Hello! My name is Jennifer Smith Jochen from Smith Curriculum and Consulting, and I am ECSTATIC to be here at Minds in Bloom with you today! I have been using interactive notebooks in some way, shape, or form for the past eight years and “officially” the correct way since fall of 2010. I have seen so many benefits with the usage of them over the past years, as well as grown and developed as a teacher to better help my students. Currently, I travel around and present not only about the benefits but also about how to implement them while sparking ideas in teachers to help them along their way.
So what is it about interactive notebooks that make them such a hot commodity in education? Why are they such a beneficial tool for students and teachers? What can classrooms and parents gain from their usage?
1. Interactive notebooks teach students to organize and synthesize their thoughts.
By working with students to create a process for them to organize their thinking, you will be able to teach study skills without “teaching” them. Processes build structure, and with use of left- and right-side pages, students will naturally organize their thoughts.
2. Interactive notebooks accommodate multiple learning styles at one time in (and out of) the classroom.
Whether you do teacher input activities as a whole group or as a small group, student output activities give students the ability to show exactly where they are in their understanding of the subject.
3. Student-teacher-parent interaction is built and strengthened with the use of interactive notebooks.
When students are working on homework at home with their interactive notebooks, not only will students be able to use them, but parents will also be able to have a resource into the learning that is taking place in the classroom.
4. Students are building a portfolio that allows for teachers to track growth over time.
Reflections of what students are learning in their output pages (as well as the work shown) will show how they are synthesizing the information learned in class, and as students develop further skills, this will be reflected in their output. These reflections are great to show during parent-teacher conferences and even discuss during student-teacher conferences.
5. Interactive notebooks have students create a resource to use as they continue to extend their learning.
An interactive notebook works as a textbook for students that is theirs. Not only are they taking beneficial notes, practicing, and reflecting on material, but they are also using that information as they work on future activities. Students are going back and reviewing the prior pages repeatedly and therefore building exposure to the material each time.
6. Students take ownership of their learning through color and creativity.
One of the main things that helps students to buy in to the use of interactive notebooks is not the benefits they can see from it but the ability for it to be their own. When students know, and are allowed, to use color in their notebooks, it makes their notes come alive. Using colored paper, markers, colored pencils, etc. makes it easier to sort information and group things together. This creativity also sparks the visual learning when they are expected to remember and apply the information at a later date.
7. Interactive notebooks reduce clutter in the classroom, as well as in students’ lives.
By having students take all of their notes and then also practice and reflect in one location, it allows for them to be organized. Therefore, it eliminates excess papers being lost and misplaced when students would benefit from using them as they learn.
Are you looking into starting interactive notebooks in your classroom? I’ve compiled several of my resources into an Interactive Notebooks Starter Pack to help you get started or even to enhance what you are already doing in your classroom. Just click on the image below to grab your copy.
I have been an educator since 2004 with experience in elementary school, middle school, and college. Math has been my passion since a young age, which no doubt resulted in my secondary math-teaching career. Currently, I am a Differentiated Curriculum Designer and Consultant traveling the nation to train teachers on the effectiveness of interactive notebooks and differentiation in the math classroom. When I am not traveling and training, I live in Fort Worth, TX with my husband, Billy, and our three dachshunds. I spend time blogging at Smith Curriculum and Consulting and creating resources for my TpT store.