An Interactive Notebook Progress Report

My class has been working on their Interactive Notebooks, which we now refer to as “Interactive Journals.” “Journal” is the term we use school-wide for composition books. It is a habit and just easier. Same idea.

I am really happy with how it’s going. They are engaged and they are responsive. It’s cute how they remember definitions from last year and suggest we put them under the flaps (as if I didn’t already think of that!)

I have learned that I need to show some of my students the sample I have created – allowing them to touch and lift the flaps.

Others seem to enjoy figuring it out on their own and are pretty good at it. One of my struggling readers is by far the best at this and it is so nice to build his confidence by asking him to help others.

This week I am actually going to post the directions (included in the bundle I purchased) on the SMARTBoard. I think that will be very helpful to a few of them.

There are some things I need to refine and improve on:

  • Cutting is difficult for a few of my students and the pieces are really hacked by the time they are done. This morning I decided to trim some the handouts and larger pieces with the paper-cutter. Hopefully this will save some time and some paper. (I’ve also been making two extra copies for major cutting disasters.)
  • Coloring might need to be a homework thing or done in study hall – they are really into the coloring, but it is a little time-consuming. I am going to use my Joann’s coupons and try to buy some more Crayola Twistable Colored Pencils because my pencil sharpener is destroying my colored pencils.
  • I need to allot more class time for reviewing and using the foldables. Right now, I am not sure they know how to interact with the things we have made. Some are also lacking study skills. I need to do a better job referencing the foldables and encouraging them to use them during lessons.
  • On that note, I tried to incorporate more activities that would require some response to the foldables in my lesson plans this week. An extension, I guess you would call it.
  • I also want to print out some of their creations from the iPad and glue them in to help make a connection between the two activities.

I will post an update in a few weeks and let you know how it goes. Meanwhile, if you have any tips or ideas, be sure to share them in the comments!



4 responses

  1. I have used the notebook in my 6th grade science classes. The kids love them, but yes it took a long time to get them into the glueing and cutting. The second year I added 8.5 X 11 spiral notebook to the supplies list so that no one needed to cut, the pages fit perfectly into those! It saves so much time. I use the a dot is a lot!” saying with the glue and they were pros after 2 months.

    In regards to connecting it all together, once a week we did a review most times on Friday. Just for a few mins to go over the wonderful things we did that week related to the topic. I would have them write it all down on a page in their notebooks, so when it was time to study they had a page that pointed to all the great pieces they made.

    1. Great idea for the Friday review! Originally I bought spiral notebooks but I realized they were way too cheap and were not going to last. I may have to get something a little now expensive.

      I did figure out that if I use a highlighter to trace just outside the lines, my one student can cut much neater.

  2. I love reading your blog. I, too, am exploring the use of interactive notebooks and using folding notes. I teach English to 7th graders, and so far, they seem to really get into it. I like how you want to connect their iPad creations. I have been using resources from and will also use Dinah Zikes’s stuff. Looking forward to reading more from you!

    1. Thanks for visiting! I’m using the exact same thing from I haven’t seen the other stuff but I will check it out!

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