Classroom Management & Organization

Interactive Student Notebooks Set Up


The first time I tried doing interactive student notebooks, I wasn’t very successful. We used them a lot at the beginning of the semester, and then kind of petered out. The second time around, I went down the hall to ask some notebook advice from some math colleagues, and got a couple of simple suggestions that really helped me with consistency the second time around. I use notebooks for warm ups, notes, vocabulary, and handouts. I do fancy foldables sometimes, but my primary goal is organized note-keeping. With that in mind, I want to share a few tips for keeping you and your students organized with ISNs.

  1. The first time you do it, you might want  to only do it with one class.
  2. Post the table of contents on the wall.
  3. Have a consistent schedule for checking notebooks. I check notebooks each time students take a test. That way, I can grade while students test, and if I need to keep some notebooks to finish up  on m planning period, it’s a night where they won’t need them at home to study.
  4. Set up notebooks together a few days into the semester. I used this slideshow, copied from my friend in the math department:

To make your own editable copy, click here. Click file, make a copy, and then you can edit and download to your heart’s delight! If, like me, you are on a block schedule and are starting new classes, the dates for the warm up pages might be helpful to you. I have students reserve a warm up page for each week of class at the beginning of the semester, and date those on our notebook set up day. After that, we have a consistent beginning of class routine that allows me to catch my breath and get my mind focused while students complete their warm up on the designated page without asking me a million questions.


Online account list on the left, pocket for in-progress papers on  the right.
Online account list on the left, pocket for in-progress papers on the right.

This semester, I added a user name list at the back of the notebook. My students made accounts for Quizlet, Padlet, and Conjuguemos last semester, and I plan to also use Duolingo and Señor Wooly this semester, plus whatever other gems I come across that require student log in. I get so tired of having to look up student log ins, so I thought it would be helpful if they at least write down each website they register for along with their username and a password hint.

What are your favorite ISN tips?


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