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Interactive Notebooks- A MUST in Common Core Curriculum Classrooms

interactive notebooks early elementary classrooms

Interactive Notebooks

In the rigors of a Core Curriculum classroom, interactive notebooks will aid students to decipher and internalize their learning. With an interactive notebook, both teachers and students can follow a topic from beginning to end. Observations can be recorded. Process of information is tracked. What better way for all to see a students’ learning.

An interactive notebook is not just a notebook. In the real sense of the the term interactive means: (from Dictionary.com)



acting one upon or with the other.


of or relating to a two-way system of electronic communications, as bymeans of television or computer:

interactive communications between families using two-way cabletelevision.


(of a computer program or system) interacting with a human user,often in a conversational way, to obtain data or commands and to giveimmediate results or updated information:

For many years airline reservations have been handled by interactivecomputer systems.

That means that the notebook can be used to interact (relating or acting upon or with the other) with facts and information in a way that can never happen in a traditional notebook. Students don’t just take notes. They respond in many different ways to the information provided by the instructor or their research. It is not a student taking notes during a lecture. It is a complete note taking system where the teacher shows and helps students internalize what they are learning by responding to information.

One method of interacting in a notebooks uses the Cornell system of note taking. The page in a notebook is divided into three sections- left and right sides, and an area at the bottom.  The title or main idea is written at the top. On the right side (2 on diagram) students would write the notes from class. In section 1 (1 on diagram) students would write any questions they have, any thoughts they have about the content. And in the last section (3 on the diagram) students will summarize what they have learned in their own words. So they receive information, record any responses or questions with the content, then show what they have learned by summarizing it. Students follow their learning by looking back in their response. If they had questions they know what they need to look for. Teachers can see by their summary if they understood what was taught. Together, students and teachers can delve more into the content to fill in the gaps.

cornell interactive notebooks

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Another method of interacting in a notebook is using foldables  or mini books. These foldables are as simple as using a sticky note to cover one piece of information, to an elaborate mini book to illustrate an concept. The students are involved in the process from beginning to end. They put their own self into the foldables and mini books, along with the content from the teacher.

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This is just an introductory post about interactive notebooks. More to come for both students and teachers.




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