Interactive Notebook Supplies & Organization in Algebra 1

If you’re wanting to do interactive notebooks, you’re going to want to make sure you have several supplies ready and organized. 

I don’t like to assume my students will have supplies, so try to have a class set of all of the essentials. It makes my life so much easier to just provide supplies every day than to hope students can find them and dig them out, if they even are able to buy them (which can be a big ask). It really streamlines the entire process to provide supplies for students as they walk into the classroom each day (read more about that in my post about INB routines, here). The only thing I ask students to buy is a composition notebook.

When they are cheap over the summer, I buy a bunch of composition notebooks for $0.50 and keep them in a cabinet in my classroom. I offer to students to just buy them at cost for $0.50 for convenience, and I’m happy to give them for free to students who need them. This system seems to work really well and after a couple of days everyone has a notebook. I don’t even buy graph paper composition books, just the standard college-ruled lined notebooks. If we need to graph, it’ll be included in one of the notes we glue in later on! Read more about picking a notebook here

Supplies you need:

  • Glue Sticks – I like the ones that start purple and then dry clear. I do not recommend using the liquid glue, but I know some teachers love it. I find it too messy and it takes forever to dry. Generally, more trouble than it’s worth. Plus, students are tempted to do the thing where they get glue on their hand and pick it off and that never happens with glue sticks. I have students just draw a perimeter around their paper and then an X through the middle and that’s it. I buy the 60-packs over the summer (I use my department supplies budget for this). This is really the only supply you will need to replenish each year. 
  • Scissors – class set
  • Rulers – class set
  • Highlighters (class sets of at least 2 different contrasting colors, preferably 3-4)
  • Colored pencils – sometimes students like to further color code or decorate their notes. You don’t need a ton. I’d just get a few 12 packs.

Organization:

My favorite way to organize my class sets of supplies is in these Sterilite shoe box drawers. I have one for glue sticks, scissors, and rulers.

Unfortunately, I am moving right now and the entirety of my classroom supplies are packed up in boxes right now or else I would’ve included a picture of how I organize a cabinet in my classroom full of supplies for students to access. I will definitely update this post once I’m able to take photos!

I keep my highlighters separated by color in containers like this: 

I have two of these containers, where I store, yellow, pink, green, and blue highlighters.

Easy Access = Easy Cleanup

I highly recommend storing supplies in these types of plastic storage drawers because they stack and store away so well, but it’s really easy to remove the drawers of just the supplies that you need.

I have a dedicated cabinet that I have labeled “student supplies” where I keep these plastic storage drawers. Students have access to it at all times and it’s very easy for them to see where to put things back. I’ve found that when I used things with lids, it wouldn’t be easy for students to access if the supplies were stacked, so they never got returned. With the drawers, I can have three types of supplies stacked and it doesn’t matter because it is still super easy to just pull the drawer out an inch and drop a glue stick back in. I’ve found that the easier it is for students to access the supplies, the more likely it is that they will actually keep it clean!

This post is part of the INB 101 – The Basics series.

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