Why I stopped using Interactive Notebooks and What I do Instead

by - May 01, 2018


Can we talk about Interactive Notebooks? When I first heard about and saw interactive notebooks, I was blown away. I attended a Professional Development session on Interactive Notebooks and I ran home and did hours of research and started formulating a plan to implement them the next school year.

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In an effort to align my notebooks with our Florida Standards, I designed my notebooks to be organized by standard. Students tagged each new standard with a Post-It tab and began each section by writing the learning goals for that standard. Then they cut and glued all kinds of foldables and vocabulary activities, and we stuck post-it all over, and drew diagrams and folded everything over and over and glued some more.

All. Of. The. Glue.

If I told you how many times I stood in line at the Dollar Tree with an entire cart full of glue sticks and got side-eyed by very confused cashiers who must have thought that I was nuts... you might not believe me. 

I once uttered the words "please don't glue your hands to your face" to a student. A 7th grader. 

Student notebooks were gorgeous. Teachers raved about our interactive notebooks that year. Administrators took photos. District representatives visited my classroom and thumbed through student notebooks and praised me for how wonderful they were.






And then student test scores came back.

They were not good.

I didn't abandon interactive notebooks at that point, after all, I had been praised continuously all year for my student notebooks. Other teachers took pictures of them and used them as a model for their own classroom!

I started the next year following the same plan I had the year before. I was all-in for interactive notebooks.

And then one day, it took nearly an entire class period for sudents to cut out and glue in some foldable activity, I don't even remember which one now. I picked seven glue sticks up off of the floor. Students were arguing over scissors. I looked around at my classroom, which lay in shambles under a pile of colorful paper scraps. 

And I was done.





I realized then just how much time we were wasting cutting and gluing and cutting and gluing and picking up paper scraps, and pulling aready-glued-down foldables off of pages because a student glued it on the wrong page, or glued it upside-down, how much time I was spending mediating arguents between students who were fighting over a certain pair of scissors or a certain glue stick. I realized how much instructional time I was losing. I realized how much of my own personal time I was losing creating foldables and activities that met the "interactive notebook criteria." How much money I was spending on colorful paper

And then I had the really hard conversation with myself - maybe the loss of instructional time was a contributing factor in my students' poor test scores the year before. 

And I was done.

After that, I ditched interactive notebooks. Yep. Mid-year. Just like that.  Because I am a grown up and I can do what I want. 

I explained to my students that we were going to make some changes because what we were doing just wasn't working. They weren't too sad about it. Truth be told, I'm not even sure that they were thrilled to be cutting and gluing... and cutting and gluing... 

So what's next?

I needed a replacement for notetaking after ditching interactive notebooks, so I did some research. My school has a School Improvement Plan that includes the use of Cornell Notes, but I had never attempted to use them before. They didn't make sense to me. It wasn't how I learned to take notes when I was in school and I couldn't conceptualize how exactly they could be effective in a Language Arts classroom. 

Can I just say - thank God for Pinterest! I found so many resources just by doing a simple search. It turns out, Cornell Notes can be effectively used to teach ELA concepts and standards, and I was SO excited. The kind of excited that I was when I learned about Interactive Notebooks - except with less glue

Students now have binders that contain their Cornell Notes. We still divide their binders up by standard just like we did with Interactive Notebooks. Each section begins with a page of Cornell Notes that features the standard and/or skill and also includes the Learning Goals for that standard. Cornell Notes also include relevant vocabulary, doodles, drawings, diagrams, etc. Cornell Notes pages are slid into a page protector that serves as the divider for that section. Following the pages of Cornell Notes are mentor texts, guided reading activities, vocabulary activities, and any other relevant materials.




Student binders also include a student data section, which had previously been housed in spiral-bound data books that I spent hours and hours creating. 

You can read about how I use Cornell Notes in my classroom and see many photo examples of my Cornell Notes pages by reading my other post about How I Effectively use Cornell Notes in my Language Arts Classroom

And now we don't spend wasted time cutting and gluing and folding and re-gluing, and cleaning up a mess.

I have saved so much instructional time that we are able to do other activities like Harkness and Lit Circles! We spent easily twice as much time on writing instruction this year as I have in previous years, and students are using and referring to their notes more than they ever did before. 

Yes, Interactive Notebooks are gorgeous. I'm sure that they are incredibly useful for the right students. I am sure that many teachers adore them and are having great success.

I was not one of them. And it's okay if you are not one of them, too. If something isn't working in your classroom - ditch it. Because you are a grown-up and you an do whatever you want.  

UPDATE on August 9, 2018: 

You can now get a copy of my Cornell Notes in a full document that covers every ELA standard, including writing and grammar. This also includes a student fill-in-the-blank page! This is available on this post!







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115 comments

  1. This is amazing! I teach 6th ELA and have been struggling with using Cornell Notes. Do you have more examples of how you use them with the standards and how student binders are organized? I would LOVE to make this implementation next year!

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    1. Yes! I did a lot of reading on Cornell Notes because I could not envision how to use them in ELA and when it clicked for me, I was so excited! I have a bunch of photos of pages I have made for many of the standards. I am working on a new post about using Cornell Notes but I would be happy to email you photos of the ones I’ve made if you leave your email address!

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    2. I would love to see that too. I also teach 6th ELA! Mbauer@ccusd93.org
      I used interactive notebooks but did away with anything foldable early on for the same reasons.
      Thanks so much for sharing.

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    3. Im so glad that I’m not the only one who became disenchanted with interactive notebooks!! I had a lot of emails and comments about Cornell Notes do I wrote a post about how I use them including a bunch of photos of Cornell Notes from my own classroom. You can read the post here: https://www.teachermom101.com/2018/05/how-i-use-cornell-notes-effectively-in.html?m=1

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    4. Please send me pics as well. I teach 7th grade ELAR and am interested!

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    5. Hi all! I had a lot of interest in this, so I wrote a post about it where I included a bunch of photos of my Cornell Notes! You can find it here: http://www.teachermom101.com/2018/05/how-i-use-cornell-notes-effectively-in.html

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    6. Can you send pictures to me also? aliebhart@greencity.k12.mo.us Thanks!!

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    7. Please also send it to me!! I would LOVE this!

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    8. I would love to see your Cornell notes too!! agollnick@msdwt.k12.in.us

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    9. I would also love Cornell note examples! No more glue! Jennifer.scharba@howlandschools.org Thank you!

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    10. I would love examples as well! I got so frustrated with interactive notebooks this year!!
      Jsanfilippo@kusd.org

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    11. Kali, do you mind sharing that information with me as well please and thank you. brandilatriceingram@gmail.com

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    12. Great idea!
      I have attempted the interactive notebooks with my 6th graders for the past two years... hours of preparing two completely different notebooks, I gave up with them halfway through the year due to the cutting and gluing taking up so much crucial time!

      Would you mind sharing your pages and information with me as well!?!
      Lryhal_3030@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much!

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  2. Hello! I am so excited to see that someone else ditched the interactive notebooks too! I love the thought and look, but it takes so much time. I am very interested in your Cornell Notes and photos also... if you don’t mind sharing. Thank you so much! dibutter@hotmail.com

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    1. They really take a lot of time and I was just over it! So glad it’s nit just me!! I decided to do a post about how I use Cornell notes and included a bunch of photos of mine, you can find it here: https://www.teachermom101.com/2018/05/how-i-use-cornell-notes-effectively-in.html?m=1

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  3. I also teach 6th grade ELA. Cornell notes-as you described- would be great! The sample of your student's summary at the end is perfect. May I also get in on the photo share of what you have done? It will help guide me for next year. Thank you! Jamie
    Jamiewvh@me.com

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    1. Cornell Notes have been a game-changer for me!! I decided to do a whole post about it and included s bunch of photos of my Cornell Notes. You can find it here: https://www.teachermom101.com/2018/05/how-i-use-cornell-notes-effectively-in.html?m=1

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  4. I teach 7th grade ELA and half of my class has very limited English. Could you email some examples of Cornell notes to me too? Jenmartin78@aol.com
    Thank you, I’m now going to look into the Cornell notes!

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    1. Hi! I teach sheltered ESOL, so I understand!! I still use Cornell Notes with my ESL kids, we just draw a lot of pictures and flowcharts. I decided to do a post about my Cornell Notes and I included a bunch of pictures! You can find it here: https://www.teachermom101.com/2018/05/how-i-use-cornell-notes-effectively-in.html?m=1

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  5. I would also love to see the examples. paschala@jackson.k12.al.us

    Thanks!

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    1. Check out the post that I wrote about using Cornell Notes - I had a lot of interest in this so I just created an entire post about it including photos! Find it here: http://www.teachermom101.com/2018/05/how-i-use-cornell-notes-effectively-in.html

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  6. I was just talking to a coworker who wanted to try interactive notebooks for next year! I am in the same boat as you, tried them and felt like it was a huge reality vs expectation lesson.
    I teach 6th grade ELA and would love to see a sample of a page or two of the Cornell notes. My district is really pushing note taking so this could be perfect!
    Thanks and shout out to another FL teacher!!!

    Kendelicato@gmail.com

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    1. I agree that it is definitely an expectation vs. reality lesson, I felt the same way! It's interesting how Interactive notebooks had this huge spike and became this huge instructional buzzword, and how so many teachers quickly became disenchanted with using them. I did a post about how I use Cornell Notes that includes a bunch of photos of my Cornell Notes, you can find it here: http://www.teachermom101.com/2018/05/how-i-use-cornell-notes-effectively-in.html

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  7. Hi! I tried using interactive notebooks this year and it was a horrible experience. I teach elementary school, grades 2-3 Special Education. Do you ladies think that the Cornell Notes would work with my students?

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    1. Hi Shannon! The great thing about Cornell Notes is that they can be modified to suit any grade level. The most important part is the reflection piece at the end where the studetns reflect on and summarize what they learned in the lesson - you could definitely teach 2nd and 3rd graders to do this! Besides, teaching gret note taking in the younger grades would be helpful for those students when they get to secondary - and the secondary teachers would be grateful! :)

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  8. I would love to see other pages you had your students do. I have also struggled using Cornell Notes in ELA. Robertsonp@lisd.net

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    1. I apologize for getting back to you so late, google has apparently stopped notifying me when there are new comments! I will be emailing you!

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  9. Preach sister. I love Cornell notes and I also found myself wondering mid-foldable activity why the heck I was doing it. The kids got nothing out of it.

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  10. I teach 4th grade and did the same thing with interactive notebooks! Done-zo. I still use a version of an interactive notebook in math, but definitely have cut waaaay back on the glue and foldables. We use them more as a resource than as a note-taking tool or demonstration of understanding vehicle. Like you, I couldn't justify the loss of instructional time -- and to what benefit? I use Cornell Notes with my 4th graders all the time. They actually prefer it over any other organizer. Great to see others making the same decisions. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Yes!! I am so glad to hear other teachers moving away from Interactive Notebooks. They are very cool, and I was so excited about them, but man oh man were they a giant time suck!

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    2. Do you have any photos of your 4th grade pages? I will be teaching 3rd grade writing and science this year...all new territory.

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  11. I’d love to see a sample of Cornell notes in ELA. I love that your binders are divided by standard. I’d like to see the intro pages too.

    Thanks
    Fgough428@gmail.com

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  12. I have been teaching for ten years, but will be new to 6th grade this coming school year. I would LOVE to see your examples!
    Nrlamb4@gmail.com

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  13. I teach science and I too have been struggling with cutting, folding, glue placement, etc that everyone has mentioned! I love the foldables, but they are becoming more and more time consuming. I think it is time for the transition to another form of notebook design so that instruction and learning is maximized. I look forward to reading more about Cornell Notes and everyone's strategies to figure out what may work for my classes next school year.

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  14. Please send them to me as well :)
    Sticker123@charter.net

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  15. I love that you are pushing the rigor in your classroom!

    I would love the examples sent to me as well!! :)
    Kbair@baschools.org

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  16. My problem was all the wasted paper! Nobody ever had glue or scissors either. I re-designed lapbooks for the same reason. Sometimes we use a page for vocabulary or a science diagram that needs labelling. Cornell notes may be worth investigating. Truthfully I have had the most success with graphic organizers. Very easy to differentiate. Thanks for asking the important questions!

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    1. I am a big fan of grhic organizers as well! I have a 5-inch-thick encyclopedia of graphic organizers that is like my teaching Bible!

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  17. Love this, but couple of questions:
    1) Do the pages rip easily from 3-hole punching and flipping back and forth?
    2) Do you have a copy budget?

    Thanks!

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    1. 1. we store the notes pages in sleeve protectors. I get them in big boxes at Costco for under $5 so that these pages last longer in bingers. These sleeve protected pages also act as a "section divider" for that standard and we make a "tab" with a post-it to label each one for easy finding.

      2. We do nto hae a copy budget at my school. We are very fortunate. We have a person who is in charge of production and we submit what we want copied and she copies all day.

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  18. I like the interactive notebook and I use Cornell note with it. I ditched the whole glue sticks, construction paper, and foldables a while ago. If students want to do this with their note books they can. We have be focusing mostly on math and scientific models, writing and vocabulary activi

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  19. This post has made my summer! I honestly felt like I was keeping a terrible secret when I decided to dump our interactive notebooks mid-year. Yes, they look amazing but at what expense? When you departmentalize, quick and to the point is the way to go. When using the notebooks, I knew I wasn't using instructional time effectively, and my students weren't focused on the right content. I won't even get into the craziness of when students were absent on those days! I have never heard of Cornell Notes, but I look forward to reading your post. Again, thank you for taking some stress off of my plate. I just needed to hear that I wasn't the only one! Power on sister, power on!

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    1. YES! You brought up a good point - when students are absent what do you do? It takes so much time to get them the right foldable and have them glue it in. Sometimes I would have students at their table just do theirs for them when they were out so they wouldn't be behind, but then they didn't benefit from the lesson at all and the other students were burdened with trying to do TWO notebook pages. It was insanity. I am never looking back!

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  20. Are there any middle school science teachers using Cornell notes? All posts seem to be ELA I have been using interactive notebooks in middle school science for 6 years with varying degrees of success, I would be interested in getting input on alternative idea's.

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    1. I think that the science department at my school uses Cornell Notes, but I am not really sure what their pages look like.

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  21. I am a teacher and a mom to a kiddo who had three classes where ALL they seemed to do was make interactive notebooks. It was in science, language arts, and social studies classes. I didn’t get it, my kid didn’t learn much, and one time he told me that he just couldn’t write everything the way the teacher did and get it all on the page.
    I think one teacher wanted to ditch the gluing for awhile and instead had the kids write 8 pages of notes on Ancient Greece. It was at least high school level material and he didn’t retain a thing! I kept saying that it wasn’t best practice to take that many notes...I’m a middle grade history teacher.
    That was 6th grade, and he struggled. His test scores were not good. I really thought the teachers were somewhat responsible because of the way they were teaching. Your post is the first time that I’ve had a little “proof” that maybe I’m right about that. My son was in 7th grade this year, and I kept telling my husband that his teachers were better this year. There were no interactive notebooks! There were review sheets for tests! He didn’t just have to study the entire 30 page notebook for science like he did the year before. His testing scores were much better. Thanks so much for sharing this post!!

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    1. I also have a son who will be a 7th grade this upcoming year and I felt that he got nothint out of using interactive notebooks. He is sort of scattered anyway, so his notebook was a hot pile of grabage that he couldn't even really study from. I have had many students like this too and it's really just not worth it. Definitely goes to show that just because something looks amazing, it doesn't mean that it's worth anything!

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  22. I would love to see what your student data section looks like. Thanks!

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    1. If you give me your email address, I will email you copies of the data pages that I use!

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  23. Could I get samples of you book too please?! I love this blog and feel the same!! My email is carrie.nippert@omeresa.net

    Thank you so much!!

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    1. I haven’t received anything yet. I’m afraid I may have missed it!! Could you please send again? Thank you!

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    2. Eek! I might have missed you on the last email batch. I am sort of emailing several people at once because I am getting so many requests for these materials! I will add you to today's email. Let me know if you still don't receive anything!

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  24. Do you have picture of what your binders look like? How they are set up? Seems interesting for a 7th grade history class!

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    1. I don't have any pictures and I really should have taken some before I sent them home with students this year. They are set up by standard. The Cornell Notes page is the first page in each section and we put them in a sleeve protector. Then we use a post-it as a "tab" to label that section, so the cornell notes page effectively also acts as a divider for that standard's section and then everythign else associated with that standard goes behind it. As the year progresses, more and more things go in that section as we spiral review those standards.

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  25. I would love to see more examples. mmccreary@trinityschooloftexas.com

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  26. Thank you for this wonderful post. I teach 5th grade ELA and history. I would love to start my students on Cornell Notes. I would be grateful if you shared your mother notes with me as well. My email is Fergusonal@lcsedu.net Thank you in advance

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    1. Can you please include me in your next batch of emails? I teach 8th grade ELA in Lee County and have ditched the interactive notebooks as well. I would also love a copy of your districts scaled standards if possible. Thanks in advance. Email is smtse19@yahoo.com or gmail.com

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  27. Love this! Thanks for sharing.
    I have tried interactive notebooks in and off for a few years now and thought the
    problem was me. I quit them several times, but never really found anything to take their place. I also loved the fact that you used your SIP as a guide to help you decide what to do. I have been on my school's SIT for 5 years and have been the chair for 2 years and I don't think half the teachers know what's in our plan.
    I have taught 1st to 4th grades over the past 8 years and will be in 3rd again next year...looping up with my 2nd graders. Because of this article I now plan to try the Cornell Notes. I would have never thought to try them if it wasn't for your post. Thanks so much for sharing.

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    1. I am so glad that this was helpful for you! I love the idea of getting students started with good notetaking skills in elementary school - your secondary teacher will thank you! I can't imagine not knowing what is in the SIP - it's so important to pay attention to the needs of your school and the SIP is a good starting point to do that! Good luck this year!

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  28. I'm so glad to find this article because I thought I was just too ADHD to use interactive notebooks effectively in my 6th grade ELA classroom!! I will be using the rest of my break to research Cornell Notes. Thank you for the raw truth you experienced!

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    1. Melissa, I am so glad that this resonated with you! Good luck!

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  29. Thanks for this post! Last year was my first year at a new middle school for boys, and our notebooks were horrendous! Even after using notebooks for years in a mixed gender setting, I couldn’t get my boys to create the ‘pretty’ and organized models, and then they didn’t have good resources to look back on to prepare for a test. Many of them struggled with fine motor skills including writing and cutting, and they took forever to create a page. I realized I need to reconsider this approach for many of the reasons you posted above.
    I love Cornell notes and have used them in the past. Do you have kids write all of the notes by hand, or do you provide some outlines? I struggle with which way to go. Again, many boys struggle with writing neatly and it becomes a major chore to write a whole page of notes, but I sometimes feel like kids don’t fully engage in a lesson/lecture when they are just looking for the next blank to fill in. Would love to hear your thoughts!
    Thanks again!

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    1. I have a differentiated version of my notes that I use for my SPED students or students who struggle to write all of the notes. They are basicaly a fill-in-the-blank version. I wrote a post about how I differentiate using Cornell Notes, and you an rad all about how I do this there! https://www.teachermom101.com/2018/05/how-i-differentiate-like-pro-using.html

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  30. I teach science also and ditched the interactive notebooks because of the glue and time spent teaching kids how to fold paper... I use a binder and we still occasionally will do a foldable, but I have found that students really love doodle notes and fun graphic organizers. I am going to have to look into using Cornell notes to see if it would work for my students.

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    1. July 16, 2018 at 9:39 AM
      I love doodle notes and use a lot of graphic organizers as well. I have a huge encyclopedia of graphic organizers that has everyting anyone could every need so I consult that constantly!

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  31. Hi Kaily! I love everything you have to say about cornell notes! As a 7th grade ELA/Social Studies teacher, I would love the link as well to your Cornell Notes, to further assist me as I start considering changing things up this coming school year! Thank you in advance! melanie_stewart@ycjusd.us

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  32. I would love to see your cornell notes! I would completely agree in regards to interactive notebooks! We waste so much time in class, glueing and cutting! jenna.whipple42@gmail.com

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  33. My co-worker and I have been struggling with Interactive notebooks in our classrooms. We had very similar issues with cutting and gluing. It all seemed so simple.. yet, it was a horrendous mess! Your post really invigorated us to try Cornell Notes next year... we are really excited to see how students embrace this new format! Canyou send me pics of how you set up your notebooks, specifically the student data section? My email is suzanne.dick22@gmail.com

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  34. I have mixed feelings about this. I have successfully used Interactive Notebooks in my middle school science class for many years now. I tried the cutting pasting version first. I felt that was a waste of educational time (I only get 45 min per period). However, I stuck to it and adjusted. I stuck to a right side input, left side output format. We did Cornell Notes directly on the right sides of the pages.

    I have also found that Cornell Notes in the middle school do not work unless they are incredibly structured during class. The 10/24/7 method does not happen. The kids sit down and do every part of the Cornell Notes in the same sitting. So, the thing that makes Cornell Notes work (not just multiple interactions with Notes, but timing) is not occurring. I have scheduled time within my week for kids to do their interactions with Notes in class to ensure the proper Cornell format is occurring.

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    1. July 26, 2018 at 1:56 PM
      Jennifer -

      I can see how interactive notebooks would be successful in science. Because Language Arts is skill-based instead of content-based, I think it's a little different. I absolutely cannot speak to how Cornell Notes would effectively work in a content-based class like science, but it sounds like you have found a great way to integrate the two successfully!

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  35. I am a huge fan of Interactive Notebooks for my high school social studies classes. I’ve used them for many years and have found lots of tips and tricks to make sure they don’t take a lot of time. They actually save me a lot of time. I don’t have to grade daily assignments, (I stamp during warmups), students have all of their assignments ready for relflections, even months later, students don’t lose papers so we have great study sessions. I think I don’t use them in a typical way-We don’t cut many things, I rarely lecture, so we don’t need pages and pages for notes. We paste in graphic organizers, write directly on the pages critical thinking and writing activities, reflections on simulations or discussions. On a daily basis students spend 1-2 minutes gluing and keeping up with their table of contents. “Fast finishers” can use time to catch up on organization or make their assignments pretty if they want. I couldn’t see another way to keep all of my students organized. I will say that I don’t do it for my AP classes, who we do a lot of homework they keep, essays I need them to keep track of, and other “big” assignments that wouldn’t fit into a spiral notebook. We use binders, but for grading and organization, it’s lretty much the same as the ISN.

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    1. Raechel,

      I am so happy that you are successfully using Interactive Notebooks in your SS classes! I WISH that I could have had similar success with my students because I REALLY wanted to! I just had to know when to let go of something that was not working. I think that because ELA is skill-based rather than content-based, it's sort of tricky to find ways to teach standards without focusing strictly on conteny - "teach standards, not stories" as they say. It made IN's tricky. I also have 7th graders, so maybe the physical construction part of IN's is easier with high school students! Either way, I am so glad that you are having such great success :)

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    2. So funny; I just wrote something similar. I've found that I do a combination of my own version of Cornell and Interzctive. Do you find it's easier if you make or adapt your own graphics?

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  36. Did you teach the kids how to use this notetaking strategy? Do you have a lesson for that?

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    1. Kind of. I do not do an explicit lesson for Cornell Notes, however, I do teach the skill through modeling in the beginning, and allowing the students to take on more and more of the responsibility as the year progresses, especially for the summary part at the bottom.

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    2. So, I actually do a combination which is actually the key, and I teach 9th and 10th grade. I recommend printing out an overview that you piece together from the internet. Then we underline, highlight, arrow, and define. We also doodle, explain, and example from texts we read. However, I still use interactive notes on occasion; it's really about balance. I also choose less complicated ones and/or adapt them symbolically like the tree one for theme. I've made my own quote sandwich and constructed response formula (just cut and glue, no folds). I made my own author's purpose one. My students suggested that I have my next year's students make a shadowbox containing all the poetry terms for something different. You have to model constantly, adaot, and learn from them. Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater.

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    3. Oh, we'll do my Cornell notes and an interactive notebook together to really cement something. I actually do a lot of stapling in my interactive notebook. I've been trying to think how I might do the interactive part of Google Classroom. Changing and commenting on notes, no problem but the imteracting, not sure.

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  37. Thank you so much for sharing this resource! Amazing! I also teach 7th ELA in Citrus County and we are an AVID school as well. I also have been frustrated with INB's lately and I can't wait to try this. Is there any way you might be able to share your other notes? I would love to show my team. Thank you!! skylanevansmom@gmail.com.

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  38. I'm a 4th grade ELA teacjer. Can u send me the info and pics of how you implemented the Cornell notes in your class. I have 2 weeks and would love to use Cornell notes this year. It would save SO much time! Thank you for sharing! jamcam9502@gmail.com. Can u also share how you set up data binders? Thanks!

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  39. I also teach 6th Grade ELA and would love more photos and information about Cornell Notes and how to understand them better!! Thank you!! ceboles161fa@gmail.com

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  40. I was doing interactive notebooks for all the wrong reasons. I loved the pretty, I loved the creativity, I loved that kids could color in the numerous illustrations I printed out for them.

    I HATED grading them and found myself leaning more and more towards a completion grade over something that I was dedicating the majority of my class time to. I wasn't grading for content or comprehension, just for completion. I'm already SO happy with this change. I'm finding myself with extra class time and that I'm filling my class with more information and less doodles.

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  41. Hi Kaily! I teach 6th grade ELA and decided to use Cornell notes in my three cores. I was so excited to find and purchase your Cornell notes package because my three cores are each so different! I have an EC class for Core 1 with very low-performing students, a gifted Core 2, and an average ability Core 3. I will now be able to differentiate using your models! My question is this, would you consider making your color copies available either as part of this package or for an additional cost? I would really love to show students how to use color coding as yet another layer of differentiation, and I think they would enjoy creating their notes more with colored markers and pens! Thank you so much! Have a great school year! Beth

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  42. OMG!! I am glad that I am not the only teacher who thinks that interactive notebooks are too time consuming. I use cornell notes often in my science class. Do you have any examples/pictures for middle school science (6-8)

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    1. Danita
      I forgot to put my name on the previous so I'm submitting it again. OMG!! I am glad that I am not the only teacher who thinks that interactive notebooks are too time consuming. I use cornell notes often in my science class. Do you have any examples/pictures for middle school science (6-8).

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    2. No, I'm sorry! I wish I did! I teach ELA, so most of my materials are for ELA.

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  43. Kaily, I also teach 6th Grade ELA; I would like to see more photos and information about Cornell Notes and how to understand them better. Thank you very much. rgarcia@mora.k12.nm.us

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  44. Oh my god! You give me hope. I am a 6th. grade teacher and this is my second year using interactive notebooks for Lang. Arts and Math. You just stated everything I am feeling that I didn't want to have to face. My parents love them, my principal loves them, my district administration wants to me train others in them, I just want to burn them. I am losing so much instructional time, prep time, the mess is driving me NUTS, and I don't want to even think about how much money I have sunk into them !!!!!! Thank you for helping me face the reality that they aren"t working for me. I will look into your Cornell Notes!

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  45. Thank you for your insight and my reality wake-up call. I would love to see more examples of your ELA Cornell notes. I teach 6 th grade ELA as well. If you can share some examples with my email I would greatly appreciate it. (Jbergman@annaschools.org). Thanks so much!

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  46. I agree! With the old way of doing INBs I felt like I was teaching origami not math. But I love how INBs give students a record of their learning to use for reference. I ended up making my own, super-simple to build. Only two types of fold: "Garage door" or "front door." https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/6th-Grade-Math-Interactive-Notebooks-Guided-Notes-Bundle-3614965

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  47. I love this! I try to do a page for each standard in ELA and math. I teach 4th grade...do you have any ELA examples for that grade? If not, I think I can take what you do and adapt it!

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    1. Actually I teach 5th grade. That's what I would like samples of. Also, are these a Google doc that I would be able to make a copy and edit to suit my needs.

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    2. Hi! These Cornell Notes are absolutely approprite for 5th graders. I would say that they would be great for 5th to 9th grades since the standards in those grades are so similar. If you do decide to purchase this, please email me at kailysimpson@gmail.com and I can send you an editable version so that you can make any changes to accommodate your 5th graders!

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  48. I teach 6th grade ELA and Reading. I used the notebooks last year. I had already decided that this year I would use binders - and I would buy them myself! Thank you, Dollar Tree! I would love to incorporate your ideas... still a work in progress on my end! This is a God-send! Would love samples of anything you have. You're awesome!

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  49. Just wanted to let you know that you spelled "Notebooks" wrong on your pin image in your blog post. I'd want someone to tell me. ;)

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  50. I am new to teaching 6th and 7th grade this year. I was planning on using Interactive Notebooks, but clearly more interested in your new discovery. Makes more sense. Would you be willing to send me some samples please?

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  51. Thank you for sharing a tool that will allow students to share accountability for their learning.

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  52. Hi there! I teach 2nd grade. I often struggle with the idea of having multiple notebooks or folders for the various subjects I my room. Do you think Cornell Notes would work in a 2nd grade classroom? -Paige

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  53. I would like to see pictures of your Cornell notes as well! :)
    Please and thank you!
    susanne.seaman@hpisd.net

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  54. Interesting blog post. I can see where Interactive notebooks could be just too much work with larger groups of kids. They work well with smaller groups that's for sure, and they seem to work well for math. The Cornell notes would make sense to me for a LA class. I usually say , if it doesn't work , fix it.

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  55. SO I have combined Interactive Notebook and Cornell Notes! That's how I changed up my note taking.

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