Mrs. Bergovoy's 7th Grade Social Studies

Interactive Student Notebook (ISN)

What are Interactive Notebooks?

The Interactive Student Notebook is more than just a place where you write occasional notes, stuff handouts, and refer to before a test.  The Interactive Student Notebook will be used daily in class to help you learn and remember important Social Studies concepts.  The purpose of this interactive notebook is to enable you to be a creative, independent thinker and writer. Interactive notebooks will be used for class notes as well as for other activities where you will be asked to express your own ideas and process the information presented by this class.

Why do they work?

This notebook style uses both the right and left brain hemispheres to help you sort, categorize, remember, and creatively interact with the new knowledge you're gaining.  The more you process information the more you begin to understand it.  This leads to longer retention.

How do I set up my notebook?

1. The Cover:  Your ISN needs to have a cover containing your first and last name, teacher’s name, and class period, and will be designed with symbols or pictures related to the course and/or things that interest you.

2. Table of Contents:  used for listing each item in your notebook with page numbers.  This will help you and I find specific items quickly.  It is very important that you keep this current and complete as it also sometimes serves as your grade sheet.

3. Title Page and Tab for each unit:  includes the title of the unit, the units enduring understanding, and relevant pictures or symbols.

4. Page Numbers:  Each page must be numbered (left side=even / right side=odd). 

Questions to help guide you while studying your notes:

What’s my purpose for this reading this?
What’s the BIG picture here?
What questions does this information raise for me?
What information is important here?
How can I paraphrase and summarize this information?
How can I organize this information?
How can I picture this information?
What’s my “hook” for remembering this information?
How does this information fit in with what I already know?
What more do I need to know?

How will it be organized?

The Left Side

The left spiral page demonstrates your understanding of the information from the right side page.  You work with the input, and INTERACT with the information in creative, unique and individual ways.  The left side incorporates and reflects how you learn social studies as well as what you learn in social studies.  It stresses that writing down notes doesn’t mean you have learned the material.  You must actively do something with it.

What goes on the Left side?

  • Thinking maps
  • Foldables 
  • Caricatures & Cartoons 
  • Posters, Brochures
  • Poetry and songs
  • Analysis & Reflection writing
  • Warm ups & Closures

Things to Remember for Left Sides:

 Ø  Every Left side page gets used.

Ø  Left side pages have even numbered pages.

Ø  Use color… It helps the brain learn and organize information.

Ø  Homework goes on left sides (but they don't take the place of processing your notes!)

Ø  Write summaries at the bottom of each left page of notes to reduce the amount you have to study before tests.

The Right Side

Input is all the information that you are supposed to learn.  It is testable material. The right side of the spiral will be used for notes.  Effective notetaking is an important skill that many college students have not mastered.  This can be a serious disadvantage, as effective notetaking is just as important as learning how to write a term paper or take an exam.


What goes on the Right side?

  • Notes
  • Class handouts
  • Class discussion
  • Vocabulary words
  • Video and film notes
  • Text or other sources
  • Guest speakers

Things to remember for Right Sides:

Ø  Always start the page with the learning Objective Question.

Ø  Right sides have odd numbered pages.

Ø  The right page is for writing down information you are given in class.

Ø  Use notes for lecture, discussion, text, etc.  Write up your study questions as soon as possible.

Ø  Write legibly.  Use highlighting or colored pencil to make important information stand out.

What happens if I'm absent?

If you are absent, it is your responsibility to get your notes and make up all of your work.  Please feel free to see me if you have any questions regarding your notes and/or assignments.

What happens if I lose my notebook?

Your notebook accounts for a substantial portion of your grade, and is a very valuable tool - please take care NOT to lose it!  If you lose the notebook, let me know as soon as possible. Check all your classes, the lost and found, and in the office.  Bring loose-leaf paper or a spare notebook to class to use in the meantime. Although losing notebooks is rare, most lost notebooks are eventually found, though in some cases not immediately.  Your grade could suffer considerably without the work from a lost notebook, so be sure to see me right away!  

How will my notebook be graded?

We will be reviewing an ISN grading rubric together in class.  Notebooks will be collected for formal grading regularly, and they will be checked informally on a daily basis so that I may provide you with necessary feedback.  Before you submit your notebook for grading please be sure that: 
  • The notebook is neat using color effectively and completed with care.
  • All work is completed according to instructions given.
  • Notes show that they have been reviewed for understanding (highlighted, underlined, starred, etc.)
  • Notes have questions, connections or drawings that demonstrate understanding and higher-level thinking.
  • Summaries demonstrate an understanding of the most important ideas in the students own words.
  • The left-hand page assignments demonstrate an understanding of the AZ Standard addressed in the student’s own words and visuals.
Please be sure that…
  • All class notes and work are of high quality, even for days you were absent. 
  • All pages are numbered.                               
  • All activities are titled correctly
  • Table of contents is complete with proper page numbers.
  • Color is added to highlight important information or to add visual appeal.

For Parents:

Students will be expected to share their notebooks with you from time to time.  A grade will be issued for a signed parent page approximately once per quarter.  Sharing should consist of the child and parent/guardian sitting down, reviewing the ISN, and discussing their work for a short amount of time. This interactive notebook represents your child’s effort in class, is evidence of their learning, and should contain the work he/she has completed in Social Studies.  The parent page is intended as an opportunity to open communication lines between home and school, which research indicates is a valuable part of optimizing student success.