IANs: Hook, Line, Sinker vs. In/Through/Out

I’ve noticed a lot of traffic on my site lately has been about Interactive Notebooks.  Since that’s the case, I’m tossing out a post about something I’m doing differently this year regarding my notebooks.  In the past, I have set up my notebooks for students to learn science “hook, line, and sinker.”  What did this mean in practice in the notebook?:

  • Hooks – The final section of students 5 subject notebook was set aside for Hooks.  These are introductory activities that either review previous material, or preview the day’s material. I had students divide their pages in half, giving them four blocks across a two page spread. Hooks were only assigned Mon-Thurs. with Friday being reserved for reviewing material, getting information from absences, etc.
  • Lines – These were right hand pages for class activities.  These could have been for class notes, hand-outs, lab procedures, etc.  Lines were the most structured of the activities we completed in class.
  • Sinkers – These were the student selected activities for processing their Lines.  These were done on left hand pages to give students a two page spread for their daily learning.

Pros: Dedicated section for introductory activities.  Highly organized.  Full pages for class information and student processing.

Cons: Left/Right orientation confusing for some students. Monday – Thursday doesn’t work well for shortened school weeks.  Difficult to connect initial conception with class activities and final understanding.  Important information occasionally “lost” in Hooks section.


  • All student work occurs on two-page spreads.
  • In – Top of left hand page, serves same purpose as Hook activities above
  • Through – Serves same purpose as Lines above
  • Out – Serves same purpose as Sinkers, completed on left hand page below the “In” activity

Pros: Allows students to easily compare their initial conception of a topic to their eventual understanding.

Cons: Limited space for responses on both “In” and “Out” activities.

This year, I’ll be giving the In, Through, Out set-up a run through. I love the idea of my students being able to see the changes in their thinking easily.  I think the limited space will be an adjustment, but can easily be overcome with some experience.  This also will help prevent me feeling the need to have a “Hook” question every Mon-Thurs, despite their being lab days where we aren’t initially in the notebook.  Anyone out there have other strategies than these two??


4 Responses

  1. I hear what you’re saying about occasionally “losing” important information in the hooks. I’ve looked at the in/through/out before and wonder if doing the warm-up at the top leaves enough room for the processesing activity? I’ll be interested to hear how it works for you!

    • That is my exact concern as well! I’ll give it a whirl this year and see which I like better. If things don’t work out, I can always use that last section again like before. Thanks for reading!

  2. I give students warmup/activity/processing structure, but we never call it a specific name. When they come in, kids do a warm up on the left side (some use one side per warm up and some put several warm ups on one page), then we do our activity and use a right side (lecture notes, group notes, reading notes, etc.), then the processing goes on a left side (either under the warm up or on a separate left side). I generally assign the type of processing activity, and it can be done in class or at home depending on its length.
    I guess the question is – why have such specificity with naming each part of the process?

    • The question wasn’t as much about the titles as it was geared toward which is a better use of the notebook: having a dedicated section for warmups or having them more closely connected to the daily content. I agree that either “naming convention” gets us to the same point. All the documentation I had seen had Hooks in a dedicated section, while Ins were included in with the content. I’ve started off the year with the In/Through/Out idea and definitely have struggled with remembering the name changes. I still feel like having the warm-up activity on the same pages as the in-class and follow-up activities will be a great benefit to my students this year.

      Thanks for reading and responding!

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