Put Their Hands On...Interactive Notebooks

Sounds daunting, right? Well, it is, a little, when you're first starting out. These things have been around since the 70s (so the technology involved is a xerox machine and a bottle of glue--no dittos, please), but they seem to be all the rage, lately.
I have been teaching for 13 years now, seven of those dedicated to world history. For the past two years, I can honestly say that I've been pleased with my classroom structure and routine. The once overwhelming content is now manageable. I've finally learned to streamline--an essential skill when you have to teach Ancient Mesopotamia all the way up to today in 18 weeks!

So why would I want to completely overhaul my course?

But the more I read about interactive notebooks, the more intrigued I became. 

And now, I'm committed. I'm revamping all 12 of my world history units into an interactive notebook format. Preparing and organizing the materials is the tough part. The execution is surprisingly simple.
  • Students purchase a notebook (for my class's purposes, an 8 1/2 x 11 100 page spiral notebook is best).
  • They dedicate a few pages at the front to classroom management stuff (syllabus, behavior plan, etc...).
  • They number every page, front and back (I have them do it one unit at a time and separate each unit with tabs).
  • I provide them with a table of contents for each unit (or they can make one).
  • They glue documents, handouts, and notes into the notebook. The interactive part is that they work with them right on the same or opposite page.
The beauty of this system is that you can say, "Okay, everybody, turn to page 15." And, voila! No digging around for a crumpled up paper at the bottom of their book bags, no rifling through a three-ring binder that's supposed to be for history but also has last year's math homework in it.

Here's what's in my Unit 1, Ancient Civilizations Interactive Notebook:
Preview It Here
  •          The ENTIRE unit’s worth of daily lesson plans, aligned to the common core curriculum
  •          An Ideas for Implementation page
  •          A table of contents for the interactive notebook
  •          A PowerPoint presentation complete with film clips with instructions on how to set the notebook up.
  •          25 Handouts and Foldables                        
  •          8 PowerPoint Presentations
  •          A Unit Test and answer key
  •         A Jeopardy Review Game
  •        Cloze Notes for:
  •     Primary and Secondary Resources
  •     Writing a Myth
  •     Ancient Egypt
  •     Ancient Mesopotamia
  •     Ancient India
  •     Ancient China
Here's a preview of units 7-11 in action.
Preview all of my world history interactive notebooks HERE.
Have you ever implemented interactive notebooks? How does (or did) it work for you? Leave a comment below, and let me know!

Stay tuned for next Monday, when I discuss how the first week with the notebooks went!

For more information on interactive notebooks, check out this video blog from tools4teachingteens.com

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