Love-Hate for Interactive Notebooks

Where to start? I think notebooking is an issue that I over-contemplate and change every year. I was only introduced to interactive notebooking two years ago. I did notebooks for a full school year and then only the first semester of the following year. It's not that I don't like notebooking, my biggest dilemma is the supplies and time needed to do it well. I know that I can cut back on time required byt prepping materials in advance i.e. cutting items down to size, shrinking docs, etc. The materials is what I've had to think about the most.

This past school year, I tried supply boxes on each group of desks. Of course, this picture is from before any students stepped foot in my classroom, and this did not last. Students did not take care of supplies and the boxes were trashed and a mess in no time.


Recently, while visiting my new school, I saw an awesome idea and I wish I'd taken a picture so that I could share it with you. The picture to the right is fromMissCalcul8's blog, which is one of my recent favorites. She decided to hang supply bags from each student desk.

So, imagine a zipper pouch...
upside down
zipped tied to the desk
and the zipper pouch holds the needed supplies.

Hope your imagination and my description brought the same picture to mind that I have in my mind. If not, I'm sorry for my poor description. Anyway, I think I may try something along these lines for supplies. The only thing is that I'll be floating, so it's not my classroom to make this call, and I may just keep supply bags that students pick up at the beginning of each class period.

In addition to the supplies, I've also debated over using spirals again or transitioning to composition notebooks. I initially chose spirals because of more space on a single page and trying to limit my notes to one page.
I have seen some awesome notebooking via Pinterest. So many show how composition notebooks work and how to accommodate more room. I imagine composition notebooks are more durable. It didn't take long for some of my students' notebooks to have no cover when we used spirals. (Click on any of the pics or captions for larger images or sources.)
So, on to the actual notebooking...ideally, the left side is for output (student info being processed) and the right side page is for input (teacher-given notes, direct instruction, etc.). This is another area where I have struggled...the left side page. Recently, I've seen some different ideas from Megan Hayes-Golding. She offers some good ideas like highlighting meaningful selected classwork or homework problems, graphic organizers, mid maps, foldables, daily warm-up, and using using Bloom's Question Starters to create questions they circle back and answer later. Head over to her blog for more information. (I'm sure you'll fall in love with her blog as quickly as I did.)

Also, Sarah of Math=Love is working bulletin board of left hand page ideas. You can see her progress here!

A new idea I've seen is how some teachers do vocabulary in their interactive notebooks and I definitely plan to adopt this or something similar.

Sarah of Math=Love offers a free download of her 6 to a page frayer model!

Now that I've discussed my struggles, let me just tell you that I love the concept. I love everything being in one location. I love having a place to keep foldables where they will stay put and are available to use for reference. I love when students keep an accurate table of contents and I see them referring to it to answer a problem. I love how students will take pride of the notebook when it's personalized and has so much needed information. I love how easy it is to give a notebook check by just asking question referring to specific pages. I love interactive notebooks. I hope to work out the logistics so that they're not as much of a pain for me this year.
Are you looking for more posts from middle school math teachers
about notebooking? If so, check out #msSunFun...

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