Getting Started with Interactive Math Notebooks

I have been using interactive math notebooks in my classroom for as long as I can remember. Math notebooks are a great place for students to take notes, record definitions and sample problems, and practice new skills. They are perfect to use for direct instruction and guided practice, in small groups or as a whole class. But what I love most about them is that my students are able to use them as a reference tool throughout the school year. 

What to Include in Interactive Math Notebooks
You can customize your math notebooks to meet the needs of your students and to align to the concepts and skills that you teach. Here is a list of things you might include:

  • Definitions and explanations
  • Rules and algorithms
  • Formulas
  • Sample problems
  • Math models
  • Illustrations

My Math Notebook Pages
Over the years I have created templates to use with math notebooks for grades 2nd to 5th. These teaching pages can be used to introduce and teach new concepts and skills. They also provide students with definitions, explanations, rules, and algorithms that address the common core math standards. Sample and practice problems are also included to be used for guided practice. These pages then serve as a reference tool for students to refer back as they complete math assignments for classwork or homework throughout the year. 

How I Use Math Notebooks in My Classroom
When introducing or reviewing a new concept or skill, I first have students cut out the pages and other pieces and glue them into their notebooks. Then, with my guidance, students take notes and work out practice problems related to a given concept or skill. Students can then highlight or add color to their notebook pages.

Notebook Setup
I suggest devoting some time at the beginning of the year to have students set up their notebooks. This gets them excited about using their notebooks and encourages them to take ownership of their notebook, and see it is a valuable tool.

Provide students with a cover page for their notebooks. I have included one version in my FREE Starter Kit, and one is also included with all of my math notebook resources. However, you may also choose to allow students to color or create their own covers, to give it a more personal touch.

Number Pages & Table of Contents:
Before your students start working in their notebooks, have them number all of the pages. This will help them to locate past standards and skills as they need them throughout the year. It's the perfect beginning of the year homework assignment. Also, be sure to have students leave the first few pages of their notebooks to use for a table of contents. My starter kit and math notebooks include a template that can be glued into student notebooks. It includes a place for the standards, lesson titles, and page numbers.

Divider Tabs:
You may also want to have students use divider tabs to organize their notebooks. I have included divider tabs in my starter kit that are based on the CCSS math domains. These tabs can easily be glued onto the first page of each section. You can also have students use sticky notes if you want more options and flexibility.

Math Tools
You may also want to have students include a page of math tools in their notebooks. I have a included a selection of tools in my starter kit, along with a pocket for students to keep them all together in one place. This way students have them ready to go as needed when working on different concepts and skills. 

Download a FREE Math Notebook Starter Kit!!
Many of the items I mentioned throughout this post are available in my FREE Math Notebook Starter Kit. If you are interested, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter below to download your FREE copy!! The Starter Kit includes covers in color or black and white, a table of contents template, CCSS domain divider tabs, and a selections of math tools.

Learn More About Interactive Math Notebooks
If you are looking for READY-TO-USE pages for your math notebooks, click on the cover pics below to explore the different grade levels.



Once you get started with math notebooks, you will never go back. You and your students will love having a place for them to record their learning and practice new skills, while slowly creating a math reference tool that will be available to them throughout (and possibly beyond) the school year!!