Math Mondays: 5 steps to build an Interactive Notebook Page

I love using interactive notebooks in my secondary math class.  We work with steps often in math.  It is helpful for students to have a way for students to determine and organize the steps.  

To build each notebook page is a multi-step endeavor. 


Here's what I do:


  1. Determine the desired outcome(s):  the purpose of interactive notebooks is not simply to have students cut, fold and color.  The purpose is to engage students in their learning to help with comprehension and retention.  So, the first step is to determine what students should be able to learn.  In this case the goal is to find the center of the circle.  
  2. Try it:  I am a big advocate of paper and pencil learning.  I draw or write out the steps needed to get to the desired outcome.  How would I find the center of the circle.  I find this helpful for 2 reasons: first, I can see/plan the steps needed to get to an outcome and second, I often find ideas for using inquiry before or part of the notebook pages.  (In this case, I had students play with how they would find a center of a circle before I gave them the notebook pages.  Many students figure out that they need two diameters that cross.)
  3. Create a draft of the notebook page:  Now that I know what I am going to do, I move from pencil and paper to the computer.  I type up the notebook page.  I am fortunate this year to have access to a color printer, so I was able to match my color coded steps that I used when I drew it, to create the notebook page.   
  4. Test it:  I print out 1 copy of the page and test it out in the notebook.  I need to make sure there is sufficient space for students to write or draw the steps.  In this case, I played with 1 flap that has all the steps or the multiple flaps.  The multiple flaps made the steps easier to access visually than the 1 flap, so I went with multiple flaps.    
5. Final draft:  after testing the page, I make the appropriate adjustments and then it's ready to go.  I include example pages for students so that they can work on notebook pages independently.Good notebook pages are helpful to students.  They are filled with colors and personal notes.  My students LOVE their notebooks.  

I hope these steps are helpful for you in building notebooks.  You can download this notebook page for free here.  When you don't have time, you can always buy interactive notebook pages as well. I do, too!


Math Mondays is a bi-weekly blog post (2nd and 4th Monday of each month) sharing tips, ideas, resources, and products for teaching math.  If you have questions or think there is something I should include, you can leave me a message in the comments section below or at the store in the question and answer section.

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