When I was in school, I despised Math. My least favorite part was taking the notes. It was so boring! To my surprise, when I became a 5th grade teacher I ended up really enjoying teaching Math. It was challenging at first to find ways to make it interesting for students. The biggest challenge came from the fact that when I was in school we were taught the procedural and never really had any conceptual understanding of what we were learning. It’s my opinion that our students need both procedural and conceptual learning in Math!
A couple of years ago I developed some interactive notebooks to use with my students to help them take well organized Math notes. It was important to me that these lessons included a lot of vocabulary, modeling with mathematics, and writing. I learned a lot during this process (including quite a few important rules about glue usage) and I’ve been sharing my experiences with interactive notebooks ever since!
Making Interactive Math Notebooks Successful in YOUR Classroom
- Always have your own teacher notebook where you can model for the students. I keep my notes next to me as I model each page
- Spend time setting up student notebooks. Review the rubric, procedures, and expectations with the students.
- Tell the students in advance how often you are going to collect and grade the notebooks, and be consistent.
- If students are absent, they know that their first responsibility of the day is to get the notes and work on their notebook. I keep my notes and any handouts at an empty table with scissors, glue, and pencils, so that they can go directly there and complete the notes they missed.
- Use content vocabulary inside the notebook. Have students write about every Math concept they learn and every problem they complete!
- Use the notebooks every day. When my students practice a standard, they are required to use their table of contents to locate their notes on that standard and have it on their desk. I hand out prize tickets to students I see who are referring back to their notes while completing practice problems.
- Interactive notebooks are a wonderful tool for students with special needs, but they may need modifications such as pre-cut pieces or more time to complete.
Below are some photos of interactive Math notebooks in my 5th grade classroom. Click on any of them to view the premade templates for every strand of 5th grade Math! Looking for Reading interactive notebooks? Check out this blog post!
Amazing… I think my visual and kinesthetics learners will really benefit from these interactive activities. Plus it will spice up lessons for everyone. Thanks!
My classroom notebooks have become so much more useful as a study tool for the students.
As a first year teacher, I am super excited to use this! You have included such great instructions. It is going to be a breeze teaching math this year!
Awesome resources. My students love this. One even said…”hey this is kind of a fun way to take notes”.
Excellent resource with lots of visual aids to support students.