.  If you haven't tried them, don't hesitate any longer! The notebook activities you see here are available at my TPT store {HERE}.  Don't hesitate to create your own, or purchase some of the well-thought out resources on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Wishing you a wonderful and relaxing Thanksgiving holiday!


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