Take your interactive notebooks to the next level by going digital. This post will show you how it works.

Interactive Notebooks: Google Style

In GAFE, Interactive Notebooks, Lesson Ideas by Jen12 Comments

Student interactive notebooks have been around for a long time. For years, I demonstrated how to use interactive notebooks in the classroom during reading and language workshop. Most of the time, I found the content of the  notebooks to be uninspired and disconnected ideas from students who were going through the motions. For the last couple of years, I have seen a new twist on interactive notebooks in which students create and take notes in a more three-dimensional way. Students can cut, color, glue and highlight throughout their notebooks to help them connect to the material being taught. This type of interaction encourages students to be more creative, independent thinkers.

But what if I told you to chunk your old composition notebooks, glue, tabs, sticky notes, and pencils? I don’t know about you, but school supplies in the classroom can sometimes be a nightmare! Students eat their pencils, chew on their erasers, the glue dries up, and notebooks get full and fall apart. With a digital interactive notebook, you no longer have to worry about this problem. Just grab a device and go!

Take your interactive notebooks to the next level by going digital. This post will show you how it works.

This year I have been working with teachers who have either class sets of iPads or class sets of laptops. It has been challenging to recreate what students can do with the iPads on the laptops. I find when it comes to creation the iPad is the easiest tool for students to use. For example, I have written about how I use interactive notebooks with iPads with the app Book Creator. You can find all my posts on Interactive Notebooks here. In Book Creator, students can add audio, video, images, and text to create an interactive notebook in any subject. The finished product can then export as a pdf, video, or iBook. It is AWESOME! But when teachers with Chromebooks or laptops ask if I have units similar for their devices, I have had to say no. So I have been trying to think of ways in which teachers can create interactive notebooks with a laptop, and this post will explain what I have come up with so far.

Take your interactive notebooks to the next level by going digital. This post will show you how it works.

Interactive Notebooks

The first step is to go GOOGLE! You can have students use one of the following tools:

  • PowerPoint
  • Keynote
  • Google Slides/Presentations in Google Drive

The districts I work with are Google districts. I personally would use Google Slides to create my interactive notebooks as long as your students have Google accounts. If you are in a Google domain district and do not have Google accounts set up for students, I would encourage you to talk with your technology department about setting up student emails.

Once your students have Google accounts, use Google Classroom to assign students’ work and have students turn in their creations. Google Classroom will allow you to share a template to students for their interactive notebooks or give them assignments to create on their own from scratch. If you would like to learn more about how this works watch this very short and (very fast) video I created below:

Once you get a copy of a template into a presentation, students can add the content. A student can use the text box to add text, add a URL of a YouTube video to a slide, and insert an image or drawing to the interactive notebook. Students can also link to other resources within the presentation of artifacts they make outside of their Google Drive. The possibilities are endless! If you are interested in learning more about how this works you can find the complete webinar and much more by clicking on the picture below:

Take your interactive notebooks to the next level by going digital. This post will show you how it works.



  1. Oh my gosh! Jen, thank you for such an informative post! I have been teaching 4th grade ELA for 8 years and have used the interactive notebooks for the last few years or so. This fall I am moving to a 9th grade tech campus/academy to teach ELA. I am already scouring the blogosphere looking for more tech related ways to teach & connect with my students. I still need to learn to use google docs and google classroom. I’ve found some good instructional videos on youtube. Your post goes a long way in helping me bring my lessons to life! Thank you for sharing!

    1. Author

      You are so welcome! Glad you like my post. Did you sign-up for the webinar? It might give you some more ideas you can use.

  2. We are going one to one next year with chromebooks, so I am super interested in learning more about this! I teach first grade.

    1. Author

      I hope you signed up for the webinar. I’ve been working with first grade teachers on how they can use laptops with their students more effectively. It isn’t quite the same as using iPads with the little ones though but there is still a lot you can do with them.

  3. I just saw this! Do you have the information you shared on Tuesday posted anywhere, or will you be doing another webinar? I teach Eng 7 and 8. Thank you!

  4. Hey Jen! This look so awesome! I am an elementary instructional technology coach at a Google school and this would be great for me to show some of my teachers! I am super bummed I missed the webinar!! Will you be archiving the webinar anywhere? Thanks again for sharing!

  5. Thank you!! I’ve been looking for this exact information as I just entered a job with a class that has chromebooks and have been trying to figure this out.

  6. Wow! This is great to know! I have been implementing interactive notebooks in my classes this year, and am really enjoying the concept. I do, however, see how using a technology based platform would be much more beneficial. My school has just recently gone 1:1 so this will be a great time to make some changes! Hopefully I will be able to get a jump start on this soon! Thank you for all of this great information!

    1. Author

      Going digital with your interactive notebooks are very beneficial to you and your students. You will be lad you made the switch.

    1. Author

      Katie, I like Book Creator better because of the video feature. It is a little more interactive in my opinion. Google Slides app on the iPad does not have the functionality I want.

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