Guest Post: 10 Reasons I LOVE Interactive Notebooks

Long before I started blogging, I followed the blog of super teacher Mrs. E Teaches Math. Her posts were always straight to the point with meaningful information I could bring right back to my classroom (like this post on favorite websites for math teachers). Little did I know that someday she'd be guest blogging for me and that I could call her a friend. So without further introduction, here are 10 reasons Mrs. E loves interactive notebooks!

10 Reasons I love Interactive Notebooks

If you’ve poked around my blog at all, you’ve noticed that I’m in LOVE with interactive notebooks.  I love coming up with new foldables and coming up with ways to keep students engaged during class.  Here are my top 10 reasons I love interactive notebooks (or as I like to call them, INBs).

1 - Every kid has paper and a pencil daily.  It drives me bonkers when students don’t have paper or wander around the room asking other students for paper.  Notebooks solve this problem.  You can have students keep their notebooks in the classroom, and BOOM! they have paper.  I’ve seen some inventive people even have students tape a straw to the edge of the notebook to hold a pencil.  BRILLIANT!

2 - Kids are organized.  When kids keep binders they are such a mess!  There are papers shoved everywhere and most things just get shoved into the pockets.  Pages glued into a composition notebook totally solves this problem!  If interactive notebooks keep my 9th grade boys neat, I’m sold.

3 - Students have greater retention.  Foldables help improve student retention and recall for information.  This isn’t just for gifted students either, it’s proven for students of all levels. (Bos & Anders, 1992)

4 - More students take notes.   Since I’ve implemented INBs, I have less students staring blankly off into space while I’m teaching the lesson.  That’s a golden reason right there!

5 - Students are held accountable.  This past year I did have a few complaints from parents that I “didn’t cover” certain concepts in class.  At my school parents can get very involved.  I was able to say, “Check the bottom of page 62.  Your student should have written…  Also, on page 63, your student should have an entire page of practice problems on this concept.”  If these pages were in a binder, I couldn’t have said that.  Who knows where those pages had ended up?  INBs put the accountability square on the student’s shoulders, where it belongs.

6 - Kinesthetic learners are more involved.  Most of my students are kinesthetic learners.  They LOVE foldables because they are hands-on and require manipulation.  They are so much more involved than they are with paper and pencil notes!

7 - INBs help students study.  A good foldable helps students study.  As students fill out a foldable, I model for them how the foldable can be used as a flashcard to quiz themselves later.

8 - Students take pride in their work.  Visual learners love drawing and coloring in the margins of their notebook.  Students end the year with a durable portfolio of their learning.  A student recently told me, “When I flip through my notebook, it’s just so…satisfying.  It’s like I actually did a lot of work in your class.”  Um, yes!  Thank you!

9 - Students can prepare for tests more efficiently.  True confession time.  It drives me NUTS when I give students a review and they come to me and say, “Teach me how to do this”.  Instead of having students stare blankly when I give them a review or ask a question, they start flipping through their notebooks.  They are referring to their notes, people!  Woah!  It’s even more powerful when I say something like, “Help me remember the triangle congruence shortcuts, page 92 will help….”

10 - Foldables keep ME focused.  My lessons have become so much stronger since I’ve started looking at material in chunks.  Now, when I look at guided notes I see just a list of vocabulary and problems.  Foldables keep my objectives wrapped in neat little packages. 

Before I started using interactive notebooks, I was worried that using graphic organizers and foldables would “water down” the content.  I often have honors classes and I didn’t want that to happen.  However, the content is only watered down if you make it that way.  You can put rigorous problems in any foldable.  Pages can be layered on top of each other to give students more room to write.  Interactive notebooks can be rigorous too!

Mrs E Teaches Math

Karrie is the teacher behind Mrs. E Teaches Math.  On her blog she shares all kinds of ideas for secondary math teachers.  Her Teachers pay Teachers store is full of foldables and engaging activities for your students!

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