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How Interactive Notebooks Can Transform Engage New York Math (aka Eureka Math)

How Interactive Notebooks Can Transform Engage New York Math (aka Eureka Math)

If you are reading this post I am guessing you are working with the Engage New York/Eureka Math curriculum. You may love it, or you may hate it, but I think we can all agree it is pretty dry.

I have studied grades 1 - 5 of the curriculum, and I can tell you that the way the grades build on each other is genius. The ideas of patterns, flexibility with numbers, and models are the foundation of every grade. This strong foundation allows students to have a better understanding of every math topic.

That being said, I do think the curriculum can move too fast at times, especially when introducing new concepts. I found this to be true especially in third grade. There wasn't enough repetition of complex concepts such as the distributive property of multiplication. We discuss the age appropriateness of this later.

One way that I built more repetition into my classroom was using interactive notebooks. I would study the concepts being taught within the Engage New York lessons and build interactive foldables to reinforce/practice these ideas.

My students enjoyed interactive notebook days way more than regular teaching days. To them, it felt like a break even though we were working with the same material.

Eventually, I made interactive notebooks aligned to Engage New York for grades 1 - 5. 

So, how do these interactive notebooks transform your classroom?

First, they get kids excited about interacting with the math curriculum. It doesn't feel like work when you are cutting, pasting, coloring, and matching. Allowing kids to have fun when learning is so important to getting information into long term storage in the brain. Long term storage happens in the amygdala which is also the emotional center of the brain, so having a positive/happy attitude is very important in storing information.

Second, they provide the repetition that is missing from the Engage New York curriculum. (I should say here that Engage does do a good job of using repetition with math facts.) Kids get more chances to interact with the material in novel ways instead of getting a mini-lesson and working on a worksheet every day.

Third, the notebooks give kids a chance to make the material their own. They get to choose how to decorate and organize each page. They are given the pieces, but are constructing the meaning independently.

Fourth, the notebooks are fun to put together. 

Fifth, the notebooks create a record of student learning. They can be sent home to help parents understand the "new math." Students can reference their notebooks to help prepare for tests or to tackle a difficult problem. 

Sixth, it builds student accountability. A messy notebook isn't going to be very helpful. Students learn to take responsibility for their work.

Seventh, the notebooks take up a lot of paper, but they use less paper than stacks of worksheets.

Eighth, you (and your students) get to use colorful pens, pencils, and crayons. That is always better than regular pencils.

Okay, I was reaching a little bit with that last one there. Hopefully, you can see how interactive notebooks can change your Engage New York classroom for the better.

I would also like to add that I am learning more about what is best in learning every day. I have recently read about input/output interactive notebooks. I am so excited about this idea and will be working on a new version of my notebooks using this model. They will be less time consuming than the current notebooks and will use the problem-solving approach that I am in love with as well. You can learn about the problem solving approach to math here.

To be the first to hear about the new input/output notebooks and get a chance at winning a free copy become a subscriber to my website. You will get email updates and discounts for purchases at my website.

You can also buy all of my interactive notebooks on Teachers pay Teachers. The links below are to the entire year bundles (to save you money), but you can also purchase them one module at a time.

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