No matter what vocabulary guru you follow, there is always a common theme between their suggestions for word learning best practices. Keeping students’ word learning organized in interactive vocabulary notebooks is a simple way to put these suggestions into action right way!
First, explicitly teach each new vocabulary word with direct instruction. Next, offer students MANY opportunities to practice this word in relevant and meaningful ways. Last, incorporate organization into your vocabulary teaching. Organization assists memory and memory equals more words permanently added to a students repertoire.
These gurus always make it sound so easy. But, if you’ve ever tried to implement any type of vocabulary teaching routine in your classroom, you know firsthand this is HARD work!
In this blog post, I share an easy way to offer students multiple opportunities to practice each new vocabulary word. Plus, ways they can stay organized and make connections along the way. Plus, it’s completely paperless and a simple way to keep a whole class set of “notebooks” organized!
What is an Interactive Vocabulary Notebook?
An interactive notebook used for vocabulary is a student-centered, personalized notebook. It is used for exploring word meaning, making connections and writing about words.
It helps students stay organized and keep a record of all of the words they’ve learned this year. Plus, it holds them accountable because they really build these notebooks from the ground up!
Typically, you provide students with an outline or graphic organizer for note taking. They tape this into their notebook before completing the activity of the day.
These activities can be a mix of notes, graphic organizers, pictures, writing or even store things like word cards!
📝 You can learn more about simple, spiral-bound Interactive Vocabulary Notebooks in my blog post: How Word Learning Notebooks are Guaranteed to Improve Students’ Vocabulary.
Why use a Digital Interactive Vocabulary Notebook?
⭐️ The best advice that was ever given to me when it comes to vocabulary instruction is to keep it SIMPLE and find what works and do more of it.
In other words, find 3-5 vocabulary activities, graphic organizers or games that provide students with meaningful practice. Then, put these on autopilot for the rest of the year. I like to call this the “rinse and repeat” method!
I am a huge fan of spiral-bound vocabulary notebooks. However, a downfall is the prep it takes to set up ~25 notebooks each month. Plus, the amount of paper you have to print and then glue into each notebook is the opposite of environmentally friendly and efficient. Even with a good little team of helpers, it takes a lot of work to plan ahead and set up each notebook for future word learning.
💻 A digital interactive vocabulary notebook takes all of the printing and gluing out of the equation.
It provides students with a place to take notes digitally by offering them an outline on the screen.
Implementing a notebook like this in your classroom helps students stay organized and remember…organization assists memory!
Digital notebooks are typically created in a tool such as Google Slides or OneNote. Then, sent out via your school’s learning management system.
Plus, they can never run out of pages because they can add more at the click of a button!
👀 Keep reading for more ideas on what activities/slides to include!
Digital Vocabulary Notebook Ideas
Adding a digital component to your vocabulary teaching routine takes the guess work out of your planning! Once setup, sent to students and directions explained, these vocabulary notebooks can run on autopilot all year long.
Using a combination of the same activities each week provides opportunities for students to process each new definition, provide an example sentence, synonyms, antonyms and a picture representation!
Here are a few ways you can fit in some interactive notebook work time throughout the school day:
📚 Keeping track of words learned during independent reading
❤️ Literacy Centers as independent work or have students collaborate on a word learning activity
🔔 Bell Work first thing in the morning to kick off the day with a new vocab word
🔁 Station Rotation for a quick dose of word learning!
✏️ Extension of writing block when asking students to write long and strong about the words they’re learning
📓 Incorporate it into word study time by taking a quick break from spelling and focus on a new vocabulary word of the week!
3 Ways to Implement Digital Vocabulary Interactive Notebooks
1. Practice Words Learned in Class
Direct and explicit instruction is always the bet way to introduce a new word to the whole class. Once you’ve done this, research shows that students need MANY opportunities to practice this word in relevant and meaningful ways.
One way to offer these practice opportunities is by having students explore word meaning while completing a variety of tasks themed around the same one focus word.
➡️ Graphic organizers such as a Word Web/Map, 3 Truths & a Lie and List-Group-Label are just a few of the ways to support students to dig deeper and extend their knowledge about each word.
✏️ Incorporate writing into word learning time by asking students to write long and strong using the focus word, create a comic strip themed themed around the word or make a personal connection.
2. Keep Track of Challenging Words from Independent Reading
Use word learning notebooks all year long to help students keep a personal word wall and track all of the words they’ve learned.
An easy way to do this is to incorporate these notebooks into independent reading time! Teach students to pause while reading and record new challenging words they come across.
✏️ Digital notebooks like this can even be used as a student portfolio piece! Track word learning growth and writing progress from the beginning of the year until now.
3. Encourage Collaboration & Conversation
Although, personal notebooks and journaling activities are great for independent work, a HUGE part of making sure the words you’re teaching actually stick is to get kids TALKING about these words.
➡️ Use activities such as Think-Pair-Share, 3 Truths & a Lie or Shades of Meaning to encourage collaboration in your classroom.
Schedule a few minutes each day (maybe during Morning Meeting!) to spark conversations about new words learned. Challenge students to use words in context. Plus, have them explain how they can make connections to other words they already know.
Digital Vocabulary Notebook Template
Ready to implement? All you need is a digital template!
Whether you are building one in Google Slides or OneNote, a tip would be to build the entire template FIRST before sending it out to students. This way, once it’s built you can “rinse & repeat” the same slides all year long.
Create slides/pages for:
- Collecting new words learned
- Taking guided notes on graphic organizers
- Prompts that ask students to write long and strong
- Activities that encourage collaboration with peers
Vocabulary Notebook Example
Creating your own vocabulary notebook template is pretty easy, but even easy things take time!
⭐️ Since your teacher time is precious, I’ve created a Digital and Interactive Vocabulary Notebook template that you requires no prep an can be easily customized for your classroom!
It includes 13 digital graphic organizer templates that students can use to digging deeper into word meaning.
Just plug in your own vocabulary words into the Google Slides, make a copy and SEND!
➡️ Loving these interactive vocabulary notebooks? I’m here to help you skip the growing pains of revamping your vocabulary curriculum with simple, easy to implement activities you can teach in just 10 minutes a day!
❤️ Remember, the more opportunities students are given to practice each new word the more it is that these words will STICK! Use digital notebooks like this one to guide students to make connections and write long and strong using new focus vocabulary each week.
I invite you to share any other ideas themed around digital vocabulary notebooks in the comments below!
I look forward to continuing to share low investment, high return ways to spice up your vocabulary lessons. Until next time, make today meaningful, friends 💕 .
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