Interactive Notebooks for Grammar Studies

Interactive notebooks provide engaging ways to take notes, understand confusing topics, and personalize information. #InteractiveNotebooks #MiddleSchoolELA

Do you use interactive notebooks for grammar lessons? I had luck with middle school students and interactive notebooks.

When I heard about interactive notebooks a few years ago, I immediately thought, fad. I dismissed them as the latest, in a long line of concepts in education that will change students! but disappear after a few years.

I was very wrong. Not only have I used interactive notebooks with my students, but I use them with my own children. Grammar can come alive with interactive notebooks, and as someone who loves to teach grammar, I want to reach as many students as possible.

The versatility never ends: color-coding pages, using tabs, creating a table of contents. I have found that not only do students understand the concepts, but they also learn important soft skills.

As I use these versatile tools, teachers ask me questions about them. As I experiment and create and learn, I have developed these tips for using interactive notebooks.

Interactive notebooks provide engaging ways to take notes, understand confusing topics, and personalize information. #InteractiveNotebooks #MiddleSchoolELA

Start small

My largest mistake with interactive notebooks was expecting perfection and a wonderful notebook immediately. I backed up (I honestly think I overwhelmed my students), and began with a basic interactive notebook.

As I started with small definitions and an overview of grammar terms, I found what worked for my classes. We use glue sticks, not liquid glue. I cut large chunks of paper off the edges of printed pieces so that I am giving students trimmed down pieces. I provide direct instruction as students then manipulate their pieces.

Do what a worksheet cannot

Worksheets help students, but interactive notebooks can provide students with visuals that a worksheet cannot. My favorite? Blocks.

Grammar is the building blocks of language. Provide this metaphor for students. You are providing the foundation of grammar lessons with basic definitions. Together, you are understanding the language that students should be able to manipulate in their writing and speaking. (They should also understand that speakers and writers will try to manipulate them!)

I also create varying visually appealing interactive pieces for the notebook because grammar can be fun.

Use age-appropriate materials

I do teach in a state that uses the common core. While I understand that grade leveled standards are complex, I base my activities off what I am expected to teach. For instance, when I use interactive notebooks for fifth and sixth grades, I review parts of speech and parts of a sentence with students, and then we work on choosing types of conjunctions. For seventh and eighth grades, we review verbal phrases and clauses, and then we work on punctuating them correctly.

Grammar is a tough subject to teach – students too often come with preconceived hatred. Changing their opinions and making grammar part of life, an interesting subject can be done! Sometimes it takes a bit of inspiration, and interactive notebooks do just that. Start small, think of what visuals will help your students, and use age-appropriate tools. And! Please leave a comment below with extra questions that I missed in this post.

Join me! I’d love to send you free activities and new ideas.

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10 comments

  • Natalie Trouten

    I love using interactive notebooks with my 5th graders! I have one for every subject 🙂

  • Susan Efseaff

    I use interactive notebooks in my classroom with first graders! They love it and it becomes a non-fiction primary source for the year!
    Susan
    Friendly Froggies

  • Erin B.

    Interactive notebooks are awesome when used properly. I’ve seen lots of INs that require students to spend all their time coloring, cutting and gluing, and not enough time with the content!

    ~Erin
    Mrs. Beattie’s Classroom

  • Mrs. McClain

    I love interactive notebooks! You can make them really fancy or really simple; but the focus is always to reinforce a concept or skill and create a tool that students can always look back at to reference 🙂

    Jasmine
    Buzzing With Mrs. McClain

    • Lauralee Moss

      Agreed! I have made several and doubt I’ll ever use the exact same pieces every time.

  • Grace

    I am not new to 6th Grade Language Arts, but I am new to interactive notebooks.
    I would appreciate any suggestions as to their implementation in my middle school classroom.

    Thank you!

    • Lauralee (author)

      Hi! I know it might sound odd, but what glue you want to use is a BIG deal. I used stick and liquid glue. Stick is less messy, but students go through it quickly. Liquid is messy, but if students can get a light coating, it really does work well.

      Also, are you going to have students come with notebooks? Will they be on your school supply list? Glue and notebooks… decisions of those two are a great starting point. Please let me know if you have more questions!

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