Are you looking for ways to use Interactive Notebooks for high school English? When I was first faced with this possibility, I was super excited!, but had no idea where to start. I wasn’t sure if these would be the right tool for my 9th graders. I decided to start off the year with my normal Short Stories Unit, and slowly found ways to transform those lessons to ISN spreads.
Over the course of the unit, I discovered that Interactive Notebooks gave me a great structure for planning lessons, a lot of scaffolding for my students, and very rigorous, focused practice of a new skill before they left me each day.
Check out this 2 minute video to see how I set up Interactive Notebooks for high school:
Interactive Notebooks in ELA
To make Interactive Notebooks for high school more rigorous than a bunch of cut-and-paste foldables on every page, I try to set up every lesson using the In-Through-Out model. For me, this means the following breakdown: “IN” is a bellringer; “THROUGH” is notes, in-class group work, and graphic organizers; and “OUT” is independent practice or homework. This has really helped focus the work I give students – I have to choose the most important part, because it’s got to fit on the bottom half of the left page. That means that Interactive Notebooks actually decrease busy work in my classroom – hooray!
I have also facilitated the notebooks in my classroom by taking pictures of my model interactive notebook for our class website. I use sticky notes to put the various task descriptions on the page, and I go ahead and paste in all blank organizers for students.
I also got to teach my favorite Disney song as part of an Irony lesson this year. “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” from Mulan is the perfect bellringer to get kids thinking and talking about dramatic and situational irony. Also, it’s got a really clear plot structure, so you can go ahead and review that with students, too.
I actually flipped my Irony lesson for the first time this year, and linked Christopher Warner’s irony videos on our class website. I gave students guided notes to complete on the right side of that page for homework, and then they came to class ready to discuss (and read “The Lottery”, of course!).
I also tried my hand at creating a foldable, popping my list of Lit Terms into an Interactive Notebook-ready list. Even my 9th graders loved these, and it helped them study for a Literary Devices Quiz. I went ahead and updated all of the ELA Vocabulary products in my TpT store to include this option. So, yeah — we do use some foldables in my class, but it isn’t every day on every page!
Lastly, I converted one of my favorite lessons into an Interactive Notebook spread. After reading “The Lottery”, we practice embedding direct quotes and paraphrases smoothly into paragraphs using the Introduce-Cite-Explain method. We do scaffolded practice, and then students work on their own to integrate two quotes. I even created Ready Rubrics to go in the margins of the notebook so that we can do peer and teacher feedback.
UPDATE: You can now find all of my Short Stories lessons in an Interactive Notebook format over at my TeachersPayTeachers store. This unit is ready-to-go with ideas, plans, resources, handouts, student samples, projects, quizzes, and rubrics. I also put together all of the materials I use throughout the year (short stories, novels, poems, and drama) in this Yearlong Bundle!
What are you up to in your Interactive Notebooks for high school? I’d love to hear from you!