Saturday, January 30, 2016

Guided Notes versus Interactive Notebooks

I absolutely LOVE using interactive notebooks in various capacities with just about every subject/content area I've tried. But there's always that one student who just can't keep up. Is there some written code that says all students' notebooks have to look the same? I thought so, but I had to figure something else out to benefit these lower functioning students.
interactive notebooks don't work for everyone

This past few weeks I've been experimenting with guided notes, rather than flippable notes. The idea is still the same, get the students interacting with their lessons. However, there's a lot less to keep track of, and my precious students aren't getting lost in the assembly process.

Take a look at a couple of examples from this recent fraction lesson. We are developing number sense with fractions, learning the different parts of and types of fractions and how they work together.

The key for me is the notebook itself. These guided notes require a three-ringed binder rather than a typical spiral notebook. I'm sure I could adjust the size of printing to reduce the pages to a size that could be glued to a spiral notebook page. I'm just not fond of the way that looks, and it reduces the amount of blank space the student has for writing his notes.

fractions guided notes

Another thing that I learned (the hard way) is that this method works best if the guided notes are punched to lay on the left side of the notebook, so practice pages can be inserted to lay on the right side. This way, the student has his notes right there and ready, and he doesn't have to struggle to write around the binder rings.

Since this has worked out so well with my current students, I'm going to be revising my previous interactive notebooks to offer a guided notebook version. If you think you'd like to use these with your students, I currently have the fractions packet above in my store. I'll be adding Skip counting and division soon. If you leave a comment with the content areas you'd love to have, when I make it, I'll send you a complimentary copy!


  1. Any maths strategies and forms for primary would be great! I am a new tutor and am working with an 7 year old. (Year 2 here in the UK) I love you blog and store and will be buying the planner! Thank you endlessly - Miss. Harriott :) -

    1. Thank you Miss Harriot! I will keep your suggestions in mind, and let you know when I add new resources like this one!

  2. This is really awesome and beautiful.
    Thank for this sharing.
    Side Spiral Notebooks


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