Interactive notebooks are all the rage right now, and for good reason. This educational tool provides students with (1) an easy way to stay organized (hello, no loose papers!) and (2) a fanatic way to make personal connections to material. Also, as a side note, I want to give a shout out to my 10th grade World History teacher, Mrs. Holland, because she was using interactive notebooks more than 10 years ago! I still remember being excited to use colored pencils in high school.
So, are interactive notebooks only for core content classes? No way! I’ve developed an interactive notebook for elementary students to use in classroom guidance, and I’m sure other counselors everywhere are doing this too! The notebook I use has 6 sections, and I’m still pondering extra 7th and 8th sections with the extra space 🙂 I’ve been sharing an inside look at my notebook on Instagram (@counselorkeri!) and figured I should blog about it too! I LOVE this tool so much, and I have seen some amazing growth in students who are sometimes hesitant to participate in interactive classroom guidance activities. Parents love seeing these activities come home and have called to tell me about the conversations that were sparked as a result. Needless to say, I am so happy with the way these have changed my classroom guidance lessons!
There are a lot of ways to do this, but I like to use the second classroom guidance lesson to set up the notebook. We color the cover and section pages and get them taped/glued inside the notebook. This can be complicated getting students to count the correct number of pages to separate the sections, but it can be done! I don’t have them fill in the hypotheses just get (except for the first section), but getting the notebook set up is half the battle 🙂 Getting the sections in from the get-go allows you to jump around from section to section throughout the year, incorporating character words periodically and teaching study skills throughout the year. That’s just what works for me, but there are lots of ways to do it! Another perk to using interactive notebooks is that this is a non-academic (graded) way to teach students how to use interactive notebooks before the head to middle and high school and start using them! Set them up for success early 😉 I should also mention that I use this as a supplement to my classroom guidance program – clearly not all topics are covered, and I don’t want students cutting and coloring every single time we meet.
Here’s an inside look at how I’m using the interactive notebook:
Section 1: Growth Mindset: I start the year with this section for obvious reasons 🙂 Students learn recognize fixed/growth mindset and to reframe fixed mindset statements into growth mindset statements.
Section 2: Emotions – Under the top flap, students write about a time when they experienced that emotion, and under the three flaps below, they write how the emotion looks, sounds, and feels. This promotes emotional intelligence in that students understand their own feelings and are better able to recognize feelings in their peers.
Section 3: Coping Skills – I teach this section after learning about emotions and later in the year when students start to experience more stress or peer troubles. Students can glue the tiles or tape along the top and write about a time when they’ve used the coping skill or a time when they think it would be useful. There are over 20 coping skills in this section.
Section 4: Character Counts – This section is great for all-year use. Teach it periodically with your character word of the week/month. Students can lift the top flap to write about a time they demonstrated the character trait or someone demonstrated it towards them and then describe how it looks, sounds, and feels below!
Section 6: Study Skills & Test-Taking Skills: This section is perfect for grades 4-6 as they begin to experience more challenging academics. Students learn strategies for studying and identify the ways they work best for them. I encourage students to remember that everyone learns differently, and that’s okay! The test-taking skills section is ideal before end-of-course or standardized tests and includes tips for before, during, and after the test.
Section 7: Career Exploration: This is one of my favorite sections (who am I kidding? I love all of the sections). Students begin by taking a simple interest inventory and then learn about the career clusters. Under career cluster flaps, students can write about people they know in those careers or list more community helpers from that cluster. Finish the section with a career exploration project (I love using ONET!). Students write about the career education, skills, and daily tasks under the flaps! It’s also a great way to cross-walk with ELA standards 😉
Do you use interactive notebooks in counseling? How do you do it? I’m always looking for feedback and collaboration to make it better for my kiddos! You can get mine in my TpT store!