Interactive Student Notebooks
History Alive is based on three main premises:
One is that student’s have different learning
styles (Howard Gardner). What is your learning
For your warm-up, please complete the
following questionnaire to identify your learning
Share & Reflect: How does your learning style
affect your teaching style?
During this workshop, you’ll learn how
• apply the three premises of the History Alive! Program—
cooperative interaction, multiple intelligences, and the spiral
curriculum—to reach all students.
• Inspire students to become academically organized in order
to create high-quality notebooks.
• Properly introduce and sequence notebook assignments to
help students see how class activities connect to one
• Encourage students to take pride in their notebooks so they
will refer to them often and seldom lose them.
• The Theory…
• Students have different learning styles (Howard Gardner)
• After accepting this premise, we will discover that the cognitive capabilities of our
students are much richer and more varied than we had previously imagined.
• Let’s identify the seven intelligences…
• Cooperative interaction increases learning and improves social skills
• Sociologists have found that when students perform a groupwork task, they prejudge
what their peers will be able to contribute on the basis of their perceived academic
ability and peer status. The high-status students, because they interact more with
other high status students, learn more: the low-status students, because their
interaction is severely limited, learn less.
• BUT, if students are trained in cooperative norms and behaviors, placed in
heterogeneous small groups, and assigned specific roles to complete during a
multiple-ability task, they tend to interact more equally (Elizabeth Cohen).
• All students CAN learn…
• The spiral curriculum is based on the belief that all students can learn if a teacher
shows them how to think and to discover knowledge for themselves.
• Students learn progressively more difficult concepts through a process of step-by-step
Why an Interactive Notebook…
• Students use both their visual and linguistic
• Note taking becomes an active process.
• Notebooks help students to systematically
organize as they learn.
• Notebooks become a portfolio of individual
• You DO NOT have to have the History Alive Set to
implement a successful Interactive Notebook in
What’s so special about an Interactive
Many student notebooks are drab repositories of
information filled with uninspired, unconnected,
and poorly understood ideas. Interactive Student
Notebooks, however, allow students to record
information about history in an engaging way.
In an Interactive Notebook you will notice colorful
and varied expression. Words and diagrams,
bullets and arrows, ink and pencil, a multitude of
colors, and highlighting are all presented in a
unique, and personal style.
• Covers (page 1) - Introduce the Interactive
Student Notebook by encouraging students to
create colorful and fun covers that reflect the
course content. This immediately sends the
message that the notebook is their own, which
they can take pride in.
• Numbering – Right Side has Odd Numbers
• Student Guidelines (page 2) – one of the most
important steps to ensure that your students
create successful notebooks is to set clear
• Organizing Pages (page 3 and throughout) – There
are many ways to help your students organize
their notebooks. Asking them to create an
organizing page is an excellent way to help them
keep track of assignments. For example…
− Table of Contents Page- useful for outlining new
− Overview Pages- to help them create graphic
organizers as overviews of the chapter or unit to
− Grade Sheets- used to list assignments and grades.
− Unit Title Pages- can be used with illustrations or
pictures that represent the theme of the unit.
Lesson: Left-Side / Right Side Orientation
• On the right side of the notebook record class notes
− The “input” side—is used for recording class notes,
discussion notes, and reading notes.
− Typically, all “testable” information is found here.
− Historical information can be organized in the form of
traditional outline / Cornell notes.
− However, the right side of the notebook is also an
excellent place for the teacher to model how to think
graphically by using illustrated outlines, flow charts,
annotated slides, T-charts, and other graphic organizers.
− The right side of the notebook is where the teacher
organizes a common set of information that all students
• On the left side of the notebook-students process information
− The “output” side—is primarily used for processing new ideas.
− Students work out an understanding of new material by using
illustrations, diagrams, flow charts, poetry, colors, matrices,
cartoons, and the like.
− Students explore their opinions and clarify their values on
controversial issues, wonder about “what if ” hypothetical
situations, and ask questions about new ideas.
− And they review what they have learned and preview what
they will learn.
− By doing so, students are encouraged to see how individual
lessons fit into the larger context of a unit and to work with and
process the information in ways that help them better
− The left side of the notebook stresses that writing down lecture
notes does not mean students have learned the information.
They must actively do something with the information before
they internalize it.
Left Side “Output” Right Side “Input”
Here is a simple example of the right-side, left-side orientation of the Interactive
Student Notebook in action. The student began by taking class notes on
late nineteenth-century industrialism on the right side of her notebook and
then, for homework, completed a topical net on the corresponding left side
using information from her class notes.
Preview / Warm-UP / Focus Class Notes/Activity
**There is no single formula for a
Preview Assignment. It is **The right side is used for the
primarily a brief activity to INPUT of new information. This
allow the student to become area is the meat of your
engaged in the lesson (to start lesson. This is wear students
thinking). can write out their notes, draw
or glue on graphic organizers,
Student Response or complete any activity that
you may have designed for
(Date) that day’s lesson.
** The main OUTPUT or processing
of the assignment. This is your **Remember to keep in mind the
wrap-up activity which multiple intelligences in your
challenges the students to classroom.
synthesize and apply the
information they have
• A way to improve the Interactive Student Notebook is to send home a
parent evaluation sheet. Students spend about 15 minutes explaining the
unit of study in the book with their parents, and the parents are given a
rubric to evaluate the work and make comments. The parent evaluation
opens up communication and makes the students more accountable.
• For the Interactive Student Notebook, create a "class ISN." This notebook
never leaves the room and has a special place in the room where it is kept.
You set it up exactly the way you want your students to keep their
notebooks so that if a student is new or loses his or her notebook, he or she
has an example to follow. Students also use this notebook to get any
assignments they have missed. Since some lessons cannot be duplicated
for absent students, such as an Experiential Exercise or Response Group, I
often write alternative assignments in the notebook that can be completed
by reading correlating pages in the textbook. Students will also need the
class notes they missed if they are absent. To address this need, I assign
students "notebook buddies" at the beginning of the school year. When
students are absent, they can get the notes and an explanation of the
lesson from their "buddies."