Setting Up A Nonfiction Interactive Notebook

Happy Weekend!  I hope you are enjoying yourself on this wonderful Saturday.

Today I thought I would share how I set up interactive notebooks in my classroom.  I did this last year and my kids loved it.  We made a nonfiction book of our school year.  In it, we put interactive stuff from our science and social studies units.  During the year, we talked in detail about the features of many nonfiction books (table of contents, glossary, index, etc) and even made them for our own books. At the end of the school year, they walked away with a book that they had made.  The best part was it contained all of the "cool" science and social studies stuff we had learned about.

I saw a student from last year out and about a couple of weeks ago and he told me that he shared his notebook with his grandparents.  He was so proud.

So here you go!

Decide on what to use as a notebook.  These are the most common, but you could even staple paper together.


I used the composition books last year and held together great.  

First, I had my student put in a table of contents.  They glued it in and then each time we began a major science or social studies unit, they entered the name of it and the page number of where that topic begins.


The next part of set-up was the index.  I made index papers for them to put in the back of their books, beginning with the end of the alphabet.  We did this a page at a time so no one would get confused.  In the beginning of the year, I would print words I wanted in the index onto return address labels and the students stuck them in under the appropriate letter.  As the year progressed, the students wrote the words in themselves.



After the students set-up their notebooks, they were so excited to get started with it.  I had to break the news that this would be a year long project.  I did take the opportunity to show the table of contents and indexes of nonfiction books throughout the classroom.

You could also add a glossary, but I did not take that on last year.

As we added activities from our various units into our notebooks, the students numbered the pages as they went.  I had my students only use the front side of the paper, I'm kinda OCD like that.  I figured we wouldn't use the whole notebook, so there was plenty of space.


Something new I am going to add is the ribbon bookmark.  I have seen this floating around Pinterest and thought it was brilliant (not my original idea).  So I have the supplies cut and I will pass this prep projectonto a parent to do before school starts.  Here is what you will need, ribbon and tape (I used cute duct tape).


For a composition size notebook, I cut my ribbon into 13-inch pieces.  I taped the ribbon down with cute tape onto the back cover and there you have it!

A cute, ribbon bookmark.



There you have it!  The basics of setting up a nonfiction interactive notebook.  Do you use interactive notebooks?  How do you use them?

If your interested in a started kit, with the supplies for your table of contents, index and glossary click below.  You can easily have older students make their own.  I found for beginning of the year first graders it worked best if I gave them the starter pages.


Look for thematic add-ons to come soon.

Have a great weekend!


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