Interactive Notebook Comprehension Strategy

An interactive notebook is an excellent way to organize and respond to the vast amount of science content.  As described by Bayerl (2007), the notebook is a functional tool that allows students to document what they are learning in an input column while responding to and organizing that information in meaningful ways in an output column.  The interactive notebook allows students to learn to take better notes, respond directly to the text, and to form a consistent method of inquiry. 

Strategy Steps

  1. Establish the guidelines.  Give each student a copy to put into the front of his or her notebook.  (The document below is editable through Microsoft Word.)
  2. Give students the rubric so that they will understand the expectations and how they will be scored. (The document below is editable through Microsoft Word.)
  3. Use the notebook constantly.  Everything goes into the notebook: lab notes, lecture notes, warm-ups, reviews.  For each activity of input, students should create an output that summarizes, visually represents, or demonstrates their thoughts on the topic.  Students may trade notebooks to critique one another's entries.
  4. Provide students with choices for output.  Students may start to develop patters of output because certain styles may come more easily.  Encourage and scaffold students to use other varieties to expand their thinking.
  5. Use the notebook to guide instruction.  Collect notebooks frequently to assess student learning.  Informally check their work during class.  As students develop their output, their understandings and misconceptions will become apparent. 
  6. Create summative assessments and projects from the notebook.  Don't allow the notes to become stale.  Create tasks that require students synthesize and summarize their understandings. 

(Bayerl, 2007, p.2-3)

Notebook Guidelines

Notebook Rubric


Implementation Guide

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