Interactive Notebook Tips

If you're new to INBs, check out my posts here here and here to get started and see my obsession.

If you're not new to INBs, I hope you can still find {or suggest} something useful.

  • Text Boxes: I create all my INB pages in Microsoft Word. I start by making the orientation landscape, narrow margins, and one page view. Then I insert a text box and change the size to 8.2 by 5.2. Then I copy the text box so that I now have two text boxes. Then I click Print so I can see the preview and make sure the edges of the box aren't cut off. Now I make all of my content fit inside those two text boxes. Before printing, I remove the outline of the box 
  • {so it doesn't get messed up when copying}. When students get the page, they cut in half and tape into the LHP and RHP of their notebooks.

  • Tell Them Where To Tape: If you're doing a foldable or even just a paper folded in half and taped in, I find that literally telling students where to fold and tape keeps them from accidentally cutting it in half. I've also learned to not put those directions in a thick/bold font because it will show through. =) And if you don't already know this, my copier makes me turn the second page upside down when I copy front to back so that it folds correctly.

  • Print Two Sheets Per Page: If you find a nice worksheet or activity with lots of parts, sometimes it is easier to print two sheets to a page than to try to recreate it in a way that fits two to a page on your own. This option is at the bottom of the print options.

  • Make Your Own Sample Notebook: This is something I get behind on all the time but it is so valuable. When you have your own notebook ready to go, it works great to walk around the class and model to students. Also, if students are absent, when they return you can just hand them your notebook to get caught up on their own. I don't advise making your pages more than 1 or 2 lessons ahead of time because you never know what might come up or change. I like to use pretty prints that I can easily tell apart and I use a different color pen for each as well.

  • Make A Sample to Demo: While it's important to have your example already finished for students to see, for more complicated pieces you might need a live demonstration. For example, I recently posted about my function notation slider INB page. I had mine finished but I also made an extra so I could stand in front of them and show them how to bend the slider and cut slits in it without destroying the whole thing. You can never be too clear with your directions.
  • Extra Copies: This goes for anything being handed to students but always make extra copies! Especially if it's a complex foldable. You hate to go all the work of creating and copying it just for a student to cut it the wrong way {which will happen} and then you have no extras.
  • Color: Most of my INB pages are not fancy foldables or super cool sliders. They are just notes with directions and examples. One way to add some dimension is to have students highlight, circle, or underline important things. Anytime we graph we use markers, especially when graphing more than one item. Color With Purpose as some call it is a great way to emphasize differences or similarities or connections. For example, when graphing absolute value equations, we first found the vertex, made a table, then graphed. So we highlighted the vertex we found algebraically, the vertex in the table, and the vertex of the actual graph. Also, anything to do with inequalities or shading we always use colored pencils. Color coordinating is love.

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