I discovered interactive notebooks on Pinterest a few years ago and fell in love. It was as if someone took the idea that hadn't quite formulated in my head yet, and put it beautifully down on paper. They are a way to teach important concepts with hands-on, meaningful foldables. They also create a great reference or portfolio for students to refer back to throughout the year.
As I was ruminating on the power of interactive notebooks (INB), I decided that they would be a perfect match for teaching about growth mindset. They would easily engage our students and provide a tactile way to learn about fostering a growth mindset.
WHAT ARE INTERACTIVE NOTEBOOKS?
Well that all sounds nice, but what exactly are INBs? They are foldables that are glued into a journal where students can write or draw important information. The students can color each foldable and you can truly customize the content to fit your needs.
(My interactive notebook templates are sized to fit both the regular notebooks and the composition notebooks.)
WHY ARE INB'S BENEFICIAL?
INBs allow for a lot of flexibility when teaching a concept. You can cover the same topic in multiple ways without boring the students. Using multiple templates also helps reinforce what the students have learned.
INBs are also a great way to teach note taking and practicing writing skills. They teach students different ways to take notes and different formats they can use to write. This will help them develop an understanding of which type of note taking works best for them.
INBs also help with grading and classroom organization. Instead of grading many loose papers daily, you can collect the INBs weekly (or whatever time frame works for you) and grade them en masse. By bunching the task of grading together, you can cut down on wasted time and get more done.
Other benefits include:
- You can reach a variety of learning styles.
- Students take more ownership of the learning process.
- Students practice their writing every day.
HOW TO SET UP INBs:
1. Decide which kind of notebook you want to use.
2. Create a cover page with a space for the student's name. You can also create a table of contents in the front and a glossary in the back.
3. Decide exactly how you want to use your INB. Will you use it daily? Just for certain topics? Will you have a formal setup where the left pages are for class handouts, and the right pages are for notes and brainstorming?
4. Go over the procedures for using the INBs with your class. Where will your students get their glue and scissors? Will they do the pages individually or together with you as a class? What happens if they are absent?
GRADING AND MANAGING YOUR INBs:
You need to decide how often to collect and grade your INBs. Think about if you want to give a participation grade or grade each page.
A trick to help with grading is to use a stamp or check mark. When a page is due, you can walk around the room. Every student who has the page finished gets a stamp or check mark. This is also a good time to spot check a few notebooks. Then, when you are going to grade the INBs, you can count up the total number of checks each student has. That number can be their grade.
Another idea is to let your students select 3 pages (or whatever amount you deem appropriate) for you to grade. These are pages are ones that the students feel particularly proud of. It also helps you get to know your students better and focus on their strengths.
INBs FOR GROWTH MINDSET:
INBs work really well when covering growth mindset topics. They provide a hands-on way to talk about what a growth mindset is, as well as other topics like grit, setting goals, overcoming challenges, and listening to helpful feedback. Students can write down ideas that are meaningful to them as well as notes from you.
I recommend covering a topic and doing an INB page that matches immediately after. This will help cement each concept and also create a great reference for students to refer back to.
The best part about INBs is that you can customize them to fit your classroom needs. You can set up a system that works for you and your students. I know you'll love INBs as much as I do!