This past year was the first time that I used an interactive notebook, previously I had used binders or a lab notebook. It may not have been a “true” interactive notebook, but this method worked really well for me and my students. The left side introduced concepts, and the right side included some type of practice, reflection, conclusion, or reading assignment. I plan on using it again this fall, tweaking it as I go along and updating as needed.
When it came to grading the notebook, I used a V+ (95), V (85), or V- (75) system. The students had hw most nights, which on average could be completed in 10 minutes or less, unless it was analysis questions for a lab (which they completed most of in class). Students would come in and get their hw stamped. The grade reflected that it was on time and competed to the best of their ability, meaning all questions were answered or attempted. We then went over the hw as a class and they were responsible for making corrections.
At first, they were nervous b/c they were used to their lower school teachers correcting their work and felt funny making corrections, almost like they were cheating! =) I explained that hw is for practice and review only, and that its ok to make corrections and learn from your mistakes. I was not grading how many wrong they got. After a while, they got the hang of it and took ownership of their work. They used their hw and corrections to study for semi-weekly assessments.
For lab write ups, I looked for completion and understanding, but made corrections if needed. The students kept their notebooks in a binder and it helped reduce the wear and tear on the notebooks. The students would bring their notebooks home and to class, and if I needed to grade them, would leave them in the classroom and pick them up after lunch or at the end of the day.