Bond with James: Setting Up Your Interactive Notebooks

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Setting Up Your Interactive Notebooks

If you missed my early interactive notebook post in July, please click here: Interactive Notebooks - left or right?!   I decided to add a video to illustrate this a little better, however, I will still write a few things here that I forgot to talk about in the video and thought I had addressed in the earlier post (scroll past the video).
While I talked about left-side/right-side, here are photos from the notebook I showed in the video (from the 2010-2011 school year). At that point I did not know about left-side/right-side, however, I still created half-sheets or mini-booklets and had students create layers (as I discussed in the video). Besides the unit exams, every assignment was a half-sheet and students incorporated returned assignments into their notebook (bottom right photo).  I also cut plain white paper in half and have these in my room so students could add sheets if needed (top left photo). 
Here is an example of the half-sheet Word document I spoke of in the video (and from the pictures shown above). I am able to print 1 page per 2 students.  I will usually use the paper cutter in the workroom to prep these while I am waiting on the copy machine to finish. I paper cut several copies at a time. 
One thing that I forgot to mention was the inclusion of hall/restroom passes in the interactive notebook. As stated in the video, I color code the notebooks by class period. The index card, ribbon or rubber band, and restroom passes are the same color (yes - even the Popsicle sticks that I use to randomly select students to answer questions are the same color).  I color code based off an issue I had my first year with students taking notebooks from other periods. I have not had the problem since switching to a color coding format. 
I also failed to mention another strategy that I've seen to color code each period is the use of duck tape. A teacher at my school does this with her classes.  You can also be creative and fun with the duck tape you select (see photos).  FYI - the pictures at Office Max/Depot were taken in July and the deals may not be current. 

I wrote another INB blog post back in 2013 for potential left-side ideas based on a PD session that I used with my now current campus and colleagues (For the Interactive Notebook: Strategies to Engage Students in Writing). The post also references a Choice Menu that I found offered by Jennifer Szymanski on Teachers Pay Teachers (it's still currently free as of this post).

Okay, I don't think I left anything out. If I did, I'll make sure to send an update through my Facebook page. There still may be great deals on notebooks in case your students have to buy them (my school requires a comp book for all classes). As mentioned earlier, these pictures were taken at the end of July and the deals on the composition books may not be in place now.  Many of these stores will sometimes begin selling the notebooks cheap or in bundles after school starts for most districts (e.g. 5 spiral notebooks for $4)
As always, thank you for taking time out of your day to stop on by. Have a great rest of your day and an excellent week! :)


  1. Hi James,

    I happened to chance upon your blog and found it very interesting!

    We have recently launched a science app that uses augmented reality to enhance classroom teaching. I thought you might want to check it out and may be review it on your blog, if possible.

    It is a paid app(with a few models free) but in case you are interested in trying it out I will be happy to provide you with a free copy.

    The link to the app is:



    You can also search for the app on the app store as 'Augmenter'.

    Do let me know if you would be interested. I am really Looking forward to your response.

    happy teaching!


  2. I love your blog! Thank you thank you for sharing your ideas here and on TPT! I am currently attempting to implement ISN's for one of my chemistry sections this semester and your bundles have saved me so much time. Beyond that...I like all the different versions/options and the organization is exceptional. If I had five years to plan out my ideal ISN I think it would look much like yours. I know you've already shared so much, but is there any chance you will be posting some or all of these goodies found in your set-up video to TPT? I think a lot of teachers would purchase for the convenience of having everything perfectly sized and orientated even if some of it is already public knowledge. Please consider it :)

  3. Hello Sheila, I apologize for the long delay as I had to commit to personal issues for a few months. With that said, I am going to work on updating my INB items for teachers. I appreciate your feedback and kind words. :)

  4. Many fashionable gaming machines use electronic animation instead of reels, however a disconnect stays between how the sport is displayed and means it} truly operates. Other features thought-about misleading by critics include differing symbol sizes , stop buttons and frequent small wins . With so many paylines and the possibility of|the potential of|the 1xbet potential for} betting multiple of} credits per line, video slots are completely different. Some penny slots with 20 paylines take as much as} 25 coins per line.