Interactive Notebooks: Skills

Before anything else, please allow me to apologize profusely. My plan for this series was to publish one post per week. However, I've only had intermittent internet for about two and a half months now. (Like 2 weeks worth of days out of two and a half months.) So, I'm going to try to do some catching up this week.

This particular section is super useful and a little tricky. What goes here? How do my students utilize this information? Why is it called skills?

This sections houses all of those awesome skills and strategies you have shared with your students: annotating, close reading, notice and note reading, research methods, and more. This is all literary for me because that's what I teach, but if you taught your students how to solve multistep equations, you can put it here. If you teach your students correct lab procedures, you guessed it, put it here.

Remember though to assess the content before you put it here. Is it a skill/strategy that they can use in multiple situations? Is it only applicable to one lesson? If it is truly a skill/strategy, it will be applied to multiple lessons. It's probably what I would consider a building block lesson. If it's content related it goes behind a different tab. For me, those are lessons like identifying, analyzing, and creating examples of figurative language. More on that later.

This year, this section was 28 pages long. I didn't use near that. However, I didn't utilize this section quite like I wish I would have. I've got big plans for it next year. Although I didn't use it and plan to, I'm still going to cut this section back a little. 20 pages is probably more than enough for this section.

This year, I housed my student Bloom's Taxonomy flip chart and question table here. This particular lesson is a great place to start when teaching students to write upper-level questions when they are preparing for a discussion. Instead of "who was the main character?", I get questions like, "what might have happened if the main character hadn't decided to fight for what was right?" It's definitely a question that gets them thinking a little more, and it's written by the students: win. win.  Another win? This is a FREE resource from Got to Teach! Click the pictures for a link.

I've also housed my notice and note signpost here in the past. Notice and note is a reading strategy that requires students to, you guessed it, notice and then note various aspects of the text while they are reading. I housed the signpost and our notes here because it was a strategy they applied to their reading. We kept all of our actual notice and notes, completed while reading, in a different section.
This resource is no longer available on tpt, but I've got a solution. A different version is available for FREE on Ladybug Teacher Files website. Check it out here!

Close reading strategies call this section their home as well. I love, love, love the text "Falling in Love with Close Reading." (If you're a literature teacher and haven't read this, go out and get it, you won't regret it.) Our initial example of how to complete a close read, plus our list of lenses is kept here. Obviously, our actual close reads are somewhere else. This is just a reference page. I don't have any images of our close reading notes in this section, so I'll show you what the book looks like and give you a non-affiliated link. "Falling in Love with Close Reading" 

I've also used "Introduction to Close Reading" by Making Meaning with Melissa on tpt. It is a great resource! It walks student through how to close read step by step. It also provides informational texts, literary texts, comics, pictures, and more to practice with. A color coded key, seen below, is included. This is in my teacher model notebook. Students will mark their own texts with annotations. 

Annotation is another strategy housed in this section. I provide my students with a simple little chart of annotations that they can use (or they can use their own). Then we tape in a poem, song, speech, short excerpt of text, and etc. and annotate it. This provides us a reference when we get ready to annotate other pieces. What are we looking for, what does it look like, how should I mark that so that my partner is on the same page?

There are so many things that can go here. This is a very limited list. The sky's the limit. If you teach your students 20 strategies, that's great, put them in this section!

If you have questions about the skills/strategies sections, please let me know, and I will answer them in the best way I know how.

Up next, one of my favorites: the content section!


  1. I'm loving this series! I've been leaving my students to craft their own notebook style, and it really isn't working for them. I'm committing to this method for next year - keep the series going - We're counting on you!

    1. Wow thank you for your kind words! I find that my students need a little more structure than I originally expected as well. I hope the pictures and details help you as much as possible. Please don't hesitate to email me if you have questions or need additional clarification.

  2. I am loving this idea. I struggle with students keeping up with their stuff and bringing it to class. I can see this being so useful. What grade do you use this for?

  3. Nevermind! I see that it is English 11. I really would like to implement this in my own classroom this year. If you don't think you will be able to finish the series explaining everything, please consider emailing me some useful information. This is such a wonderful idea.