Good afternoon.  Today we will be discussing notebooking.  The reason I picked this subject is because I think homeschoolers could really benefit from doing this type of study notebook.

There notebooks are called Interactive Student Notebooks, or ISNs for short.  An ISN is a spiral notebook or a binder that is used for one subject.  The student keeps the notebook as part of their learning, studying, and evaluation.  The concept of student interaction is what makes these notebooks unique.  There are no two notebooks that are the same.  The notebook is arranged so that the child gets information from the teacher and then uses that information in a creative way to show they understand the material.

The materials you will need to begin a notebook are: a spiral notebook or binder, scissors, glue or tape, colored pencils, stapler & crayons.

An example of a notebook would be that the teacher might give notes, or questions from a reading in a textbook as the “input”.  The child studies the information and is then told to do some creative work on the “output” page to show they understand.

The page set-up:  (see below)

We haven’t started using the Interactive Notebooks yet, but I’m planning on doing one for Science next year.  I already had all my daughter’s subjects and notebooks planned out before I cam across ISNs.  But I truly love the idea.  I can say that I’ve started a little bit of notebook type foldable that she is putting into her reading notebook.  Here is what we’ve done.  (show) She does an online class called, “The American Girl Club” through Curr-click.  They read one book a month.  I found lapbook components for the American Girls, so I thought it would be good for her to put those into her notebooks.  I really didn’t want to do a lapbook per girl.  So this was what I came up with.

We are doing a lapbook to go along with her history.  If you are using “The Story of the World, Vol. I”.  There are lapbook components for the entire book.  I’ll give that website at the end with the other resources.  This is what she has done with that. (show)  We have done the Chap. 1 minibook and we just finished Chap. 8, so we’ve done that one.  And we will do two a week until we catch up.

Now let’s look at the process to begin your notebook. (see below)

To begin your notebook, you should allow your child to decorate a cover for their notebook.  This gives them ownership.  They can also decorate a unit cover whenever you change units.  Her a couple of pictures of covers. (see below)

And here are some examples of the “input/right-hand page and the corresponding “output/left-hand page.  (see below)

Foldables are a great tool that a child can use for their creative page, that output page.  Here are some example of foldables.  Also all the lapbook components I have shown you from can also be used as foldables.

Here are some examples of foldables.  The first one is a “Cause & Effect” foldable.  The next one is different types of flap books.  And the next pictures are of foldables inside a notebook.  These foldables can be used as part of a teacher directed lesson, so they would go on the right hand side of the notebook.  Or they can be used by the student for the left-hand side of the notebook.  (the last picture says, “The Layers of the Atmosphere”)

Now here are my resources for today.  I think this is the largest resource pages I’ve had so far.

Here is my contact information.  If you would like me to send the resources to you just email me and I’ll send all of these to you.

Thanks for being here today and next week we will be discussing “Reading Strategies”.  I hope to see you next week.


Interactive Student Notebooks


The purpose of the interactive notebook is to enable students to be creative, independent thinkers and writers. Interactive notebooks are used for class notes as well as for other activities where the student will be asked to express his/her own ideas and process the information presented in class.


                  • 8.5 / 11 spiral notebook (one that an 8.5 x 11″ sheet of paper can fit into without any trimming)
                  • writing instruments (pencil, pen, colored pencils)
                  • scissors glue stick or tape

Page Set-Up

Left Page – OutputStudent Involvement (Showing Understanding and Creativity) Right Page – InputTeacher Involvement (Given Information)
                  • Brainstorming
                  • Foldables
                  • Concept Maps (Science)
                  • Push/Pull factors
                  • Questions
                  • Process Description (Math)
                  • Character Descriptions
                  • “Wanted” Posters
                  • Eulogy Finish this . . .
                  • Flow Charts, Spectrums
                  • Matrices, Clustering, Spoke
                  • Venn Diagram
                  • T-charts
                  • Cartoons, Caricatures
                  • Graphs
                  • Newscasts


                  • Lecture notes
                  • Procedural notes
                  • Vocabulary
                  • Basic Knowledge Questions
                  • Reading Notes
                  • Movie, Video notes

The Process

                  • Leave several pages at the beginning of the notebook for the table of contents.
                  • Number the pages — odd numbers on the right and even numbers on the left. Students should never continue a right-side page onto the back but should rather staple, tape, or glue on an extra sheet to extend a page.
                  • Keep a master Table of Contents with dates and points possible.
                  • Allow student to decorate cover and make a cover for each unit.
                  • Give material to be covered.  Student can write notes or just put in material on right side of notebook.
                  • On left side of notebook, student uses material in a creative way to show comprehension.

Cover Page    

Unit Cover Page  

Right Side – Input  

Left Side – Output  

Right Side – Input 

Left Side – Output  

Right Side – Input  

Left Side – Output  








Notebook Foldables (for Spirals, Binders, & Composition Books by: Dinah Zike


YouTube Videos: – this guy show a couple of different foldables and how to make them.

The Story of the World lapbook website:

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