7 Reasons to Use Interactive Notebooks

Posted: July 24, 2016 in Uncategorized

In this guest post, Jennifer Smith of Smith Curriculum and Consulting shares seven fabulous reasons to use Interactive Notebooks in your classroom. Take it away Jennifer!

Hello! My name is Jennifer Smith from Smith Curriculum and Consulting, and I am ECSTATIC to be here with you today! I have been using interactive notebooks in some way, shape, or form for the past eight years and “officially” the correct way since fall of 2010. I have seen so many benefits with the usage of them over the past years, as well as grown and developed as a teacher to better help my students. Currently, I travel around and present not only about the benefits but also about how to implement them while sparking ideas in teachers to help them along their way.

So what is it about interactive notebooks that make them such a hot commodity in education? Why are they such a beneficial tool for students and teachers? What can classrooms and parents gain from their usage?


1. Interactive notebooks teach students to organize and synthesize their thoughts.

By working with students to create a process for them to organize their thinking, you will be able to teach study skills without “teaching” them. Processes build structure, and with use of left- and right-side pages, students will naturally organize their thoughts.

2. Interactive notebooks accommodate multiple learning styles at one time in (and out of) the classroom.

Whether you do teacher input activities as a whole group or as a small group, student output activities give students the ability to show exactly where they are in their understanding of the subject.

3. Student-teacher-parent interaction is built and strengthened with the use of interactive notebooks.

When students are working on homework at home with their interactive notebooks, not only will students be able to use them, but parents will also be able to have a resource into the learning that is taking place in the classroom.

4. Students are building a portfolio that allows for teachers to track growth over time.

Reflections of what students are learning in their output pages (as well as the work shown) will show how they are synthesizing the information learned in class, and as students develop further skills, this will be reflected in their output. These reflections are great to show during parent-teacher conferences and even discuss during student-teacher conferences.



5. Interactive notebooks have students create a resource to use as they continue to extend their learning.

An interactive notebook works as a textbook for students that is theirs. Not only are they taking beneficial notes, practicing, and reflecting on material, but they are also using that information as they work on future activities. Students are going back and reviewing the prior pages repeatedly and therefore building exposure to the material each time.

6. Students take ownership of their learning through color and creativity.

One of the main things that helps students to buy in to the use of interactive notebooks is not the benefits they can see from it but the ability for it to be their own. When students know, and are allowed, to use color in their notebooks, it makes their notes come alive. Using colored paper, markers, colored pencils, etc. makes it easier to sort information and group things together. This creativity also sparks the visual learning when they are expected to remember and apply the information at a later date.

7. Interactive notebooks reduce clutter in the classroom, as well as in students’ lives.

By having students take all of their notes and then also practice and reflect in one location, it allows for them to be organized. Therefore, it eliminates excess papers being lost and misplaced when students would benefit from using them as they learn.

Are you looking into starting interactive notebooks in your classroom? I’ve compiled several of my resources into an Interactive Notebooks Starter Pack to help you get started or even to enhance what you are already doing in your classroom. Just click on the image below to grab your copy today.





I have been an educator since 2003 with experience in elementary school, middle school, and college. Math has been my passion since a young age, which no doubt resulted in my secondary math-teaching career. Currently, I am a Differentiated Curriculum Designer and Presenter traveling the nation to train teachers on the effectiveness of interactive notebooks and differentiation in the classroom. When I am not traveling and training, I live in a Dallas, TX suburb with my three dachshunds and spend time creating resources for my TpT store .


Links are below ⬇️⬇️


Jennifer Smith
Smith Curriculum and Consulting

http://SmithCurriculumConsulting.com (Coming Soon! Check out http://4mulaFun.com during the wait)

  1. lisakmcleod says:

    Thank you, Jennifer, for so generously sharing your expertise with us. This coming year will be my third using INBs, and I am loving the positive changes I see in my students. It doesn’t take them long to figure out that when they ask me a question, I will direct them right back to their notebooks. It is always such a great moment the first time I see a student reach for this resource before asking me for help! Even better, because my students take Algebra 1 over two years, having their completed notebooks from the first year is a huge advantage during the second year. I love interactive notebooks!!


  2. This was an awesome post! I use an interactive notebook in math and my kids love it. They are so engaged and it really helps with their organizational skills. I had a few students at the end of the year who mentioned keeping their math notebooks to reference in 6th grade and that just made me so happy! It really was a resource for them to use and learn from throughout the entire year and all the cutting and glueing really paid off!


  3. […] out my guest post over at Lisa McCleod’s blog about why you should be using interactive notebooks in your classroom […]

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Katy Cooper says:

    I can’t get enough of the interactive notebook posts. Thanks so much for the great ideas and pictures! I do love the work and growth is all in one place. I had colleagues that would just send the interactive notebook to the student-led-conference. No extra work or planning needed. Plenty of examples of work and growth already gathered.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. agilin says:

    Great post! Ever since your first one, I have been looking into the implementation of this in my classroom. I even hit up Pinterest for some more ideas. Thanks!


  6. […] in the classroom. I have compiled my 7 top reasons and am sharing them in a guest post over at Lisa McCleod’s blog […]


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