I'm working with two teachers in a content literacy project. They are planning to use an interactive student notebook approach to notetaking in their math classrooms. One has used the concept with her science classes for the last two years and has a wonderful foundation of understanding. She is already pushing our thinking, but wants some more specific examples of the reflection pieces in a math class. We are making connections to multiple representations, real-world connections, acronyms, etc. but are looking for some thinking outside the box. Does anyone have any insights or would anyone like to pursue this 'adventure' with us?
It's June and we are planning for use in August so this is a rather time sensitive question.
We know math teachers value note taking because we all do it with our students, but we also know that many teacher (almost ALL) will also say their students don't use their notes for anything. This approach to notetaking is an attempt to make the notes functional for our students. We are working with seventh grade teachers but would be really interested in sharing our thinking with others.

I look forward to hearing from others

Tags: interactive, note-taking, notebook, student, summarizing, synthesizing

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Let me tell you that from experience interactive notebooks are fantastic. I was a language arts teacher and had much success in using interactive notebooks. I have a powerpoint that I presented to the social studies teachers in our district that showed the basic principals of interactive notebooks. Though they started in science they have application in all content areas. Parents loved the fact that they knew exactly what pages information is on and that the students were working with notes beyond just studying. Our science and social teachers in our 7th grade and 6th and 8th grade science teachers are using these next year.

I wish your teachers, you, and your students success with this. It is a great way to have students apply higher order thinking skills and really helps middle school students with organization. They also provide a great review prior to state standardized tests.
Candice, thanks for your reply. I agree that ISNs are great tools for getting students involved with course material in a real way, building in reflections, metacognition about new/old learning. I would love to know what your math teachers think about ISNs? Have you had a chance to discuss the idea with them? What is there hesitation/reticence? I'm currently looking at the program of studies for 7th grade and creating some example reflection/connection prompts for math that relate to the expected curricula topics (i.e. rational thinking, area and perimeter relations of polygons, etc.), do you have any ideas or know where some might be found. We've found a few sites with some math connections:

The teachers that I'm working with are trying to map out much of the first semester so that they can visualize what they are doing.
I'm trying to look for any or all thinking about how they have been applied in mathematics. We're thinking about keeping all of our conversations so we can put together an article at the end of the year.

Additionally, have you or anyone thought about what this might look like from using literacy technologies to capture the work? I'm thinking about using a blog, and several other tools to capture the entire notebook (like google notebook, flickr, wikispaces). I'm looking for any interesting uses or explorations.

Thanks again for your response.
Hello. I am looking forward to using IN this year in my 7th and 8th grade LA classes. Do you have a sample Contents Page that you gave students at the beginning of the year? I've seen some for Social Studies, but not LA. If you don't mind sharing, please forward to me. I'd also love to see your power point. Thanks for sharing your experience!
Is there a possibility that you still have that powerpoint presentation? I too am interested in setting up an interactive notebook in my class and want to encourage my fellow social studies teachers to participate.
Here you go.

Do you have any suggestions on how to get started with interactive notebooks in Language Arts?? I'm really excited to get started in the coming school year, but I'm kind of overwhelmed with where to start!

Although I'm not a math teacher, we use YouFig (www.youfig.com) for work among our students as well as some note taking during class. One of its nice features is that the teacher can see the students' notes and help them out "in real time". They also really enjoy using it, which is really what matters.
I have used ISNs for several years in Social Studies and love them. One of the great things with ISNs is that they are so versatile. They can be set up in any way that fits your teaching style and the students learning style. Because I teach in a small private school, I teach 5/6/7/8 SS, so I know the make up of the majority of the students when I get them and can adjust the way I use them accordingly. One of my classes had 40% LD students. They could NOT get "the hang" of the left right concept. We went sequentially. For them it worked just as well.

Interactive Student Notebooks have been a "hot topic" on many of the teacher forums the past few years. I put together a wiki compiling the many sites shared by teachers.


It was a public space, but I had to switch it to protected due to some inappropriate comments being posted, but please feel free to join and add to the content.
Thanks Wendy,
I have been a member of Classroom 2.0 for about 8 minutes! And I have already found so many great ideas. Thank you so much for your post. I have already bookmarked the site.
Has anyone tried using online ISNs? I can hypothesize a number of ways they might extend the original concept, but I have no direct experience.
I am putting together a workshop for elementary and secondary teachers of social studies to use this teaching strategy and over the course of my research, have come across some really exciting ideas. I refer you to the following websites:
These sites should inspire you. Also, look at http://www.pasoschools.org/prhs/pasohigh/classes/Fairbank/public.ww...

Good luck. Will check back with you; am finishing a powerpoint for workshop based on research and I intend to start this school year with 6th graders.
Thanks for posting this Phyllis. The "author" of the first site and I communicate frequently re: ISNs. She is pretty awesome. She also contributed to the site I linked earlier in the discussion.

Another one you may want to look at is http://www.nonags.org/members/dasaunders/index2.html

His site is the actual ISN for his students and is very well done.

I am looking forward to seeing your powerpoint.



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