Best Notebooks for Interactive Notebooks

Interactive Notebooks: No Special Hardware Required

Before I started using interactive notebooks, I was just about able to make it through each day. For the sake of the pupils who were often misplacing their handouts, I would make multiple copies of each one. Students occasionally took notes, while other times they didn’t bother with it at all. My scores were based only on the end items, with no consideration given to the process. I had few or no opportunities to investigate the texts that we were learning in class utilising visual, logical, intrapersonal, or interpersonal learning styles. I found this frustrating because I really wanted to do so. If I wanted my students to write, it was necessary for me to gather every page that they produced in their notebooks. As a result, I always ended each school day with a pile of unread notebook pages on my desk. Classes consisted primarily of debate for the entirety of each and every day, with me serving as the primary source of energy for this conversation.

It was a stressful and difficult tangle.

Since 2005, I’ve been utilising interactive notebooks in my classes, and from that year forward, I’ve made it a point to ensure that every single teaching material I develop is compatible with this format. Without them, there is no way I could ever go back to teaching.


My interactive notebooks are straightforward notebooks with spiral bindings into which students paste or tape handouts that I provide. It is not a particularly elaborate system, and there are neither pop-up cutouts nor colouring pages included in the package. It is basically a straightforward and practical method for kids to create, publish, and investigate various concepts all inside the same location.

There are several advantages to using interactive notebooks in my classes, including the following:

I’ve learned a method for effectively managing and organising my classroom’s activities.
Each and every lesson makes use of a different instructional approach.
Students take far more responsibility for their own education throughout the entirety of the learning process.
I don’t gather the writing that my students produce in class more frequently than once every two weeks, despite the fact that they write virtually every day.
Most importantly, towards the end of the day I don’t feel (nearly) as exhausted as I used to.

The operation of my system looks like this.

1. The notebook setup can be completed in a reasonable amount of time and is of utmost significance. In addition, it is well worth the effort to check that we are all (figuratively) reading from the same sheet of paper.

The cover page that students create should include their names and the period in which they are working.
In the table of contents, all of the information and handouts that they could require at a later time are listed.
Every page is given a number, and this helps to ensure that everyone has the same right and left.
The end, as they say.

2. I support and encourage multiple approaches to learning. When I use interactive notebooks, I have a daily reminder to broaden the scope of my lesson plans and pay attention to more than one mode of education.

The left half of the page always contains something imaginative. The most of the time, it’s for writing, specifically five-minute free writings at the beginning or finish of the session. On occasion, it is for the purpose of charts, drawings, or notes pertaining to a group activity.

The content that is objective should go on the right side. Students should place any notes they took during the class discussion or the (very seldom) lecture in this section. Additionally, this is where they will place the questions that they will answer on their own, with their partners, or in groups. They simply need to study the pages on the right-hand side of the book in case there is a test on the content.

3. I have a few tips that can help you manage the procedure on a day-to-day basis. For instance, I post a running list of page numbers and assignments in the classroom so that kids don’t have to feel obligated to ask me “What page is it on?” twenty times in a single school day. (Not that this will necessarily prevent them from continuing.)

A stamp is yet another important tool in my arsenal. When there is work that needs to be turned in, I walk around the classroom and glance quickly at all of the kids’ notebooks. I might read one or two of the students’ answers as a random spot check. They will receive a stamp as a reward if the work is completed on time. After that, when it comes time to grade the notebooks, all I have to do is count the stamps. If they have all of them, then they will receive a score of 100 points for their homework.

4. The grading of the notebooks is not very laborious. It is actually rather enjoyable on sometimes. First, I do a cursory check to see if anything is missing or if work is left undone. The overall mark accounts for fifty percent of the notebook’s total grade, and any pages that are missing or incomplete result in a point deduction.

After that comes the enjoyable part. The other half of their notebook grade is determined solely on the content of just four pages. Students pick three assignments for me to grade, and I pick one of those three. They get the opportunity to show me the best work they’ve done, and I get the opportunity to discover what they enjoy doing and what they’re proud of; overall, the process feels like a discussion with each individual student. It saves me time since I don’t have to keep grading the same page, and in the end, I find that students produce their best work in their notebooks because there is less of a time crunch. (The reason why people become speechless when they see the word essay is a subject unto itself.)

As a teacher, one of the best pieces of advise I’ve ever been given is that by the time the class is through, the kids should be more exhausted than I am. The use of interactive notebooks allows me to keep a little more of myself for the end of the day, despite the fact that there are times when I still feel fatigued and that there are occasions when my classroom still feels like a mess.