Dig Up the American Colonies to Review US History

Dig Up the American Colonies to Review US History



Though your middle school and high school US History students may have a vague understanding of who founded America, they've likely let go of the intimate knowledge of when, how, and why. Reintroducing the American Colonies will help to reinforce skills and review knowledge they learned earlier in the year. By using a hands-on approach, including response group activities, centers, and even an archaeological dig, students review information about basic US History in a fun context.

 Though your middle school and high school US History students may have a vague understanding of who founded America, they've likely let go of the intimate knowledge of when, how, and why. Reintroducing the American Colonies will help to reinforce skills and review knowledge they learned earlier in the year. By using a hands-on approach, including response group activities, centers, and even an archaeological dig, students review information about basic US History in a fun context. #ushistory #middleschool #highschool #tpt #americanhistory #americansettlement #archaeologicaldig #historyfun

Your middle school and high school US History students will appreciate a change of pace when you blanket their lesson plans with fun and engaging reviews, like centers activities and archaeological digs. Getting students moving, motivated, and intrigued will help to encourage deeper learning and will also help them to retain more knowledge for test time and end-of-year review! 

Fun Fact! What was the first successful colony? Hop over to Scholastic for the answer.

If your students enjoy practical applications of learning, adding the American Colonial Settlement Centers Activity or Archaeological Dig into your lesson plans is sure to spark an interest. Students have the opportunity to engage in group centers to collect information, create a human timeline, dig an archaeological dig site, review contextual information, play a matching game, and prepare a study guide for test time.
 Though your middle school and high school US History students may have a vague understanding of who founded America, they've likely let go of the intimate knowledge of when, how, and why. Reintroducing the American Colonies will help to reinforce skills and review knowledge they learned earlier in the year. By using a hands-on approach, including response group activities, centers, and even an archaeological dig, students review information about basic US History in a fun context. #ushistory #middleschool #highschool #tpt #americanhistory #americansettlement #archaeologicaldig #historyfun

Also, middle school and high school students can engage in US History review with Comparing the American Colonies - Response Group or Centers Activity. Students will work cooperatively to gather information on education, government, business and trade, community life, geography, settlement, and more, in each colony, and then perform different comparison/contrast engagements. Presenting them with this different approach to learning about the Colonies will surely engage them in a way that will help them retain similarities and differences among the colonies.

 Though your middle school and high school US History students may have a vague understanding of who founded America, they've likely let go of the intimate knowledge of when, how, and why. Reintroducing the American Colonies will help to reinforce skills and review knowledge they learned earlier in the year. By using a hands-on approach, including response group activities, centers, and even an archaeological dig, students review information about basic US History in a fun context. #ushistory #middleschool #highschool #tpt #americanhistory #americansettlement #archaeologicaldig #historyfun
By presenting your middle and high school students with these alternative learning activities, they're less likely to be bored with repetitive content. Instead, they'll embrace the hands-on learning approach, engage with classmates, develop cooperative learning skills, and work together to review information in a fun and informative way! Using these interactive activities will surely enhance the learning experience in your US History classroom year after year.

Happy Teaching!

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Michele Luck
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5 Strategies for Teaching Primary Sources

5 Strategies for Teaching Primary Sources


The Library of Congress appropriately categorizes primary sources as the "raw materials of history," emphasizing the importance of analyzing, studying, and understanding these basic building blocks of any historical fact. By connecting students with firsthand facts and experiences, primary sources allow students to connect to the history on a deeper, more complex level. By using primary sources in your classroom, you're not only presenting critical and foundational information, but also helping students to formulate effective thinking strategies, critical thinking skills, and processing skills.

The Library of Congress appropriately categorizes primary sources as the "raw materials of history," emphasizing the importance of analyzing, studying, and understanding these basic building blocks of any historical fact. By connecting students with firsthand facts and experiences, primary sources allow students to connect to the history on a deeper, more complex level. By using primary sources in your classroom, you're not only presenting critical and foundational information, but also helping students to formulate effective thinking strategies, critical thinking skills, and processing skills. #lessonplans #primarysources #primarysourceanalysis #alessonplanforteachers #teacherspayteachers #teaching

By using these raw materials, or primary sources, a teacher can present a plethora of historical information. However, students may be intimidated or confused by primary sources as they were sometimes written many decades ago, with lengthy verbiage, colloquial language, and advanced conceptual knowledge. Using these 5 strategies for teaching primary sources, it will be easier to break down the primary source at hand, analyze it, and then use the knowledge obtained to suit the lesson. By utilizing bellringers, primary source images, guided analysis questions, think-pair-share activities, and skills practice, your middle school and high school students are less likely to be intimidated by primary sources and more likely to grasp and retain the information within said documents.


1. Use bellringers or large assignments to quickly evaluate different themes or people. By using bellringers with this evaluation component, students can quickly assess the information at hand, pick out pertinent relationships (themes, people, comparisons, differences) and regurgitate the information in whichever method you've planned. Bellringers get students thinking quickly and without as much intimidation - students are more likely to approach the information unbiased and ready to absorb. By using primary sources in your bellringers, students get firsthand knowledge and experience with the document at hand.

2. Use images with spiral questioning format. Start with easy questions and gradually formulate harder inquiries. Throwing your students into primary source documents "head first" is a recipe for disaster. Instead, stairstepping the complexity of the documents as well as the questions and/or information obtained from the documents will ensure that your students aren't quickly deterred  from utilizing primary source documents. Your visual learners will also surely benefit from the use of images in conjunction with the wordy documents.

The Library of Congress appropriately categorizes primary sources as the "raw materials of history," emphasizing the importance of analyzing, studying, and understanding these basic building blocks of any historical fact. By connecting students with firsthand facts and experiences, primary sources allow students to connect to the history on a deeper, more complex level. By using primary sources in your classroom, you're not only presenting critical and foundational information, but also helping students to formulate effective thinking strategies, critical thinking skills, and processing skills. #lessonplans #primarysources #primarysourceanalysis #alessonplanforteachers #teacherspayteachers #teaching

3. Use guided analysis questions to practice skills with multiple types of primary source documents. Once your students are little more familiar with primary source documents and how to utilize them for information, answering questions, and inquiring, they are more prepared to utilize more difficult documents. Using guided analysis questions will allow your students the opportunity to differentiate and analyze the information without feeling overwhelmed or unsure of where to start.

4. Work toward reading more in-depth and challenging documents with original wording to further develop skills. Once your students have mastered easier primary source documents, image analysis, and guided analysis questions, move into more in-depth documents. Students should have a better understanding of key points, meaning, and interpretation, and will be able to analyze difficult documents more easily. Forcing students to analyze original wording, completely with colloquial phrasing and above-grade-level text will encourage them to use context clues to grasp deeper meaning.

5. Do a think-pair-share activity with the lesson focus on content while practicing the skill of analysis. By using a think-pair-share activity, students will utilize their partner's strengths to collaboratively analyze the primary source document at hand. This offers a fresh perspective, new interpretation, and deeper understanding of the topic at hand. Use other think-pair-share variations for variety in the classroom.

By using these 5 strategies for teaching primary sources in the classroom, your middle school and high school students will grasp a deeper understanding of these historic documents, develop methods and skills for easy analysis, and learn to utilize these raw documents in their regular Social Studies study.

With over 84 pages of primary source documents and activities, this United States Complete Primary Source Analysis Bundle Set is perfect for your middle school and high school US History lesson plans. Using these primary source analysis activities, students are sure to master these 5 strategies for understanding and analyzing primary sources in the classroom.

The Library of Congress appropriately categorizes primary sources as the "raw materials of history," emphasizing the importance of analyzing, studying, and understanding these basic building blocks of any historical fact. By connecting students with firsthand facts and experiences, primary sources allow students to connect to the history on a deeper, more complex level. By using primary sources in your classroom, you're not only presenting critical and foundational information, but also helping students to formulate effective thinking strategies, critical thinking skills, and processing skills. #lessonplans #primarysources #primarysourceanalysis #alessonplanforteachers #teacherspayteachers #teachingHappy Teaching!


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Michele Luck
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Using Visual Teaching & Chunking Techniques to Explore New Content

Using Visual Teaching & Chunking Techniques to Explore New Content


Teaching an entire geographical region can be intimidating, not only for the teacher but also for her students. Thinking about a continent in the context of its numerous countries, cultures, geographical differences, languages, business practices, and people, can overwhelm even the most diligent and detail-oriented pupil. However, using visual teaching methods and practicing chunking techniques can help students to analyze, categorize, and develop a deeper understanding of the content knowledge, ensuring they are able to better retain the specific information of each region.

Teaching an entire geographical region can be intimidating, not only for the teacher but also for her students. Thinking about a continent in the context of its numerous countries, cultures, geographical differences, languages, business practices, and people, can overwhelm even the most diligent and detail-oriented pupil. However, using visual teaching methods and practicing chunking techniques can help students to analyze, categorize, and develop a deeper understanding of the content knowledge, ensuring they are able to better retain the specific information of each region. #visualteaching #chunking #lessonplans #teaching #socialstudies #middleschool #highschool #tpt #teacherspayteachers

Implementing learning techniques like visual teaching and chunking will help your students to better grasp the information they're studying. By executing a fun and engaging walking tour like the Latin America Walking Tour featured in these images, students can use these methods to compare and contrast, explore, and retain critical regional information. These techniques are basic and are probably already in your wheelhouse to some degree, but formally expressing them in your lesson plans will help your students to transition from users of information to vessels of information.


Teaching an entire geographical region can be intimidating, not only for the teacher but also for her students. Thinking about a continent in the context of its numerous countries, cultures, geographical differences, languages, business practices, and people, can overwhelm even the most diligent and detail-oriented pupil. However, using visual teaching methods and practicing chunking techniques can help students to analyze, categorize, and develop a deeper understanding of the content knowledge, ensuring they are able to better retain the specific information of each region. #visualteaching #chunking #lessonplans #teaching #socialstudies #middleschool #highschool #tpt #teacherspayteachers
Though there are many different learning styles, visual learners are likely abundant in your classroom. Many students learn much better when presented with images, charts, graphs, and other visuals. Using images to reinforce, compare, and contrast information can help students to understand and remember specific details. This Latin America Walking Tour guides students through Chile with images of the land, history, people, and business.


Teaching an entire geographical region can be intimidating, not only for the teacher but also for her students. Thinking about a continent in the context of its numerous countries, cultures, geographical differences, languages, business practices, and people, can overwhelm even the most diligent and detail-oriented pupil. However, using visual teaching methods and practicing chunking techniques can help students to analyze, categorize, and develop a deeper understanding of the content knowledge, ensuring they are able to better retain the specific information of each region. #visualteaching #chunking #lessonplans #teaching #socialstudies #middleschool #highschool #tpt #teacherspayteachers Students can also delve into Brazil and Mexico with similar images of the land, history, people, and business. By comparing these images with those in Chile, students can make comparisons and contrast information between the two countries.
Teaching an entire geographical region can be intimidating, not only for the teacher but also for her students. Thinking about a continent in the context of its numerous countries, cultures, geographical differences, languages, business practices, and people, can overwhelm even the most diligent and detail-oriented pupil. However, using visual teaching methods and practicing chunking techniques can help students to analyze, categorize, and develop a deeper understanding of the content knowledge, ensuring they are able to better retain the specific information of each region. #visualteaching #chunking #lessonplans #teaching #socialstudies #middleschool #highschool #tpt #teacherspayteachers

While certain stations in the Walking Tour will guide students to information for a certain country, i.e. introducing the people of Chile as pictured, other stations allow for even more comparing and contrasting with chunking techniques.

By following the discussion questions, completing charts, and analyzing the differences, students can use chunked information to draw conclusions about the region.
 Teaching an entire geographical region can be intimidating, not only for the teacher but also for her students. Thinking about a continent in the context of its numerous countries, cultures, geographical differences, languages, business practices, and people, can overwhelm even the most diligent and detail-oriented pupil. However, using visual teaching methods and practicing chunking techniques can help students to analyze, categorize, and develop a deeper understanding of the content knowledge, ensuring they are able to better retain the specific information of each region. #visualteaching #chunking #lessonplans #teaching #socialstudies #middleschool #highschool #tpt #teacherspayteachers

Activities that use visual teaching and chunking techniques help students to draw parallels and digest information more thoroughly, ensuring they'll better retain the knowledge for test time. It will also help them to understand concepts on a deeper level. Blanketing your Social Studies lesson plans with these techniques will help middle school and high school students breeze through your classes.


Teaching an entire geographical region can be intimidating, not only for the teacher but also for her students. Thinking about a continent in the context of its numerous countries, cultures, geographical differences, languages, business practices, and people, can overwhelm even the most diligent and detail-oriented pupil. However, using visual teaching methods and practicing chunking techniques can help students to analyze, categorize, and develop a deeper understanding of the content knowledge, ensuring they are able to better retain the specific information of each region. #visualteaching #chunking #lessonplans #teaching #socialstudies #middleschool #highschool #tpt #teacherspayteachers
Happy Teaching!



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Brittany Cloyd
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How to Introduce Basic Geography Skills in Your Social Studies Classroom

How to Introduce Basic Geography Skills in Your Social Studies Classroom


Basic geography skills are the primer for all Social Studies lesson plans, because without a general understanding of geography, your students would lack the comprehension to digest regional norms, continental differences, and other cultural concepts. Though geography is taught in elementary school, middle school, and high school, many students lack the basic understanding of common geographic topics. By introducing geography skills early in the year, you can circumvent much confusion and help your students to begin the year with a solid foundation in basic geography.

Basic geography skills are the primer for all Social Studies lesson plans, because without a general understanding of geography, your students would lack the comprehension to digest regional norms, continental differences, and other cultural concepts. Though geography is taught in elementary school, middle school, and high school, many students lack the basic understanding of common geographic topics. By introducing geography skills early in the year, you can circumvent much confusion and help your students to begin the year with a solid foundation in basic geography. #geography #mapping #mapskills #geographyskills #middleschool #highschool #socialstudies #lessonplans #teaching #teachers

Introducing Basic Geography skills in your Social Studies classroom doesn't have to be difficult or boring. In fact, by introducing basic mapping skills, using different types of maps to improve comprehension, teaching with charts and graphs, and then utilizing text to reinforce geographic skills, you're sure to help students develop a strong geography foundation that will prepare them not only for their year in geography, but for US history and World History classes as well.

Basic geography skills are the primer for all Social Studies lesson plans, because without a general understanding of geography, your students would lack the comprehension to digest regional norms, continental differences, and other cultural concepts. Though geography is taught in elementary school, middle school, and high school, many students lack the basic understanding of common geographic topics. By introducing geography skills early in the year, you can circumvent much confusion and help your students to begin the year with a solid foundation in basic geography. #geography #mapping #mapskills #geographyskills #middleschool #highschool #socialstudies #lessonplans #teaching #teachers


Basic geography skills are the primer for all Social Studies lesson plans, because without a general understanding of geography, your students would lack the comprehension to digest regional norms, continental differences, and other cultural concepts. Though geography is taught in elementary school, middle school, and high school, many students lack the basic understanding of common geographic topics. By introducing geography skills early in the year, you can circumvent much confusion and help your students to begin the year with a solid foundation in basic geography. #geography #mapping #mapskills #geographyskills #middleschool #highschool #socialstudies #lessonplans #teaching #teachers 1. Introduce Basic Mapping Skills

Begin with simple maps with familiar landmarks to help students understand map terminology, such as coordinates, latitude, longitude, legend, and scale. Discuss the compass rose and practice with directions to deepen understanding.

Basic geography skills are the primer for all Social Studies lesson plans, because without a general understanding of geography, your students would lack the comprehension to digest regional norms, continental differences, and other cultural concepts. Though geography is taught in elementary school, middle school, and high school, many students lack the basic understanding of common geographic topics. By introducing geography skills early in the year, you can circumvent much confusion and help your students to begin the year with a solid foundation in basic geography. #geography #mapping #mapskills #geographyskills #middleschool #highschool #socialstudies #lessonplans #teaching #teachers 2. Use Different Types of Maps

Once students have mastered basic "clutter-free" maps, add more components to test student comprehension and mastery. Use political maps, physical maps, topographic maps, climate maps, road maps, small-scale maps, large-scale maps, and a globe to ensure students can translate use of basic mapping skills to all forms.

Basic geography skills are the primer for all Social Studies lesson plans, because without a general understanding of geography, your students would lack the comprehension to digest regional norms, continental differences, and other cultural concepts. Though geography is taught in elementary school, middle school, and high school, many students lack the basic understanding of common geographic topics. By introducing geography skills early in the year, you can circumvent much confusion and help your students to begin the year with a solid foundation in basic geography. #geography #mapping #mapskills #geographyskills #middleschool #highschool #socialstudies #lessonplans #teaching #teachers 3. Teach with Charts & Graphs

Move beyond the mapping context with charts and graphs, showing information also available on maps, to ensure students can transfer mastery and comprehension from one form to the other. Use charts and graphs to deepen understanding by providing easily visible information that students can reference.

Basic geography skills are the primer for all Social Studies lesson plans, because without a general understanding of geography, your students would lack the comprehension to digest regional norms, continental differences, and other cultural concepts. Though geography is taught in elementary school, middle school, and high school, many students lack the basic understanding of common geographic topics. By introducing geography skills early in the year, you can circumvent much confusion and help your students to begin the year with a solid foundation in basic geography. #geography #mapping #mapskills #geographyskills #middleschool #highschool #socialstudies #lessonplans #teaching #teachers 

4. Utilize Text to Reinforce Geographic Skills

Finally, use text passages and historical documents to further student understanding by tying their geography/mapping skills to concrete information. Test student comprehension with text and mapping practice.


Ready-to-use products, like this Complete Geography Introduction Unit and Five Themes of Geography Centers Investigation Activity, make it easy to incorporate these strategies for introducing Basic Geography Skills in Your Social Studies Classroom!


Basic geography skills are the primer for all Social Studies lesson plans, because without a general understanding of geography, your students would lack the comprehension to digest regional norms, continental differences, and other cultural concepts. Though geography is taught in elementary school, middle school, and high school, many students lack the basic understanding of common geographic topics. By introducing geography skills early in the year, you can circumvent much confusion and help your students to begin the year with a solid foundation in basic geography. #geography #mapping #mapskills #geographyskills #middleschool #highschool #socialstudies #lessonplans #teaching #teachersThough there are multiple components of mapping and geography that can be intimidating to students, mapping can be a fun and educational practice. Mapping doesn't have to be tedious, boring, or confusing. Instead, by developing core geography skills, using different types of maps to further understanding, teaching with charts and graphs, and utilizing related text, students will cultivate a solid foundation in geography that will benefit them in all future Social Studies courses and throughout their adult lives.



Happy Teaching!



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Brittany Cloyd
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3 Strategies for Introducing World Religions

3 Strategies for Introducing World Religions


Especially with today's political climate, teaching religion in the classroom may seem controversial or dangerous. However, no matter how "hot" the topic, World Religions are an integral part of teaching World History to your middle school and high school students. Foregoing thorough instruction of World Religions would be detrimental to your students. Therefore, teaching World Religions is best done from a strategic approach. Employing compare and contrast techniques will help your students to grasp an intellectual understanding from the beginning.

Especially with today's political climate, teaching religion in the classroom may seem controversial or dangerous. However, no matter how "hot" the topic, World Religions are an integral part of teaching World History to your middle school and high school students. Foregoing thorough instruction of World Religions would be detrimental to your students. Therefore, teaching World Religions is best done from a strategic approach. Employing compare and contrast techniques will help your students to grasp an intellectual understanding from the beginning.

While some World History topics lend to a boring lecture with overloading information, introducing World Religions with interactive tactics like walking tours, response groups, and comparison centers, ensures that middle school and high school students are intrigued and immediately able to draw similarities and differences from their study. Doing so will make it easier to digest new information and retain that information for testing time. Using these interactive methods to introduce World Religions not only makes for easy-to-plan lessons but also easy-to-execute activities that will leave your students with a deep understanding of the content.

Especially with today's political climate, teaching religion in the classroom may seem controversial or dangerous. However, no matter how "hot" the topic, World Religions are an integral part of teaching World History to your middle school and high school students. Foregoing thorough instruction of World Religions would be detrimental to your students. Therefore, teaching World Religions is best done from a strategic approach. Employing compare and contrast techniques will help your students to grasp an intellectual understanding from the beginning.

Walking Tours

Walking Tours are a great way to get students up out of their seats and moving around the classroom, engaging them with the otherwise "boring" World History content. These tours allow them the opportunity to collect information about each religion by studying subtopics like location, population, basic teachings, practices, and more. By gathering this information for different religion groups, it allows students a better understanding of the basics of each religion, setting them up to easily compare and contrast between religions.

Especially with today's political climate, teaching religion in the classroom may seem controversial or dangerous. However, no matter how "hot" the topic, World Religions are an integral part of teaching World History to your middle school and high school students. Foregoing thorough instruction of World Religions would be detrimental to your students. Therefore, teaching World Religions is best done from a strategic approach. Employing compare and contrast techniques will help your students to grasp an intellectual understanding from the beginning.

Response Groups

Allowing students the opportunity to collectively research and respond as a group, response groups provide historical information that students can digest, discuss, and then share. Group activities such as this allow your students exposure to differing perspectives, the ability to take on leadership roles and find strengths within the group, and the opportunity to regurgitate the information aloud, ensuring recall.


Especially with today's political climate, teaching religion in the classroom may seem controversial or dangerous. However, no matter how "hot" the topic, World Religions are an integral part of teaching World History to your middle school and high school students. Foregoing thorough instruction of World Religions would be detrimental to your students. Therefore, teaching World Religions is best done from a strategic approach. Employing compare and contrast techniques will help your students to grasp an intellectual understanding from the beginning.

Comparison Centers

Lastly, bringing all information together in a comparing and contrasting activity will provide students the chance to search for similarities and differences among religions, draw conclusions about their origins and practices, and mentally form bonds to help them to retain the information they've studied. Using charts to compare subtopics of each religion, i.e. the Laws of each World Religion, students are able to easily draw conclusions and grasp understanding of significant information.

Though teaching World Religions can be intimidating, using well-prepared and organized activities such as these Walking Tours, Response Groups, and Comparison Groups are sure to make the lessons more engaging, fun, and easier to execute! Even easier, you can choose your format and use the printable PDF files for an engaging Interactive Classroom lesson, or you can use the digital Google Drive format for an interactive lesson with little prep. Check out other World Religions activities for further study and engagement. 


Especially with today's political climate, teaching religion in the classroom may seem controversial or dangerous. However, no matter how "hot" the topic, World Religions are an integral part of teaching World History to your middle school and high school students. Foregoing thorough instruction of World Religions would be detrimental to your students. Therefore, teaching World Religions is best done from a strategic approach. Employing compare and contrast techniques will help your students to grasp an intellectual understanding from the beginning.
Happy Teaching!

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Brittany Cloyd
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How to Set Up an Interactive Notebook

How to Set Up an Interactive Notebook


The first step to understanding how to set up an Interactive Notebook is understanding how an IN works within an Interactive Classroom. Interactive Notebooks aren't designed to be the end-all-be-all for lesson planning, note-taking, student engagement, and formative assessment. Instead, the Interactive Notebook is a tool to help students organize, relate, structure, and delve deeper into their course of study. Within an Interactive Classroom, Interactive Notebooks act as both catalyst and landing strip for all things learned.

The first step to understanding how to set up an Interactive Notebook is understanding how an IN works within an Interactive Classroom. Interactive Notebooks aren't designed to be the end-all-be-all for lesson planning, note-taking, student engagement, and formative assessment. Instead, the Interactive Notebook is a tool to help students organize, relate, structure, and delve deeper into their course of study. Within an Interactive Classroom, Interactive Notebooks act as both catalyst and landing strip for all things learned. #interactivenotebook #interactiveclassroom #middleschool #highschool #lessonplans #teaching #teacher #interactive #classengagement

Interactive Notebooks can be a very beneficial asset for all your students, especially those who prefer a less traditional approach to note-taking and assessments. By using an Interactive Notebook in your classes, you will provide your students a central location for depositing all information, project ideas, questions, responses, and reactions. By using the circular format detailed below, students can design and decorate a binder that will not only organize their knowledge, but help them to retain it beyond the initial assessment. 

The first step to understanding how to set up an Interactive Notebook is understanding how an IN works within an Interactive Classroom. Interactive Notebooks aren't designed to be the end-all-be-all for lesson planning, note-taking, student engagement, and formative assessment. Instead, the Interactive Notebook is a tool to help students organize, relate, structure, and delve deeper into their course of study. Within an Interactive Classroom, Interactive Notebooks act as both catalyst and landing strip for all things learned. #interactivenotebook #interactiveclassroom #middleschool #highschool #lessonplans #teaching #teacher #interactive #classengagement
Students should start with a binder. Though it isn't necessary, the white clear-view binders are best so your students can customize the cover, helping to distinguish between different courses. By labeling the class on the front, inserting dividers or other accessories to organize and divide, and decorating the binder to their liking, students can provide a space that is welcoming and comfortable, encouraging further learning.


The first step to understanding how to set up an Interactive Notebook is understanding how an IN works within an Interactive Classroom. Interactive Notebooks aren't designed to be the end-all-be-all for lesson planning, note-taking, student engagement, and formative assessment. Instead, the Interactive Notebook is a tool to help students organize, relate, structure, and delve deeper into their course of study. Within an Interactive Classroom, Interactive Notebooks act as both catalyst and landing strip for all things learned. #interactivenotebook #interactiveclassroom #middleschool #highschool #lessonplans #teaching #teacher #interactive #classengagement
The circular layout of the daily spread encourages students to move readily from the objective and bellringer, to the day's class notes or activity, to the homework assignment, and finally, the LSA: left side assignment. These four components require students to tie the parts of the lesson together, and allow for a more creative method of obtaining and gathering knowledge. By embracing different learning styles and including activities that cater to brains working in all different ways, students can flow freely from left side to right and back again, forming a strong hand-eye-brain connection with colors, shapes, illustrations, and more.


The first step to understanding how to set up an Interactive Notebook is understanding how an IN works within an Interactive Classroom. Interactive Notebooks aren't designed to be the end-all-be-all for lesson planning, note-taking, student engagement, and formative assessment. Instead, the Interactive Notebook is a tool to help students organize, relate, structure, and delve deeper into their course of study. Within an Interactive Classroom, Interactive Notebooks act as both catalyst and landing strip for all things learned. #interactivenotebook #interactiveclassroom #middleschool #highschool #lessonplans #teaching #teacher #interactive #classengagement
The top of the left page is the space for the day's objective and bellringer. Consider the bellringer a sort of tease, which wakes up the brain and induces critical thinking and learning. Students generally respond to the bellringer during the first few minutes of class, often without much prior knowledge, and will continue to build upon their bellringer answer as they obtain more knowledge.


The first step to understanding how to set up an Interactive Notebook is understanding how an IN works within an Interactive Classroom. Interactive Notebooks aren't designed to be the end-all-be-all for lesson planning, note-taking, student engagement, and formative assessment. Instead, the Interactive Notebook is a tool to help students organize, relate, structure, and delve deeper into their course of study. Within an Interactive Classroom, Interactive Notebooks act as both catalyst and landing strip for all things learned. #interactivenotebook #interactiveclassroom #middleschool #highschool #lessonplans #teaching #teacher #interactive #classengagement
The top of the right page is the 'meat and potatoes' of the day. This includes any notes taken during class, graphic organizers used, and can even expand beyond the page. If you do paper activities, such as guided note-taking exercises, projects or activities, these can be hole punched and inserted between the two daily pages, or can be taped directly on the upper right section. This critical section is what moves the Interactive Notebook from a note-taking tool to a component of the Interactive Classroom, and the contents of this section are critical for review and retention.

The first step to understanding how to set up an Interactive Notebook is understanding how an IN works within an Interactive Classroom. Interactive Notebooks aren't designed to be the end-all-be-all for lesson planning, note-taking, student engagement, and formative assessment. Instead, the Interactive Notebook is a tool to help students organize, relate, structure, and delve deeper into their course of study. Within an Interactive Classroom, Interactive Notebooks act as both catalyst and landing strip for all things learned. #interactivenotebook #interactiveclassroom #middleschool #highschool #lessonplans #teaching #teacher #interactive #classengagement
Below the notes section, homework is listed and explained if necessary. This way, students can easily view their assignment alongside the day's activities, providing an efficient reminder of what they learned and making it easy to apply their knowledge to their assignment.


The first step to understanding how to set up an Interactive Notebook is understanding how an IN works within an Interactive Classroom. Interactive Notebooks aren't designed to be the end-all-be-all for lesson planning, note-taking, student engagement, and formative assessment. Instead, the Interactive Notebook is a tool to help students organize, relate, structure, and delve deeper into their course of study. Within an Interactive Classroom, Interactive Notebooks act as both catalyst and landing strip for all things learned. #interactivenotebook #interactiveclassroom #middleschool #highschool #lessonplans #teaching #teacher #interactive #classengagement
Lastly, the left side assignment or left side application is at the bottom of the left page, just below the bellringer/objective section. This is a wrap-up assignment which allows students to process what they learned. Also considered the formative assessment, the LSA ties all components of the day together and allows students to comprehend on a deeper level.

Bonus! For the free resource pictured in this daily Interactive Notebook spread, check out Where Do Goods Come From? Geography Mapping & Bulletin Board Activity!


The first step to understanding how to set up an Interactive Notebook is understanding how an IN works within an Interactive Classroom. Interactive Notebooks aren't designed to be the end-all-be-all for lesson planning, note-taking, student engagement, and formative assessment. Instead, the Interactive Notebook is a tool to help students organize, relate, structure, and delve deeper into their course of study. Within an Interactive Classroom, Interactive Notebooks act as both catalyst and landing strip for all things learned. #interactivenotebook #interactiveclassroom #middleschool #highschool #lessonplans #teaching #teacher #interactive #classengagement

Together, these four components of the daily Interactive Notebook layout are designed to help students form connections between parts of the lesson, form a deeper understanding of the knowledge they obtain, and keep everything organized and accessible in a practical manner that makes review easy and unintimidating. When used in conjunction with other engaging lessons and activities, and when used in an effective Interactive Classroom, the Interactive Notebook is a great stepping stone for improved learning and retention in all classrooms. 




Happy Teaching!




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Brittany Cloyd
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