7 Reasons to Use Interactive Notebooks

Hello! My name is Jennifer Smith-Sloane from 4mulaFun and I am ECSTATIC to be here at Minds In Bloom with you today! I have been using Interactive Notebooks in some way, shape or form for the past 8 years and "officially" the correct way since Fall of 2010. I have seen so many benefits with the usage of them over the past years as well as grown and developed as a teacher to better help my students. Currently I travel around and present not only about the benefits but also how to implement and sparking ideas in teachers to help them along their way.

So what is it about Interactive Notebooks that make them such a hot commodity in education? Why are they such a beneficial tool for students and teachers? What can classrooms and parents gain from their usage?

1. Interactive Notebooks teach students to organize and synthesize their thoughts.
By working with students to create a process for them to organize their thinking you will be able to teach study skills without "teaching" them. Processes build structure and and the with use of left and right side pages students will naturally organize their thoughts.

2. Interactive Notebooks accommodate multiple learning styles at one time in (and out of) the classroom.
Whether you do teacher input activities as a whole group or a small group, student output activities give students the ability to show exactly where they are in their understanding of the subject.

3. Student-Teacher-Parent interaction is built and strengthened with the use of Interactive Notebooks.
When students are working on homework at home with their Interactive Notebooks, not only will students be able to use them but parents will be able to have a resource into the learning that is taking place in the classroom.

4. Students are building a portfolio that allows for teachers to track growth over time.
Reflections of what students are learning in their output pages (as well as the work shown) will show how they are synthesizing the information learned in class and as students develop further skills this will be reflected in their output. These reflections are great to show during parent-teacher conferences and even discuss during student-teacher conferences.

Comparing Quantities with WKU Flippable

5. Interactive Notebooks have students create a resource to use as they continue to extend their learning.
An interactive notebook works as a textbook for students that is theirs. Not only are they taking beneficial notes, practicing and reflecting on material but they are also using that information as they work on future activities. Students are going back and reviewing the prior pages repeatedly and therefore building exposure to the material each time.

6. Students take ownership of their learning through color and creativity.
One of the main things that helps students to buy in to the use of Interactive Notebook is not the benefits they can see from it but the ability for it to be their own. When students know, and are allowed, to use color in their notebooks it makes their notes come alive. Using colored paper, markers, colored pencils, etc. make it easier to sort information and group things together. This creativity also sparks the visual learning when they are expected to remember and apply the information at a later date.

7. Interactive Notebooks reduce clutter in the classroom as well as in student's lives.
By having students take all of their notes and then also practice and reflect in one location it allows for them be organized and therefore eliminates excess papers being lost and misplaced when students would benefit from using them as they learn.

Are you looking into starting Interactive Notebooks in your classroom? I've compiled several of my resources into an Interactive Notebooks Starter Pack to help you get started or even to enhance what you are already doing in your classroom. Just click on the image below to grab your copy for free by clicking on the image below.

Interactive Notebooks Starter's Pack


I have been an educator for 10 years with experience in elementary, middle school, and college. Math has been my passion since a young age which no doubt resulted in my secondary math-teaching career. Currently I am a a Differentiated Curriculum Designer and Presenter traveling the nation to train teachers on the effectiveness of Interactive Notebooks and Differentiation in the classroom. When she is not traveling and training I live in a Dallas, TX suburb with my husband Michael and our two dachshunds, and spend time blogging at 4mulaFun and creating resources for my TpT Store.


Linda said...

Oh, Jennifer I think you've just convinced me to get off the fence! I've been "sort of" using interactive notebooks but definitely not "officially" or in the correct way! I love that students can use them as a resource to refer back to and the organization and portfolio of learning aspect of them are an added bonus!


Performing in Fifth said...

LOVE this post! I started seriously using Interactive Notebooks during Math this year and my scores have soared! There was one day where we took regular notes and my kids were NOT engaged at all. That really showed me the value of the interactive notes we were doing. My only regret is that I didn't take enough pictures of my students putting their together every day - it would have been a great blog post!

Alicia said...

Many good points!

RECIHS Scholars of Science said...

Left side—Output
This is where you personally connect with the information on the attached right side page

Right side—Input
This is where you put incoming information: notes, data, and so on.

On the left side you will:

Date, label, and number each page

Do output exercises, such as:
•Summary techniques
•Word splat
•Alphabet review
•CD label
•321 reviews
•The thing about…
•First letter first word (acrostic)
•One word/one image summaries
•Graphic organizers
•Flow charts
•Word webs
•Mind maps
•Concept maps
•Venn diagrams
•Creative stuff
•Brainstorming/Brain dumps
•Weird and bizarre thoughts/ideas/images
•Outcome sentences
•I learned…
•I am surprised…
•I wonder…
•I now understand…
•I rediscovered…
•I like…
•I don’t like…
•The important thing about…

On the right side you will:

Date, label, and number each page

Write down information from:

Resource note: For online graphic organizers try
Print them out and tape them in.

when i read your formatting it appears the opposite of what i have researched - this copy and pasting from NSTA did nt align correctly but you can see input on the right is from teacher ( lectures, notes etc) left side is output from student synthesis

Jennifer Smith-Sloane said...

Ms. Englert,

While I know that many research studies state the opposite for Input/Output placement I have been working this way because it is what my brain understands. I have seen success doing it this way with my students as well. I am a proponent of "Your Notebook May Vary" and tell teachers all the time to do what works for them and their students.

Teaching Resources

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