Journey to Excellence

Interactive Notebooks

Notebooks used to be places that students wrote occasional notes, stuffed handouts, and perhaps referred to before a test when all other options failed. Interactive notebooks promote organization, engage students, and encourage students (YOU!) to process information, combine words and visuals, become a working portfolio, and demonstrate critical thinking.


  • 8.5 / 11 spiral notebook (one that an 8.5 x 11" sheet of paper can fit into without any trimming)
  • writing instruments (pencil, pen, colored pencils)
  • scissors glue stick or tape

Page Set-Up

Left Page–Output

Student Involvement
(Showing Understanding and Creativity)

Right Page–Input

Teacher Involvement
(Given Information)

  • Brainstorming
  • Concept Maps (Science)
  • Push/Pull factors
  • Questions
  • Process Description (Math)
  • Character Descriptions
  • “Wanted” Posters
  • Eulogy Finish this . . .
  • Flow Charts, Spectrums
  • Matrices, Clustering, Spoke
  • Venn Diagram
  • T-charts
  • Cartoons, Caricatures
  • Graphs
  • Newscasts
  • Lecture notes
  • Procedural notes
  • Vocabulary
  • Basic Knowledge Questions
  • Reading Notes
  • Movie, Video notes

The Process

  • Leave several pages at the beginning of the notebook for the table of contents.
  • Number the pages --- odd numbers on the right and even numbers on the left. Students should never continue a right-side page onto the back but should rather staple, tape, or glue on an extra sheet to extend a page.
  • Keep a pocket on the back cover for grading sheets.
  • Keep a master Table of Contents with dates and points possible. It is imperative that all students are on the same page for the same work.
  • If a student is absent, s/he must get the right-side input from the teacher or another student.


Use the Notebook Evaluation Sheet.
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