How To Manage Interactive Journals

Let's talk interactive journals! I am by no means an expert, BUT I can tell you three things I have learned about them this last year:

1. Interactive journals should be independent work for the student (minimal teacher help).
2. They should anchor the students' learning, meaning students should be able to look back and use them as a reference.
3. Students must feel a sense of responsibility for their work, if not they won't take it very seriously.

With that being said, how are teachers supposed to find time to "grade" interactive journals on top of our already growing mountain of papers that need to be graded?

Here's What Works for Me

I use interactive journals during my guided math and guided reading rotations. That means that journals are being completed and "turned in" in four different intervals. I have students leave their journal open to their most current page. Then, students stack their journals next to the finished work basket.

When I find time, I will "check" the journals. If the page is correct, students get a sticker. (This allows me to see which pages I have checked and which students never turned it in to be checked). Then, I will close the journal and return it to the student.

Like I said, I am by no means an expert. I just found a method of checking interactive journals that worked for me and felt like it was worth sharing!

How do you use interactive journals?


  1. I have a different colored sticker on each notebook. Each color represents a different day, so I only have to check five notebooks a day.

    1. Lisa,

      That is such a great idea! Where do you store your journals? In student desks or do you have a designated area in your room?


  2. GREAT idea for checking journals!! I love using the interactive notebooks, but really didnt know how to manage them until now! What a fantastic idea!
    Flipping into First

    1. Lauren,

      I'm so glad you found my tip helpful! Please let me know how it works for you during the year. I'm always looking for ways to make it better!!



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