I was introduced to interactive student notebooks (ISNs) by a friend in graduate school. She taught on a campus that had an AVID program, and the ISNs were a learning strategy used by teachers to help students better interact with their course content while developing critical thinking and writing skills. I was intrigued by how the notebooks helped students organize their learning and in-class activities and decided I wanted to try this strategy with my students.
I spent an entire year doing independent research about notebooking before I began using interactive student notebooks in the fall of 2009. I have used them with great success in both AP and IB Biology courses. I find them to be a great learning tool for students that helps students keep course content organized while building ownership and critical thinking/writing skills they will need beyond high school.
I also find that the use of interactive notebooks has been a wonderful teaching tool for me as they help me to organize my thinking about what I teach during a school year. Interactive notebooks have forced me to be more deliberate in planning more meaningful formative assessments for my students that truly help me find and fix the gaps in my students' learning.
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