Where have you been all my life, interactive notebooks? I am so in love with them! If you are not doing interactive notebooks yet, I urge you to stop what you’re doing and give them a try! The level of student engagement is at an all-time high. In all my years of teaching, I have NEVER seen ALL my students so ENGAGED the ENTIRE time they are working. From start to finish, they are hanging on to every word I say, and trying their absolute best to have the neatest, nicest, most accurate notebook!
My 1st graders have completed several activities already and we’ve learned some neat tricks along the way. I’d like to share them with you!
Before the children cut anything, have them color the tabs that are glued to the notebook so they don’t accidentally cut them off.
While cutting, remind children NOT to cut off the colored tab. It’s easy for them to see what they should NOT cut off since it is colored, but a helpful reminder (or two!) is a good idea.
Have children keep the paper on the table while they apply the glue to the tab(s). If they lean on their notebook page, the notebook page will get sticky, resulting in flaps that may not open and close because they are glued shut.
Glue the tab(s) down before making any cuts. It is easier to glue the paper to the page while it is still intact. If they make cuts first, the flaps are moving all over the place, making it difficult to glue the tab(s) onto the page.
See how easy it is to make the cuts now?
Have children color while waiting for the others to finish cutting and gluing. This keeps them happily engaged and occupied while your slower cutters and gluers finish up. Then, you can all work together on the actual lesson.
Always use the left side of the page for the children to apply what they have learned on the right side of the page. Eventually, the children can come up with their own way to explore connections to what has been learned. But, for now, I am helping them along.
Keep scrap bins at each table so students can easily and quickly dispose of their scraps. Assign table captains to put scrap bins and glue and scissor caddies on the table and to put them away when they are finished. The rest of the children can use a wipe to clean off the table.
Have students number each page they work on, so you can ask them to turn to a specific page when you want them to refer back to a previous lesson.
If you are thinking that you want to give interactive notebooks a try, but you are worried about how to fit it in to your already packed day, just remember this… Interactive Notebook activities should be used INSTEAD of other activities, not in addition to them.
And, there you have it! Nine helpful tips to ensure that your interactive notebook activities are always successful! So, what are you waiting for? Jump right in and join the fun!
I love to talk about interactive notebooks. Please let me know if you have any questions or want to pick my brain!
Lori is an experienced teacher with over 20 years spent in the classroom. She blogs over at Teaching With Love and Laughter, which, by the way, is exactly how she teaches: with lots of love and laughter! This must be why her students love her so much! She won teacher of the year for her school, county, and state, and really enjoys connecting with teachers from all over the world. Lori has been a TpT Teacher-Author for four years. She has an endless passion for creating activities for young learners that are engaging, differentiated, and interactive. Her activities are fun and challenging and do not require a lot of preparation. Many of them can be used all year long. In addition to teaching and creating, Lori absolutely loves yorkies, reading, and swimming. You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and on Twitter (she’s a newbie!).