Thursday, July 20, 2017

Are Interactive Notebooks Effective?

Diary, School, Office, Education  Recently, I've been seeing a move towards getting rid of interactive notebooks and replacing them with digital collaboration and learning.  The largest argument I've seen against it is that all students do is glue it into the notebook and that is all.  They don't learn from that!

I am not sure I would fully agree with that particular idea because I get students in high school who have not been trained to take notes or to use them effectively once the notes are recorded.

I serious thought of not having them this year but realized I do not know if I'll have my iPads for another year so just in case, I will have the composition books available for notes.  I found a blog whose author lists seven reasons students should use interactive notebooks.

1. They teach students to organize and synthesis their thoughts.
2.  They meet multiple learning styles both in and out of the classroom.
3. When students work in their notebooks at home, parents get to see what they are doing.
4. This notebook acts as portfolio showing growth over time and is a place students can record their self reflections.
5. This interactive notebook becomes a personalized textbook which can open avenues for extended learning.
6. Students gain ownership using color and creativity.
7. They reduce clutter because its all in one place.

One new suggestion I have seen in interactive notebooks is to have students record notes on the right hand side of the page while reserving the left hand page for putting the material into their own words, pictures, etc.  This suggestion fits in with my desire to teach students to create sketch notes also known as visual notes.  It gives me a nice way to have them practice it starting from their notes.

It is also suggested students be given a chance to decorate the front cover of their interactive notebook so it is personalized.  The first page should be left open as the table of contents so students know exactly where to find the notes on a specific topic.  All left hand pages will be even numbered while the right hand pages have odd numbers.  Furthermore, all pages should be numbered and dated.

In addition to putting the material into their own words or creating pictures, the left side can be used to brainstorm, show their thinking when completing a task or solving a problem.  This is their side to learn that not all notes must be words.  

One teacher recommended teachers create their own interactive notebook so students can consult them should they be absent or want to make sure they are up to date on notes.  I've used these before but I learned a few things last year. The most important thing I learned is to have any thing that needs to be filled in located where they are easily found.  I like the idea of having my own notebook so students can come in after school to fill in what they missed due to travel or an absence.

Let me know what you think.  I'm working my way through a couple of books on visual note taking so I can instruct my students in this as I've read it makes it easier for them to remember material.