An Interactive Notebook for the Digital Classroom

Recently, while teaching an online class covering Differentiated Instruction, several discussions turned to the topic of Interactive Notebooks.  As a learning/study tool, Interactive Notebooks have been handy in terms of allowing students to culminate resources, integrate visuals, and prepare for exams.  But as the digital classroom continues to evolve, finding ways to move Interactive Notebooks from page to screen have become necessary.

With the new update to Google Sites, this opportunity has never been greater.  Google Sites provides a platform allowing students to create an online notebook that can include interactive and video content.  

Here are a few ways that you can create an Interactive Notebook using Google Sites…

Setting Up Your Interactive Notebook

The best way to insure that students get the most of their online interactive notebook, make sure to provide some guidelines for setting up the Google Site.  You can walk them through the process or you may even want to look into developing a template they can use.  In any case, here are a few tips on getting started:

    A Page for Everything

    If you need to add more pages, just click on the Pages menu and add it.  Have students create a page for each unit  you cover.  Pages can include items such as:

    A Launch Page – 

    Students should include information about themselves, as well as the course, class period, and links to each page on the site.

    A Gallery of work – 

    Have students store photos of their unit work, or documents in a Google Drive folder.  Then, add the folder to a Google Sites page.  If displaying photos, set the folder to a Grid view for easier viewing.

    Links for Study

    When teaching a unit, you may share a lot of links that students can benefit from.  Encourage students to save those links by adding them to a page on their Site.

    Flash Cards and Study Tools

    Do you use flash cards as a study tool?  Try adding links to your Quizlet  or Flippity Study Sets. 

    Videos for Teaching and Learning

    Have students gather resources to help them study.  Teach them to search and share videos that may help them prepare and supplement learning on the unit you are covering.  YouTube has tons of great resources.  Search for channels by teachers that cover the subject you teach. Help students understand the difference between a good and a bad resource before they start culminating a library.

    Review Tool for the End of the Year

    Once you’ve gotten started, you can teach students to create a new page for each unit you cover.  Throughout the year, students will have a site they can use to build on and add knowledge to their understanding of concepts.  By the end of the year, they will have a tool they can use to review for final projects and exams.  

    Take a look at this sample site –

    Grading Interactive Notebooks

    If you would like to grade students on the work they put toward their Interactive Notebooks on Google Sites, you can create a Google Sheet in which you gather and keep information on each student.  This can be a launching page to take you to each student’s notebook and allow for easier grading.  Students will need to publish their site and make sure it is viewable by you.  Then they can share the link to their site with you.

    You can also create a Google Form  you can use to grade each student’s progress on notebooks. Each question in the form can cover information in your grading rubric.  Use Linear Scale questions to rank students on each objective in the grading rubric.  

    Create a Rubric using Forms

    Are you new to Google Sites?  

    Try this video to introduce you to the New Google Sites so that you and your students can learn more about how to use this versatile tool!


    1. Once I set up an Interactive Notebook Lesson in the Digital format (I plan to use Googel Slides and send the pages to my kids using Google Classroom), how can they add pages to an existing notebook? I understand how to create the pages from my end, but it always creates an entirely new file, which my kids now open and have a copy of. I don’t want to try and give them the entire year’s worth of material all at once–how can they simply add each new page I send them to a master document?


      • Sounds like you want to send pages in the form of a Google Slide that they can add to their Google site? Is that correct?


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