Years 1-6.5 of my teaching, whenever students asked me if they needed a notebook or a binder, my response was always, “whatever works for you, as long as you stay organized I don’t care how you do it.” Then in the middle of last year, I finally realized that the “whatever works for you” motto does not work for middle school kids. Duh. Took me long enough. Some of the other teachers on my team do notebook systems, so I decided that we were going to stop what we were doing and start doing notebooks immediately. This went much better than I expected. Now I am very excited to take what I did with notebook last year, which basically amounted to gluing in our notes, nothing super “interactive” about it, to the next level. What I did like about the change last year was I went from having students copying down notes and doing practice problems, which often took up a few pages, to condensing the most important information into one single sheet. We did do a lot of folding to create the lines I needed to create the single reference page. I also love that I switched to a multi color sytem. Typically this was two colors, one for the problem, and one for the work. Middle schoolers will do anything if you let them do it in color. Soon my teammates were telling me that the kids were asking them if they could use colors in their notebooks too, love it!
This year, I want to make my notebooks more interactive where the kids will have to move or manipulate something on the page. I did do a few things with post its last year, and I defininately want to do those again as well.
The other thing that I plan to do this year is to have reference pages printed on red paper to glue into the front of each unit. Students will be able to use these pages on their assessments. These reference pages will not have a ton of information on them, rather they will be a tool for students to use. I will have things on the pages like a number line so students can use their own instead of looking at the large one of the wall.
The information I found this summer from all of the amazing blogs I have been reading is going to change everything about what I have been doing in the most amazing way. Thanks to everyone out there for being so willing to share these great things!
*I planned on adding some pictures to spice up this post, but technology is mad at me tonight. Hopefully it will forgive me by my #made4math post. I did some fun things today!