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Interactive Notebook Series (Part Three): Why use them?

Blog Posts, Interactive Math Notebooks

Welcome back to my Interactive Notebook Series where today I am talking about why we should use interactive notebooks in our classroom.  If you follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Teachers Pay Teachers, or Pinterest it is no surprise to you how much I love using these in my classroom.  I feel like I need to share all about them so others can experience what we get to experience in our classroom every day!


Let’s face it, if an activity is fun, hands-on, and engaging our students are going to learn.  Often times when my students are assembling an INB page, they are smiling and talking about it with their “neighbor”.  Now, that might not sound like a big deal but how often do your kids smile and talk about their math assignment when they are working in a workbook?  Think about it.  Happy Kids=Happy Teacher (…and they are LEARNING!)

When I am preparing for parent teacher conferences, I don’t have to wonder what I am going to show the families when it comes to their child’s math.  Gone are the days where I need to gather and save math assignments or projects.  It is all set to go in their interactive notebooks!  No prep for me!  When I sit down to meet with families, I have found that they are impressed with their child’s INB.  It provides a great summary of math skills that have been covered and it shows the families their child’s level of understanding of each skill.

Interactive notebooks meed the needs of visual, kinesthetic, spatial, logical, interpersonal, and intrapersonal learning styles.  We all know that our students learn in different ways.  They are visually appealing for the visual learner.  Our kinesthetic learners who prefer to use their body, hands, and sense of touch are benefitting from the assembly of the pieces and flip flaps.  Our spatial learners use pictures, images, and spatial understanding to learn a skill.  I have had these students tell me that they knew an answer on the test because of a certain activity from their notebook.  #success Logical/Mathematical learners are obviously learning from these activities as they work their way through the various tasks.  I also feel that these can meet the needs of interpersonal and intrapersonal learners if we allow the structure in our classrooms.  Since interpersonal learners prefer to learn in groups or with other people, I may have these students assemble their notebooks with other similar learners and encourage conversation about the topic amongst the group.  Intrapersonal learners prefer to work alone and use self-study so these students may work at their desk by themselves and I may ask these students to explain their thinking and reasoning through writing and self-reflection.

My students start working in their interactive notebooks on day #1 of the school year and continue through to the last day.  Naturally, they develop ownership and pride over their work as they spend a lot of time on this notebook.  I reinforce the importance of “2nd grade best work” throughout the year and I give them opportunities to share their work with their peers.  By the end of the year they are so proud of their creations and can’t wait to take it home to show their families.

I emphasize the importance of my students’ interactive notebooks being a tool for them to use when they are stuck or forget how to do something.  These take the place of math textbooks and, in my opinion, are more beneficial because they are proud of their work and they created them!  I have had students come to me with a question and I can say, “Isn’t that something that we did in our INB last week?” and they know to take it out and find their answer.  Nice, we are teaching our students to be resourceful too!  #lifeskill

Often times I allow for opportunities for my students to teach their peers about skills from their interactive notebooks.  They love doing this!  I tell my students to find a partner, pick a page, and be the teacher.  Yes, being a 2nd grade teacher I know that MODELING what this looks like is essential before having them do this activity.  That being said, it doesn’t take too much training before my students are ready to be “teachers”!  Why do this?  When students are teaching others about a skill, it bring their level of understanding to a deeper level…and it’s great review!!!

I have to admit that this is my favorite reason to bring interactive notebooks into your classroom!  Great story:  We finished a page in our interactive math notebook about 3-dimensional shapes.  My students had to identify the name of the shape, number of edges, number of faces, and number of vertices.  When this particular student turned in his notebook he said to me, “Mrs. Olson, why aren’t we doing math today?”  Ha!  Ha!  WHAT?!?!  LOVE IT!  I also love when I take out my interactive math notebook of examples and tell the class that today they will be adding a page to their INB and I get an applause (no lie)!  AWESOME!

If you missed Part One and Part Two of my Interactive Math Notebook Series, click on the images above to read all about how I organize my INB’s and how I Grade and use Rubrics in my 2nd grade classroom!  Stay tuned for Part Four of my series where I answer all of your burning questions about Interactive Math Notebooks that I didn’t cover in the Parts One, Two, or Three!


1 Comment

  1. Lawren Christianson

    Thank you so much for sharing! We are starting Interactive Notebooks in our classroom this year and my students and I are loving them so far. These are such great tips to further what we are doing.


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Welcome, I’m Angie!

Hello there! I’m Angie Olson- a teacher, curriculum developer, educational blogger and owner of Lucky Little Learners.

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