INB Hacks

After four years of regularly using Interactive Notebooks, I'd like to share some hacks.

1. Tabs and Pill Box

I've written before about how I make and use tabs for each unit in the INB, but I also wanted to mention that I do each unit in a different color of paper but I follow the same pattern for each prep. 

At the top I have book marks. We use file size rubber bands and hole punch the back cover; this helps keep the notebook closed as it gets fatter. I use duck tape on the spine to also help keep the notebook closed. This was the first year that I bought the same notebook for every prep but I mean, how could I not when it's teal and chevron?

And like the picture at the top of this post, I decorate a pill box with the numbers of each period. I laminate the tabs, cut, and store in here for students to get.

2. Digital Table of Contents

This year was the first time I thought of this idea and it has been SO great. In previous years, I had a whiteboard designated solely to INB Table of Contents. I drew a little template and then wrote in the titles when I passed out new pages. Buttt with four different preps, sometimes they got confused and copied down the wrong title or page numbers. Sometimes things got erased. So this year I made a powerpoint for each prep. I even colored the slides to match the tabs and pages in each unit. As students were taking a quiz, I would update the title on the slide and display it. This was students' cue to get their new pages after a quiz, cut, tape, and label. This will also help me remember the titles, order, and colors for next year. It's already ready to go!

3. Cut in Half and Fold Lines
While most of my INB pages are single pages cut in half , sometimes folding is involved. Or flaps. Or sometimes students forget which page goes on the left and on the right after they cut them apart. This year I started putting notes of where to fold and tape.

I plan to put LHP and RHP and a dotted cut line on all of the regular pages for next year.

4. Table of Contents

I've also mentioned this in the previous post but I updated it again to included little bars for students to color in as a self-assessment.

5. Unit Reflections

I made a slightly different unit reflection for each unit. I worked hard on factoring in our bell ringers so I also put them on the unit reflection. The one question I asked every unit was for them to rate their effort.

This link to my box.com folder shows all my unit reflections.

6. Paper Trays
One of the best things I ever did was to set up these paper trays and my box of tabs on the chrome book cart. After every quiz or test, everything was laid out for them to add to their INB and the new title was displayed on the SMART board.

7. Google Form Binder Check

I only 'grade' notebooks once a quarter and I do it by having students trade binders and answer 10 questions. Basically they are looking for things in the binder and notebook: specific answers, labeling, organization. This year I used a Google Form and it graded itself! Magnifical.

This is my first time trying to embed a form so please let me know if it doesn't work.

I really love INBs and I'd love to hear your hacks or ideas you've seen others do! Also everything is much cuter when you download it than it looks in these widgets!


  1. I love INBs too! This past semester I attempted to put all my pages each day on Edmodo. I was better about it in the class where the students would get upset if they were absent and I hadn't posted it. Other than that, I feel pretty unorganized about getting out the papers to the students if they are absent. I did do the TOC with the skills already typed in, and I liked that a lot. Hoping this year I get one more thing to click!

    1. I spent last year making digital answer keys for each INB page so that I can post them all on Google Classroom this year. My next step will be to work out each page on video to post for absent students.

  2. OMG...the peer check of the INB's is genius! I want to try that this year!

  3. On the landscape pages where the left half says "fold and tape to left/right side," WHERE did you get the polynomial and synthetic division example problems/notes? Did you make that yourself? With what program? Where did you find such excellent resources?!

    1. https://scaffoldedmath.blogspot.com/search/label/math%20cheat%20sheets