Benefits of Interactive Notebooks in the Classroom

If you're not using interactive notebooks in your classroom, you're missing out! These versatile tools meet the needs of a variety of learning styles, help students organize while they learn, and are valuable study tools.

As a teacher, you are always looking for ways to engage your students and meet their individual needs. One way to do this is by using foldables and interactive notebooks in your classroom. Foldables are a simple folded piece of paper that help students organize their notes. Interactive notebooks are journals where students keep their class notes and activities. Their notebook becomes their own personalized textbook throughout the course.

Interactive notebooks and foldables are perfect to keep students engaged and focused in your classroom.

I often interchange the words foldable and interactive notebook.  For me, I have students keep their foldables in their interactive notebooks, so in my head they tend to all be part of the same bigger picture.  However, I know that some people have different ideas that work with their teaching style and courses.  The important is to find what works well for you and your students. Let's take a look at the benefits of using both of these tools in the classroom.

Interactive notebooks meet the needs of a variety of learning styles.

Foldables are a great way to engage students of all learning styles. Visual learners will appreciate the opportunity to create a visual representation of the material they are learning. Kinesthetic learners will enjoy the hands on nature of creating the foldables. All learners will benefit from having organized notes that they can refer back to.

Interactive notebooks and foldables are perfect to keep students engaged and focused in your classroom.

Foldables help students organize while they learn.

Foldables help students organize information in a way that makes sense to them. They can be used to sort and classify information, organize cause and effect relationships, take notes, and more. By having a specific place for everything, there's no need to waste time searching for lost handouts (that are smashed like an accordion at the bottom of a backpack!). Everything has its place in an interactive notebook. In fact, I number my pages and have students number theirs the same as mine.  Then, I can refer to exact page numbers when students ask me a question (or parents complain that I never taught something).

Interactive notebooks are valuable study tools.

All of my notes and activities for a unit go in the interactive notebook. So these notebooks are valuable study tools that include everything we have done in class. Students can use them to review key concepts before tests and quizzes. The visual nature of the notebook helps students remember content. They also teach students how to use their notes when they become stuck. Instead of asking for help, they can refer back to the information they have recorded in their notebook. Students are essentially creating their own textbook!

Interactive notebooks give students pride and ownership of their work.

There's nothing quite like seeing a student's eyes light up when they realize they can create something that's both aesthetically pleasing and functions. And when students are proud of their work, they're more likely to take care of it and actually use it as a reference tool. I've only ever has ONE notebook go missing (their entire backpack was stolen), even though I let students take them home. ONE. When students create something with their own two hands, they naturally feel proud of their work and take ownership over it. My students color their pages and end up creating something beautiful they are proud of.

Interactive notebooks and foldables are perfect to keep students engaged and focused in your classroom.

No more boring worksheets, so engagement is higher.

With interactive notebooks, there's no need for tedious worksheets that get lost in the bottom of student's backpacks. When you incorporate foldables and interactive notebooks into your lessons, your students will be so engaged they won't even realize they're learning! Gluing puzzles, card sorts, and other activities is a great way to think outside of the worksheet while still providing practice that students need. Allowing students to express their creativity while they learn will result in higher engagement levels and deeper understanding of content material. Bored students create problems and interactive notebooks keep students busy.

Foldables require students use higher level thinking skills.

When students are given the opportunity to create foldables for their interactive notebook, they have to use higher level thinking skills such as analysis, synthesis, evaluation, and creation. These skills are essential not only for academic success, but for success in all areas of life.

Interactive notebooks hold students accountable.

When students know their notebooks will be checked regularly, they're more likely to actually follow through with the assigned tasks and put in the necessary effort. Before I used interactive notebooks, my students didn't always care if they missed a lesson. When I started using interactive notebooks, I noticed that students were seeking out the notes they missed so they could fill the holes in their notebooks. It didn't happen every time with every student, but it was often enough that I noticed. This accountability can lead to increased engagement and improved grades. I also love seeing students seek out information they missed, instead of me trying to play catch up later.

Interactive notebooks and foldables are perfect to keep students engaged and focused in your classroom.

Interactive notebooks provide a wide variety of benefits for both teachers and students alike. The best part is that you can customize your notebook for your students and your teaching style. If you haven't already started using them in your classroom, what are you waiting for? Your students will thank you for it!