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How do you create Buy In with Interactive Notebooks?

It’s been awhile since I did a post for Interactive Notebooks 101 and since I just got back from presenting a workshop I have PLENTY of tips to share.

Every time I am at a workshop I get asked the same question over and over in some way, shape or form… “How do I get my students to buy in to Interactive Notebooks?

Creating Buy In for Interactive Notebooks

Any time that you start something new in your classroom you have to start by being enthused and energetic about it from the beginning yourself. I can’t tell you how many times I have been reluctant about trying something and that makes my students reluctant about trying it as well.

How can you do this with Interactive Notebooks? When we allow students to truly make their Interactive Notebooks their own and move outside of our personal comfort zone that can also help with buy in. Students want to make something personal and this is just the start. Color and creativity can be key components.

What are some other ways to capture students? What about involving them in the the planning? Students like when they can be involved and despite the fact that many of us have curriculum guides to follow we can still allow our students to help us plan different components of their learning. I would typically let my students choose what color they wanted the next flippable to be on or even sometimes which flippable to use if it needed a certain number of spots. This helped me not only involve them but to also take that extra step off my plate.

Many of us as math teachers have word problems in our Interactive Notebooks. An easy way to incorporate our students is to use their names in the very word problems that we use. Yes, this is an extra step if we have to type them up ourselves but if you are using your students or people that your students know then they will connect to that problem.

What about for those time when you have open-ended work? Students in my class were able to choose their own flippables at times to help create their study guides and create/solve word problems. By just keeping a few of the various types of flippables printed (or just keeping the extras from each time I copied them) this allowed my students to take ownership of that material that they were then compiling.

And I know there are times that you will have students fight the cutting and gluing because they think it is just too babyish for them. This right here is when you have to PROVE to them how they can be beneficial. This can simply be by either telling stories of prior students, allowing them use their notebooks on quizzes in class and also showing how studying their notebooks can pay off for a better grade and understanding overall.

What are some other ways that you have been able to create “buy in” with your students?


  1. says

    I have never had student not want to buy in. We use them everyday. It’s their “math book”. They use it to complete work because all their cool notes are in it!
    I think kids like creating things, but they need to know if it’s important enough to make, it’s important enough to use the materials.

    Hodges Herald

  2. says

    I am constantly saying, “It is your notebook so make it what you want.” I have said it so much in my 5th grade math class, that a couple of the students have started a tally page for every time I say, “It is your notebook…”

    • says

      Thank you! I know that my dad has created an Interactive Notebook with his Calculus students and when it comes to taking their AP test they are more than floored at how much it has helped them over the course of the school year.

      Keep it up, you can do it!

  3. says

    Creating buy-in isn’t always easy at the beginning, but part way through the year I have everyone on board when they realize how useful their notebook is; literally everything they need is right there, organized in a way that they understand since they assembled the book.

    I had to comment to share on student’s reaction earlier today. I actually pulled out real text books for the first time all year today (on day 154 of school!) because I wanted a few more practice problems. A few students needed to finish as homework so they borrowed a book. My student said, “I’m so glad we got to make these notebooks!” when she was lugging the 5 pound book out of the room. That’s definitely buy-in.

    I also had a student tell me a few months ago that she was looking through her brother’s notebook (from last year). “When do we get to do that domino thing?” she asked, referring to a quadratics activity I did last year.

    Notebooks work. They do take more time than traditional notes. But students actually use them much more.

  4. Teri says

    ive never had a kiddo not buy in…they actually get visibly and verbally excited on the days we do them…yeah for me. Hmmmm….hope I didn’t speak to soon..a new school year is fast approaching and I may just be returning in need of pointer review.

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