Classroom Hack: Microsoft OneNote and OneNote ClassNotebook

First, let me begin by urging readers to get access to the free Office 365 tools just for being an educator. You will not regret it! 

Click here to register for your free account! 

OneNote: Teacher Uses 

One of the amazing tools that you will have access to is OneNote. “What is it” you wonder? As stated on the Microsoft website, it’s a tools to Organize, Engage, Individualize, Collaborate, and so much more. 

Visualize a book shelf full of teacher binders behind your teacher desk- not hard to imagine being an educator. Each binder has a label for important information; Student Data Collection, Training Notes, Meeting Notes, Lesson Plans, Resources, etc (and those are just a few). Personally I love the organization, but with limited space, I despise the clutter, and having to lug them to and fro! 

*Check with your district about the DataSharing  Agreement they have with Microsoft before uploading any personal information about your students!*

OneNote is a virtual bookshelf with virtual binders, including unlimited tabbed sections, and limitless pages which you name and organize the way that work for you. You can also include media on the pages such as a hyperlink, uploaded links to a document or Power Point, or upload an image of the document- the document appears on the page for immediate viewing. I almost forgot one of the parts that excites me the most, ALL Office 365 tools are completely mobile friendly!! During a staff meeting I am typing away on my phone. No, I am not enthralled in a heated textversation, I am taking notes under the “Faculty Meeting” tab of my 2016-2017 Meeting Binder! 

Are you on a Committee? I have created a Technology Committee Notebook which can easily be shared with the committee members so everyone can collaborate using the same OneNote notebook to view agendas, timelines, and meeting notes! 

If this is what you see when viewing on a mobile device, read Mobile Hack below. 


Mobile Hack: In order to access OneNote and any OneNote notebooks you’ve created, go into your App Store, download the Microsoft OneDrive, then download the Microsoft OneNote. From there log into your OneDrive app for access to your Cloud Storage (may take a few minutes initially). It may ask you to repeatedly sign in when moving from OneDrive to selecting and opening your saved files- a great security feature! FYI, if you’re logged into Office 365, the progress you make is automatically saved! 

You should now see a colorful, user friendly view such as this. 

Ok, can I throw one more of the features that I get super excited about at you? 

OneNote’s Class Notebook (also mobile friendly)! Create a notebook which will be shared with students. The students can view the Content Library which is a tab for all of the lesson instructions, materials and/or assessment tools are displayed by page. Each student is given access to the notebook where they can complete the tasks of the lesson in their personal notebook. Here’s the best part, the teacher has access to each individual student’s notebook– no more carrying bags of journals home to grade! From any mobile device, log into your Office 365 account, open the ClassNotebook in your OneDrive, click on the student’s name, and begin grading. Any notations you make on the students notebook will be accesible to the students! There is also a Collaboration Space tab which allows students to work together on separate devices, seeing each others work in real time. In the Collaboration Space, the teacher can also add real time notations for students- immediate feedback! 

Click here to download the ClassNotebook add-in.

OneNote: Student Uses

Teaching 5th grade, the students are very excited to learn about, and use this tool! We are a BYOD school, but not all students have mobile devices. That’s ok! Allowing students to buddy up to complete in-class assignments encourages the child to log in at home and “fill it in”, or work on the remaining activities on their own. 

Currently we are using OneNote’s ClassNotebook for completing our Microsoft CCGA (see previous post for more information) curriculum to code. Since we only have one hour a week in class, students are encouraged to complete the rest of the lesson at home- this works with most of the activities. As the teacher I check their progress online; immediate accountability! 

Last year when I taught all subjects, my student’s Reading Response journals were online. Too often I heard, I didn’t make my reading goal because “I lost my notebook responses”, or “doing the responses are not interesting to me”. When I introduced the ease and accountability of their ClassNotebook Reading Response journals, my student engagement and participation sky rocketed! With the Content Library housing my rubrics, timelines, etc students and parents were well informed about my expectations of meeting their reading goal! 

Next year, my dream goal, is to have a virtually paperless classroom. With budgets being cut to schools, copying and paper supplies are limited. By creating Subject Area Notebooks in OneNote’s ClassNotebook, I can upload worksheets, videos, assessment check points, hyperlinked online activities, and so much more, for my students to access. If a student is absent, no problem, just take a peek into the lesson on the day you were out! No more paper homework to turn in, or forget! 🙂 If a family doesn’t have internet access at home, no worries, a few paper copies can be made for those students, it’s going to be the same intructional materials that are featured in the ClassNotebook. 

Here is an example of a STEM FAIR journal in OneNote ClassNotebook. 

Summary: OneNote and ClassNotebook

OneNote is an amazing tool for students and/or teachers to collaborate, have paperless organization, and cater to their individual needs. In addition, it’s fun and user friendly! 

Here is a list of the uses referenced in this  article. 

  • Teachers: Student Data Collection, Training Notes, Meeting Notes, Lesson Plans, Resources, Committee Notes
  • Teacher/Students: CCGA Curriculum notebook, STEM FAIR notebook, Subject Area notebooks, Reading Response notebook 

Do you have ideas about how to use OneNote and OneNote ClassNotebook? Be sure to leave a comment! 

Learn more about the Microsoft Educator Community by visiting https://education.microsoft.com

Follow me on Twitter @Techy5teacher for more Microsoft highlights!

Follow OneNote on Twitter @OneNoteEDU, @OneNoteC, @msOneNote to see how others are utilizing OneNote, or to share your excitement about OneNote and OneNote ClassNotebook! 

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