Sunday, August 24, 2014

Setting Up Interactive Notebooks



I have received several emails about HOW to set up my interactive notebooks. This is a very personal decision, but I want to share how I do it with my kiddos. When you purchase one of my interactive notebooks, there are directions of how to personalize and set up the notebooks to work for you, as well as pictures of what it can look like as a finish product.

I use 70 page wide ruled spiral notebooks for my journals. The pages fit perfectly in them. Many teachers prefer composition books. Either one works. If you choose to use composition books, you will need to print the pages at a reduced rate before you make a class set to fit into the books. Use what works best for you and your students.

Each of my interactive notebooks also comes with strand tabs and strand covers for each of the areas the notebook covers. I like to copy the strand tabs on different colored Astrobright paper. This helps the students easily identify the strand we are working on. 


Since I am a control freak organized person, I set up my student notebooks with the strand tabs ahead of time. This is actually a very hard thing for first through third graders to do and leaves A LOT of room for error. I tried having my own fifth grade son help me, and it was a frustrating task for him. So, I recruited my mom to help me instead. I prefer to use the front and back of the notebook pages and add several extra pages to each section for any mistakes that my occur when they are used by the students. I count the number of activities in each strand and then add about 5 extra pages. 

Then, I have the STUDENTS color and glue the strand cover on top of the tab for reinforcement. Other people have laminated the tabs and stapled them into the notebooks instead of gluing them. Both work beautifully.

Finally, I glue the notebook cover (included) to the front of the notebook. I use clear packing tape to reinforce the top and bottom of the cover too. Some people like to laminate the covers and then tape them, as well. 

Storage Suggestions:
I have my students store their notebooks in their own desk. This does not work for everyone. I have not found it to be a problem so far. The tabs get bent through the year, but that will happen anyway, so it does not bother me that much. I have also used table bins or baskets to store them in. Experiment and see what works for your class. 

Loose Pieces:
As we all know, students work at different paces. This can be frustrating and challenging to manage when some students have small pieces cut out, but not glued yet. I have tried to design many of my notebook pages to NOT have many little pieces for this very reason. However, sometimes it is unavoidable. In previous years, I had the kids put the pieces on top of the page they were working on before they closed their notebook. This was not full proof by any means. This year, I am going to glue a small manila envelope to the inside of the back cover of the notebook. Erin Cobb, from Lovin' Lit, shared this idea on her blog. I think it is simply brilliant and will solve my problem easily. 

I hope these tips and tricks help you get your interactive notebooks set up with ease. Enjoy!

10 comments :

  1. I am using your interactive math notebook with my 3rd graders--it's awesome! :)

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  2. You could also tape a zip lock sandwich bag in the bag of their notebook

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  3. Awesome ideas! I tried to use interactive notebooks last year and it was too tedious for some reason. Going to give it a go again this year with a little more planning in place. Thanks for the inspiration!

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    1. I am so glad you got some ideas to help you implement interactive notebooks in your classroom. My system is ever evolving. I am always tweaking things to make it work better for each group of kiddos. I hope you don't give up on the idea of using them because they are an incredible tool and the the kids love them. Best of luck!

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  4. This year I'm stapling a file folder to the front cover making two pockets to store little pieces, unfinished work, and things I don't want glued inside. I'm also having students glue tabs as we go. Some topics needed more pages and some needed less.

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    1. Those are great ideas! I glue small manila envelopes to the back of my notebooks for small pieces too. I hope you love using INB notebooks with your students.

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  5. How many pages do you leave between each strand? What do you do if you run out of pages in a particular section?

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  6. I teach 5th grade and I am interested in your round tabs template. Do you have it for sale or directions on how you created them?

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  7. grt!! im trying to figure out how i can incorporate some of the ideas for HS.
    thanx

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