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Interactive Science Notebooks

Interactive science notebooks are an excellent tool for students to help them synthesize and work with the material.  They work at all levels, and can be used in many different ways.  The benefits of the notebooks are significant: 

Synthesis

Interactive notebooks provide a tool for students to synthesize material taught in class.  By creating a process for them to organize information, they interact with the material in a different way, helping them make the content their own.

At Home

Interactive notebooks are an organized way to keep track of content.  Students can work with their notebook at home to complete homework, and parents will be able to see what they are learning.

Meant to be Used

Interactive notebooks are just that – notebooks that are meant to be used.  As opposed to a place to keep notes, students go back and use the material to complete activities, both in class, and at home, both in and out of their notebooks.  The notebook becomes a resource and an active document. Unlike a textbook, the notebook is created by the student, and contains all the information relevant to their individual learning.

Ownership

Students are encouraged to make their notebook their own.  Use colour, in the form of pens and pencils or coloured paper makes it easier to sort and understand information.  Visually, this helps students remember what’s important, and thus allows them to apply the information in other situations.

Organization

Initially, there is a lot of cutting and pasting, and often this turns some people off of the notebooks.  They think it’s juvenile, or a waste of time.  However, ultimately, this leads to an organized, clutter free notebook that students find more useful than papers in a binder.  I suggest the cutting (and some of the pasting) be done for homework – it’s an easy task for students to complete without direct guidance.

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