I taught biology before I became a OneNote pro – my example Notebook can help you get started

A scenic view of Sulphur Springs High School in Texas.

About a year ago, I was getting ready to take on my first job outside of the classroom. I had just moved from being a high school biology teacher to the role of Digital Learning Specialist at Sulphur Springs High School. On top of that, I was also moving into a Microsoft district. I had very little experience with Office 365, other than Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.

As I started doing research on OneNote (part of Office 365), I noticed a need for example Notebooks. In this post, I’m sharing the OneNote Class Notebook I’ve made and showing examples from professional development sessions that I do with my teachers. It also contains useful template ideas, student choice board/menu pages, example lesson plans, and pages using the embedding features in OneNote.

I hope the following section highlights will help you and the technology leaders at your school in their pursuit of technology integration.


Pages for professional development


For those of you in positions similar to me, my OneNote Notebook has a tab just for you. In the “Pages for PD” section, you’ll find items to help get your professional development underway, complete with a High School Staff notebook that I use to distribute content. I also rely on pages in that notebook when I lead many of my sessions. It helps my teachers get comfortable with using OneNote and all the information is easily distributed. In the “Pages for PD” tab, you’ll find How-To’s, tips on Marzano Strategies, OneNote ideas, and more.

One of my favorites is the page covering the use of Audio and Video in the classroom. I think the ability to insert audio and video directly into a OneNote page can be transformational. You could use these features to have students do a quick summary of a concept, read passages aloud, or model problems.



The next section contains template designs for you to use in your own Notebooks. Some are just for fun, while others are meant to be more practical. Simply copy and paste the page into your own Notebooks. After that, click Insert, then Page Templates, and Save current page as a template. Then you’ll have them available to use, whenever you want.

A few of my favorite templates come from the game templates. Drop those in the collaboration space and attach questions to the gameplay to make an interactive review.

Our other most used templates include Venn diagrams, timelines, KWL charts, and to-do lists. You’ll also find examples of decorative pages to help liven up an otherwise standard Notebook.


Student Choice Boards


Student choice is one of the greatest things about OneNote. It lets you give students options for how they choose to learn. One way to do this is using Student Choice Boards or menus.

OneNote’s amazing ability to embed content allows your choice boards to be dynamic: Embed Forms, Video, Office Mix, Sways, Geogebra, and Thinglink to help give your students choice. Add blank templates from Word or PPT that students can work in directly, and save to their choice board. You will find examples of student choice boards for learning vocabulary, delivering content, and making assignment choices.



The embedding section looks specifically at the content that can be embedded into OneNote. I love the idea of using embedded videos and forms together to create more interactive content. Other apps like Geogebra allow students to practice math directly in the OneNote page. Embed forms alongside apps to check for understanding while students watch videos, complete Geogebra Applets, or browse through a Thinglink.

Lesson Examples


In this last section, you will find lessons created in OneNote. These lessons use a combination of the examples you have seen above. Many of the lessons use student choice menus and embedding features. Browse through the lessons and see if it sparks any ideas for your classroom.

I hope that your journey with OneNote is as incredible as mine. I think the flexibility and opportunities it allows will get your students engaged with the content. Please feel free to use any of the pages you see in this Notebook and let me know if you have questions or suggestions (@Mer_Townsend).

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