I’ve been giving notebooks a lot of thought in the past week or two. As a principal I encouraged teachers to keep their notes, lesson plans, and ideas online. I tried to organize my online folders to keep information accessible to anyone who might need it. So for the last 12 years I have not taught students how to organize a notebook.
I want my students’ notebook to be a study guide and practice book … one-stop shopping so to speak! I envision the possibility of needing one simple spiral notebook per six weeks. That sounds like a lot but if we put all of our notes, class practice, and homework in it, we could potentially use most of a typical 100 page notebook. (If we use one per six weeks, we will store the completed notebooks in the classroom to serve as references for future units and testing).
My plan is to tape each six weeks’ set of standards in the front of the notebook along with a list of the key vocabulary. I am debating on the need for a Table of Contents. Instead, I envision our starting each class period on a fresh page – clearly labeled with the date, standards addressed, and textbook reference pages.
On the last two pages of the notebook, students will keep a record of their graded work.
I plan to use notebook foldables for taking class notes. The foldables will be useful study guides for unit tests, exams, and state tests. In addition to our class notes, students will complete practice problems in the notebook … showing detailed work to provide examples when they are working on their own.
Homework practice will be just that … practice. I don’t plan to grade daily homework. Instead, I plan to give notebook quizzes. A quiz might have 5 to 10 problems on it. Each quiz problem will be taken from homework assignments and even classroom examples. For students who followed instructions and completed their work, they can use their notebooks to copy the work. If students did not do the homework, they can still complete the quiz – they just don’t have the support they might need from their notebook.
Over the next two weeks, I’ll be consulting with other teachers if they use a structured approach to notebooking … and I’ll be scouring blogs as well … always looking for the “best” idea!
What have I missed?