Interactive Notes

Ideas for Interactive Student Notebooks

(from History Alive - thanks, Mr. Geary)


1. Advertisements – design advertisements to represent migration, settlement, or the significance of a specific site.


2. Annotated Classroom Maps – create annotated classroom maps after Experiential Exercises to show how classroom experiences relate to historical situations.


3. Annotated Illustrations – make annotated illustrations to recount a story of travel or migration, to represent a moment in time, or to label architectural features.


4. Annotated Slides – use simple sketches of powerful images, accompanied by annotations, to help students understand difficult content.


5. Book or Compact Disk Covers – design book or compact disk covers to highlight and illustrate important concepts.


6. Caricatures – draw caricatures to present the main characteristics of a group in history or how an individual or group was perceived by another group.


7. Eulogies – write eulogies to extol the virtues of prominent historical figures or civilizations.


8. Facial Expressions – draw facial expressions to summarize the feelings of groups who have

different perspectives on a single event.


9. Flow Charts – create flow charts to show causal relationships or to show steps in a sequence.


10. Forms of Poetry – write various forms of poetry to describe a person, place, event, or feeling of a moment.


11. Historical Journals – assume the role of a historical figure to keep a journal that recounts the figure’s feelings and experiences in language of the era.


12. Illustrated Dictionary Entries – explain key terms by created illustrated dictionary entries. Write a definition, provide a synonym and an antonym, and draw an illustration to represent each term.


13. Illustrated Outlines – use simple drawings and symbols to graphically highlight or organize class notes.


14. Illustrated Proverbs – create illustrated proverbs to explain complex concepts.


15. Illustrated Timelines – create illustrated timelines to sequence a series of events in chronological order.


16. Invitations – design invitations that highlight the main goals and key facts of important historical events.


17. Making Connections Outside the Classroom – after completing an activity, find examples outside of class of the topic or concept studied.


18. Metaphorical Representations – create metaphorical representations to explain difficult or abstract historical concepts.


19. Mind Notes – draw and label outlines of the heads of important historical figures. Fill in the

outline with quotations and paraphrased thoughts from the figure.


20. Mosaics – synthesize information from a broad content area by creating mosaics. Use visuals and words to represent similarities, differences, and important concepts.


21. Perspective Pieces – design drawings or write newspaper articles to represent different

perspectives on controversial figures, events, and concepts.


22. Pictowords – create pictowords (symbolic representations of words or phrases that show their meaning) to help define difficult concepts.


23. Political Cartoons and Comic Strips – create political cartoons and comic strips to provide social or political commentary on important historical events.


24. Postcards – after studying specific content, write postcards to summarize information about places or events.


25. Posters – draw posters to emphasize key points about political ideas, a political figure’s point of view, or reasons behind important historical events.


26. Provocative Statements – have students react to provocative statements to introduce historical themes or to critically assess a historical period.


27. Report Card – used graded evaluations to assess the policies of leaders or governments.


28. Sensory Figures – create sensory figures (simple drawings of prominent historical figures with descriptions of what they might be seeing, hearing, saying, feeling, or doing) to show the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of historical figures.


29. Spectrums – place information on spectrums to show multiple perspectives on a topic or to express an opinion about an issue.


30. Spoke Diagrams – create spoke diagrams as a visual alternative to outlining.


31. T-Charts – create T-charts to compare classroom experiences with historical details, to look at advantages and disadvantages of a topic, or to compare and contrast two different items.


32. Venn Diagrams – create Venn diagrams to compare and contrast people, concepts, places, or groups.


33. “What If?” Statements – use “what if?” statements to apply newfound knowledge to hypothetical historical situations.