American History Interactive Notebooks
If your social studies classes are like mine were, your students frequently say things like:
“This is so boring.”
“Why do I need to learn this?”
“I just can’t remember it.”
Honestly, I could sympathize with my students. Although social studies became my favorite subject in high school, I had felt the same way as my students in earlier grades.
As a teacher, I wanted to find a way to make social studies more engaging. In truth, students did have trouble remembering the content. In upper elementary, students switch from learning to read to reading to learn, and it wasn’t an easy transition for many kids.
I decided to try interactive notebooks. I had heard they could help students retain their learning, so I made some organizers and used them in my social studies lessons. Almost immediately, I saw (and heard) a change in my students. Instead of moaning and groaning, they began to proclaim how much they liked the class and ask when we would do social studies.
Research shows that writing notes by hand and interacting with information being learned increases comprehension and retention. My students’ scores supported those findings, and my love of interactive notebooks began.
Yes, it does take time to cut and paste the organizers into the notebooks. However, there are some best practices you can follow to reduce the set-up time.
Quite frankly, kids need more fine motor practice, as arts and crafts have been reduced in primary grades, and students struggle with basic skills, such as using scissors.
American History & U.S. Geography Interactive Notebook Bundle
Thousands of teachers have used my interactive notebooks in their classes with great success. Based on their feedback, I recently updated my American History & U.S. Geography Notebook Bundle for Upper Elementary. The notebooks now:
- Are editable
- Have fewer organizers on a page so teachers can easily select which ones they want to use.
- Have improved layouts for organizers that had been difficult to cut.
- Have improved answer key photos.
- Include a list correlating the activities with my informational texts (for teachers who use both.)
If you previously purchased the notebooks, you already have access to the updates – simply download them again here.
If you would like to learn more about using interactive notebooks in your classroom, read my other posts about them.