When I was teaching 4th grade I used Interactive Notebooks during my Math and Science Instruction. It was something new, different, and allowed the students some creative freedom in their learning. My students loved creating and using their notebooks and I did too, most of the time…. but with every great idea comes many pros and a few cons to overcome. In this post I will be sharing the pros and cons of using Interactive Notebooks in the classroom so you can decide if they might work for you and your students.
Let’s start with the Pros of using Interactive Notebooks!
- Enables students to be creative. Interactive Notebooks allow students to insert their own creativity into their notes whether it be by color and decoration or adding musical renditions about the topic.
- Encourages Student Engagement, Participation, Organization, and Responsibility. Student’s are in essence creating their own textbook when using Interactive Notebooks, this can create a sense of pride in their work.
- Notes are all in one place and can be reviewed throughout the year. No more searching for notes, not more wondering what to study for a test. It is all in one place!
- Accommodates different learning styles. Check out my post on Teaching the Whole Brain for ideas on how to incorporate learning styles into your Interactive Notebooks.
- Creates a portfolio of the student’s work throughout the year. Students are able to see how their work has progressed throughout the year and can also keep them to review during the next year.
- Parents can easily see their child’s progress. This is a great tool to have for Parent/Teacher Conferences!
- Can serve as a quick assessment of work. Not sure if your students “got it”? Check out their Interactive Notebook!
- Notebook progression can be used year after year. Yes, the first year developing and using Interactive Notebooks is going to be rough, but after the first year they can be used over and over!
Now for the Cons of using Interactive Notebooks!
- The first year of using Interactive Notebooks requires a lot of work and planning, but after the first year it can be used year after year. (See Pro #8)
- Students sometimes misplace (lose) their notebooks. Let’s face it… things are lost and sometimes numerous times, but copies of the Teacher’s Notebook can be used in a pinch.
- Notebooks are sometimes damaged by water, being shoved into desks, and even globs of glue. Even with the best intentions accidents occur, I found that having a special shelf or basket for the Notebooks minimizes these incidents. Pinterest, of course, has tons of ideas!
- New students will not have all of the notes. (See Con #2)
As you can see there are far more Pros than Cons, but you can be the judge. I enjoy using Interactive Notebooks and seeing the students’ progress throughout the year. Be sure to check back soon I will be discussing how to set up Interactive Notebooks, Assessing Interactive Notebooks, and Using Lap Books (Interactive Notebooks for younger students).