5 Ideas and Resources for Using Interactive Notebooks in English Language Arts

Things are changing in today's classrooms. There seem to be fewer textbooks and more interactive-type learning going on. If you're new to the interactive notebook idea, have no fear! Below, you will find several ideas on how you can start using interactive notebook resources (sometimes referred to as INBs) in your English Language Arts classes TODAY! If you're tired of teaching grammar, punctuation or even novel studies the same old way, I have some ideas and suggestions on how you can change things up.
Interactive notebooks are both a continuous lesson and learning tool that can be referred to throughout a term or semester. Every time an interactive lesson is completed, students can keep it within their interactive notebook, which they can refer to any point when writing or reading throughout a semester. This resource is also a great study guide. It would probably be helpful to keep their interactive notebooks in a section of your classroom inside a bin or folder, so as to ensure none go missing or end up damaged! Once the term is over, students can take their interactive notebook with them, in hopes that they may refer to it in future English classes.
I will admit, I still regularly use pen and paper-type tasks in my classroom. (I haven't really delved into the online digital learning market, as much as I could have). While I may do a separate grammar lessons via handouts and worksheets that I have created at the start of a semester, for example, I will continue to review grammar skills using interactive resources, as another point of practice, as well as to differentiate how the skill is being taught. A fun way to incorporate everyday ELA skills into the classroom is through interactive games. As middle and high school students tend to enjoy competition, I knew this would be a real hit amongst my students!
Grammar Races: Interactive Notebook Game
This interactive notebook learning game is both exciting and educational, while your students learn how to properly use grammar in their writing. This activity can be completed individually, in small groups or even as a team. Students can use this interactive notebook resource to reinforce and improve their grammar skills, while enjoying a little friendly classroom competition. They won't even realize they're learning. :)

If you think your students might enjoy this activity, you can check out this Grammar Races Interactive Notebook Activity by clicking HERE!

The start of a new course or new term is a great time to reflect on the past and to set new goals for both personal and academic achievements. Again, if you're new to the interactive foldable idea or just looking for something quick and fun to start off the first day back of the New Year, here is a FREE Goals Interactive Foldable that you could use in your classroom on your first few days back in January! I have also included a FREE (generic) GOALS Interactive Foldable, which can be used at any point throughout a semester, if reflection is needed!

You might consider writing these themes on the board to help guide their writing:
  • Educational goals
  • Personal development goals
  • Career goals
  • Financial goals
  • Relationship goals
  • Physical/health goals
While there is no "set" method on how a teacher or student will set up their interactive notebook, some teachers choose to set up their interactive notebook using a left and right side method. To put it simply, our left and right brain hemispheres are used for different functions, so will the interactive notebook pages. The left side is used for more creative, free-thinking types of functions. 

Here are a few examples of what can be included on the right side of an interactive notebook. The right side tends to be used for more organized, analytic-types of functions. 

You might also be interested in these other interactive notebook activities for ELA:
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