- Appropriate for several grades due to differentiation
- Including a 2nd language is possible
- Suitable for a variety of topics, from thematic units to grammar and math
- Students work visually with a variety of graphic organizers
- Suitable for both basic and extended units
The purpose of interactive notebooks (INB) is simple: to give students a visual approach and a graphic organization of new (and known) concepts. Interactive notebooks are great for reviewing themes, and for practice! Not to mention – fun to work with! 🙂
Why are interactive notebooks beneficial?
First and foremost because students have different styles of learning. Adapting to each student’s needs also means taking this into account. Having a visual style of learning entails thinking in images, and have more success with visual approaches such as mind maps, images, graphics, diagrams, movies and so on.
My experience is that the process of working through the interactive notebooks is engaging and fun for the students. There is a lively (but not necessarily loud) chatter as they color, cut and assemble. I find this to be a valuable part of the process. Having learning partners discuss what to add, what to leave out, how to explain this and that.. it’s a thought process that requires reasoning and reasonable arguments.
Thematic units with word circles
Each of the thematic INB units have a variety of different templates and tasks. One of the things I always include when I’m working with my students are word circles. They contain the vocabulary image and words associated with the topic, and are perfect for practice! We use them to write sentences (draw one, write about it), oral assignments (draw one and explain what it is without using the word) and to play games. Two of our favorite games are handing out all the circles to two or more students, and they have to ask for missing circles to collect pairs – without using the word – and memory of course! The number of ways to use them only stops with our imagination. 🙂
Various flippables and foldables + differentiation
I find that using a variety of different flippables and foldables in the different units is useful in order to keep the students interested and motivated. They are familiar with the concept, and the actual shape of the flippable doesn’t change that – they know what to do!
Differentiation is easy with interactive notebooks. Working with the thematic vocabulary units for instance, students work at their own natural level. For some that means writing the words, for others it means writing sentences, or even short texts. Looking at the vegetable unit, one could differentiate by writing the word “broccoli”, writing descriptive sentences, or even adding facts related to nutrition and where they grow. This applies to all thematic units!
I hope this inspired you to work with interactive notebooks! Should you wish to use any of mine, you can find them below!
All current interactive notebooks