Interactive Notebooks: DIY Tabs, Table of Contents, and Notebook Checks

Last year, the ToC for my INB were pretty plain:

After seeing Sarah's newer version, I decided to make my own new version.

I usually do 4-6 concepts per unit. I loved Sara's idea for page numbers. I put boxes underneath the concept title so students can track their grades, I haven't decided yet how I want to grade but if I revert to what I did last year those spaces will be for quizzes, quiz retakes, and tests.

Next I've had a lot of questions about how I keep students accountable for keeping up their notebooks.

First of all, I don't grade them. I do notebook/binder checks about four times a year. Here's what that looks like:

I cut these in half and give them to each student. They write their name on Binder Owner. Then I make them rotate in some way and sit at someone else's desk. Now they write their name on Binder Checker. Then they go through and check for what I've asked for. Sometimes I give them red pens to make sure no one erases anything. The rest is pretty self-explanatory. They go back to their seat and look at their score, then I collect.

If students question their score I check it myself or if things seem suspicious I check myself. Otherwise, they are motivated to keep up with their notebooks because I let them use them on tests. This is what we do in class so they don't get an option to not participate, Just like any class work we do, no one gets to do nothing.

Lastly, unit tabs. I feel like I got this file from someone maybe but I also feel like I later decided to make my own.

I made enough tabs for each student in every class plus myself for my example notebooks. That's how many cells you need in the table. Then right click on the table, click AutoFit, then select Fixed Column Width. No matter what you type, the cells will not expand so that every tab is the same width.

The first unit tab for every class was yellow. So I typed the title of the first unit for every course into one document. It was only two pages for about 95 students. Then I printed those on yellow paper. I laminated at home because my laminate is thicker than at school. And finally the dreaded task.....cutting. That sucked but that's what Netflix is for! I separated them by course and then stored them in snack size ziplock bags. Students taped them on the same page as the table of contents which was always on the RHP with a blank LHP.

And of course the Table of Contents was yellow too. Use two pieces of tape on the tab itself. Two is important!! Only one and it will fall out.

Finished product:

Kids reallllly liked the tabs. If they didn't get one or lost it they were on me about getting them one. And they're just pretty!

make things pretty + make pretty things


  1. You are on a roll blogging lately! I love you table of contents! It's similar in spirit to my Learning Target tracking sheets, but neat & pretty! School starts next week & I plan to use everything you shared in this post! Thanks for making me appear more organized than I really am.

    1. Thanks Lisa! I've had a lot of blog ideas since the end of school but no motivation to actually write them. Lol Then everyone started doing the Blaugust challenge so I thought I might as well join in!

  2. How did you secure them? I've been googling (and searching your blog) trying to find instructions for something similar. Thanks! Julie