When I was in school we took notes on loose leaf paper that MAYBE made it home with us that night. There wasn’t any organization in my notes, and I could barely read what was written on them when there was. Now that I’m a teacher I have seen the power of using an interactive notebook in my class.
Top 5 reasons that your class should be using interactive notebooks (INB’s)
1. The research is in, and using graphic organizers helps students compartmentalize new learning.
Marzano, Pickering, and Pollack (2001) have contended, as have others, that to foster higher-order thinking, instructional activities must call on learners to restructure their prior knowledge and link it to new information. A crucial aspect of this brain-based activity is that students use their own “voices and perspectives” as they construct personal meaning for various mathematical processes, data, and events.
2. Organization is a nightmare for many K-12 students. Using a graphic organizer and having them glued into a central place teaches organization. One of my best practices is to keep a model of an INB for students to reference whenever they want. I teach how to organize my notes with it as well.
3. Graphic organizers allow the students to be creative while still allowing the teacher to maintain some control of what information is important. For example, I teach a unit on the properties of minerals. When I think of luster I think of a gold bar shining in the sun, but my 140 students may have a completely different image in their head about what luster is to them. The graphic organizer allows them to be creative and draw an image that helps them remember luster.
4. More is not always better. During my first year of teaching I used to believe that it was my job to make sure the students had every last word I said in their notes. This was not only detrimental to the fun factor in my class, but it was also tuning many students out. I have since learned that teachers need to be succinct in order to be effective. Graphic organizers and interactive notebooks are clear means to that end.
5. Using an interactive notebook is a lot more fun for students. Taking notes shouldn’t be a drag, and with interactive notebooks it isn’t.
Throughout the years I have created over 50 interactive notebook templates that I use in my classroom. These will save you a ton of time and you can use them for just about everything you teach.
If you want to preview what the full package looks like here is a Foldables Preview for you to check out. These can be used in your class tomorrow.