Social Studies Notebooking

I am still fairly new to notebooking, but we are getting a little better each year.  Two years old, we were told halfway through the year to start notebooking in at least one subject.  Hesitant, yes I was.  The next year (last year) we did it for Science and Social Studies.  This year our district supply list (I dislike those!) asked for 5 composition notebooks so we decided we should put them to good use.  We now have notebooks for Science, Social Studies, Writing, Math, and one for Family Message Journals.  

I can openly admit, as a teacher, I definitely need improvements in notebooking, but I thought I would share some pages from our Social Studies notebooks.  We call them content notebooks, but I've heard others call them Interactive Student Notebooks.

We start off with a Table of Contents (not pictured).  Our first study was a continent and ocean review.  It's not actually one of our standards, but we feel like students need this before we can cover everything else.  You know, so they realize South Carolina is NOT the continent they live on!  I teach them a little saying to remember the continents:  North America married South America (because it looks like they are touching/holding hands) and they went to Europe on vacation.  They had 4 children and they all started with the letter A: Asia, Africa, Australia, and Antartica.  
Here are some pictures of a few things we've studied:  Land Bridge Theory, Native Americans, and explorers.  

I think the biggest thing I need help with is creating foldables.  I did find this website that has lots of foldables for teacher's to use.  SOCIAL STUDIES FOLDABLES

One idea we got from our 3rd grade teachers is to color the spine of the notebook a different color for each subject.  This just makes it easier for students to identify their notebooks.

Green=Science (not pictured)
White=FMJ (not pictured)
Another thing with our notebooks is that students do not take them home unless they need to study for a test!  Do you use notebooking in your classroom?  If so, any helpful tricks/ideas?  


  1. I make sure to get green and red composition notebooks at Target. Red is for reading, and the green is for writing. (I've seen yellow, but never 25-the number I need for 50 cents)

    For the black and white speckled notebooks,I put large mailing labels on the notebooks for technology (passwords, etc) and spelling.

    I find composition notebooks work so much better than spiral notebooks. This year I even managed to cut (saw) the notebooks into two for reading response after read-to-self time.

    I do like the idea of coloring the spines, etc.


  2. I love the saying to remember the continents!! I'm going to have to teach that to my kiddos :) Unfortunately, I don't have time to teach social studies in my day, no time as in it's not even on my master schedule. Everything related to social studies has to be integrated in other subjects. I got a little upset/sad last year when I first asked my students what state we live in and almost all my students said Orlando :/

  3. Coloring the spine is such a GREAT idea! I may do that for all of my workbooks :)

    The continent saying is great, too. Thanks for sharing what you're doing!

    Luckeyfrog's Lilypad

  4. I love your interactive notebook "color coding" idea... brilliant! And thanks for the social studied "foldables" reference.

    I'm your newest follower and can't wait to see more of your great ideas.

    Hope you can hop on by my blog when you get a chance.

    Granny Goes to School

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  6. I love notebooks/portfolios/journals!! It looks like you have some great ideas here-thanks for sharing!

    Please stop by my blog and have a look at some of my notebook ideas : ) It is my favorite teaching tool ever!

    Tales From a Traveling Teacher


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