Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Interactive Notebooks Tips & Tricks: Part 3

Welcome to part three of my interactive notebook series! In this post, I am going to be discussing different ways to manage your notebooks in the classroom. If you missed the first two posts about why to use interactive notebooks and how to set them up, the links are at the end of this post.

At this point, you have committed to using interactive notebooks or at least giving them a try because you know all the awesome learning benefits of your students creating them. You also have some ideas on what you need to do to set up your notebooks, before you even put them into the hands of your little learners. Today, I want to help you conquer HOW TO MANAGE these bad boys. This can be tricky, so you may need to try a few different ideas before you get it "just right".

There are so many different ways to store your student notebooks. It really depends on your classroom set up. In my classroom, I have a table/desk for every 2 students with a place for them to keep their supplies and books. This picture will give you an idea of how I set up my desks. 

Each of my students has their own supply box with materials they will need throughout the school day. In this box they have crayons, pencils, erasers, a glue stick, dry erase marker, and correcting pens. I HATE, dislike greatly, the idea of communal supplies. As a kid, and even as an adult, I like my things "just so". I take care of my things. Not everybody has the same standards of taking care of their supplies. For this reason, I always have my students keep their own supplies in their desks. This is what their boxes look like. 

Why am I telling you all of this? What does it have to do with interactive notebook storage?  

The point is, my students always have the supplies they need to complete their notebook pages with them. I don't have to waste time passing out supplies. The only thing they have to get is scissors. I will not let them keep these in their desks. When we work in our notebooks, I dismiss the kids by table to get a pair of scissors to use. SIMPLE. EASY. TAKES 2 SECONDS.

All my students keep their interactive notebooks INSIDE their own desk! Yes, I know this is unheard of in many classrooms. I have NEVER had a problem with the notebooks being destroyed or damaged. In second grade, we have one textbook for reading. All of our other resources are consumable. The materials they need are stored in folders in their desks. The point is, they don't have a lot to keep in their desks, therefore their notebooks survive. 

Many teachers use bins or trays, such as these, to store their notebooks in also.

I suggest experimenting and seeing what works best for you. Don't give up!

Oh the dreaded "little pieces!" I solved this problem pretty easily by gluing an envelope to the back cover of the notebook. Tape does not work. It peels off too easily. A little white glue and you are all set. I suggest doing this when you are setting up your notebooks BEFORE they are in the students possession. 

There will ALWAYS be those students that don't finish in the allotted time frame. My students finish their notebooks during morning warm up the next day. Sometimes, I allow them to take it home as part of their homework. It really depends on the child and if I feel they are responsible enough to bring it back the next day. If we are doing center work, I integrate the notebooks at that time. Students need to finish any incomplete pages first, before starting a new one. These 3 options usually get the job done! 

I hope you were able to take away a few management tips and tricks. I hope you stop by next week for part four: Grading and Rubrics.


If you missed any of the posts in this series, be sure to check them out by clicking on the links below.


  1. Thanks so much for these ideas on setting up interactive notebooks. I will be teaching 6th grade this year and I want to incorporate IAN this year.Your ideas are really giving me guidance for getting started. Can you give us tips on your day to day routine? Do you devote a page for every day or every few days?

    1. I do not use my interactive notebooks every day. I use them 2-3 times a week regularly.

  2. Love this series...I have dabbled in INB the last 2 years but am jumping in more fully this year. I love your idea of personal supplies vs community supplies. So my question is about the boxes you used. Where did you find them? Or what did you repurpose for them? I love the height.

    1. I am so glad you love the INB series and that you are able to grab some ideas to help you implement them in your classroom. The supply boxes I use are purchased through my district, so I can't direct you to a specific store or provide you a link. They are called cardboard supply boxes in our district catalog. I am so sorry I cannot be more specific.