Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Interactive Student Notebooks

I have been looking around for a way to make teaching history more exciting and interesting for both myself and my students. As I began to look online at what other teachers have been doing, I came across Interactive Student Notebooks.  I can see their application in any subject but for this year, I will be trying it in one particular subject - History.

I teach history in French to a large group of second language learners(3 classes).  The history textbooks are most often well above their reading levels which causes frustration, boredom and disengagement.  This year with the use of the interactive student notebooks, students will still use the textbook but not in the traditional fashion.  I will continue to use the textbook for graphs, diagrams, maps and even the wonderful primary sources which are embedded within it.  However, unlike in the past, I vow to not read large sections of the text  and ask my students to answer a series of comprehension questions. We will work through the topics together, filling in graphic organizers, foldables and diagrams.  Students will reflect on their learning and engage with the curriculum through a large variety of creative tasks.

I have begun to map out what our interactive notebooks will look like but upon suggestions from everyone I am not making one ahead of time.  Instead I will make one book with each of my 3 classes and students can follow along while we set up together.  Below you'll find the initial pages I will be giving my students.  Pages 1, 2 and 3 will be layered on the first page of our books, on the left students will be completing a Give me Five activity later on in the week once we have started using our books.  Page 4 is the table of contents which we will be putting on the second page of our books.

I must give credit to  I used her rubric and left page activities as the base for pages 2 and 3 of the document.  Also, the inspiration for page 1 came from the internet as well but I cannot find the origin of the file...sorry...if the file looks like your original please let me know I'd love to give credit!

Are you planning on using ISN books?  If so for what subjects?


  1. I have used interactive notebooks (IAN) for several years in my French I and II classes. If you would be interested in seeing some sample pages and the rubric I use to grade it, email me at and I'll send it to you. Thanks for what you've shared here!

    1. Erin, I'm interested in using an interactive notebook in my French 8 and 9 classes (BC, Canada - beginner French). Would you be willing to share ideas and procedures and how to's?

  2. This is a great resource! Merci beaucoup :)

  3. Quelle coincidence! I'm the blogger from iisanumber whose rubric you translated. I primarily teach math, but added French I to my schedule this year at the last minute and didn't get an ISN together for French. I've been looking around today for some resources to use last year. I was reading your document and started thinking, "Hey, this sounds an awful lot like bizarre!" Then I saw your comment below the document that you'd gotten the rubric from me. It's neat how things come full circle. I'm interested to hear how this notebooking went for you this year.

  4. I will be incorporating ISN next year for my classes, BUT I plan on putting together the essential pages BEFORE we do it. I will be putting a blog together that will illustrate the process since I haven't seen a of resources for a French version of the ISN. Good luck. Tina


I'd love to hear from you!