The Interactive Notebook

Oh, hi there! 

Among many things, these classroom sites are going to serve as a more than simply a place to interact and share. Each of these sites: Physiology, Biology, and Environmental Science will have a listed syllabus, a roster, and daily page updates from our classroom Interactive notebook. You may be asking yourself, "What is an interactive notebook?" Well, that's a great question, and I'm going to forego the effort of writing this a second time by simply pasting a section from the guidebook I'm currently writing. Mind you, the interactive notebook is an AVID strategy so I wouldn't mention it without giving them credit. <3

The Interactive Notebook 

 In my opinion, the Interactive Notebook is probably the single most important aspect of implementing AVID in the biological sciences. Obviously, I mean this alongside the other dominating methodologies in the guidebook: Costas, Blooms Taxonomy, Gardners multiple intelligences, etc. 
So, what is the interactive notebook? 
The interactive notebook is the students notebook that they use everyday in class. It is their culminating body of work over the time spent inside and outside of class. It’s very similar to a portfolio of work that would otherwise be kept in any classroom, but it’s also what the students are inputting information (input) and using that information to generate their own content and understanding, (output).
You might have noticed this already, but I put an image on the right side of this page, and it does a wonderful job of explaining what will be written on the right hand page of an open notebook. Further down I have put an image that explains what might be found on a students left hand page of an open notebook. Imagine an open notebook, preferably spiral so students can tear pages out of the back and use them as flaps if necessary. (an explanation of flaps will follow in another chapter.)
Before I go into the methodology section, which up to this point has been a “how do I pull this off, and why should I?” I’m going to say that when implemented properly the interactive notebook is an incredibly powerful tool for allowing the students to not only record (gather) information, but it will also leave room for processing and applying of information. Which is the point of this whole guidebook... Anyone can stand in front of a class with a powerpoint and say, “write these notes down and study them.” And, I’ve already explained why that antiquated approach to instruction is flawed. The whole point of these activities, when implemented together, will get you to that 90% retention of information and the way in which students record, process, and apply this information in a standardized way will allow them to revisit their content several times before a big test. Less studying, more interacting, better organization, and more retention. That’s what the role of the interactive notebook alongside these other activities.

Here is an example of what an Interactive Notebook might look like.  

That's what an interactive notebook is, and how one might look. Your next question might be, "Why will you be putting them on the class website?" That answer actually has two parts, so I'll go through them one at a time:

  1. To make sure that every student and parent understands exactly where we are, where we've been, and possibly where we're going. Just in case we get students later in the year, or god forbid someone misses even one day of class!! we've got you covered. 
  2. I am also doing this to make my classroom as transparent as possible to other teachers and students to learn from, as well as parents to keep track of their childrens progress. It's a simple concept, why would you send your child anywhere without knowing what's going on? especially somewhere they're spending roughly 12 years. Also, I want other teachers and students to benefit and celebrate my students' hard work!

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