Sunday, August 12, 2012

Math Notebooks

So this week's #MSSunFun post is about how we set up math notebooks with our students.  This is an exciting post just like the first day one because once again I'm going to get to "borrow" a bunch of other great ideas!

Anyhow without further ado, here is how I do my notebooks:

I use these large black binders for each students' notebook.

These binders are available because my school has done student led portfolio conferences for the past ten years and as we have moved toward more and more technology, including going 1 to 1 in both 6th and 7th grade, these binder have become obsolete for portfolios.  Therefore ,binders make great notebooks because they are free!

I have students set up their binders by following the order of our units of study.  We begin the year with whole number sense and follow that with fractions, decimals, geometry, measurement, data, probability, and algebra.  Each of these unit topics is a different divider in their binder.

Inside each divider I start the year off with a number of papers that I have already copied for the students.  The first paper is the KUD (what I want kids to know, understand, and be able to do) for that particular unit.     Here is one for whole number sense.  I also include a sheet to record notebook items (which I'll talk about later), a sheet to record exit cards, and a sheet to record how students did on their understanding of standards on quizzes.   I will admit that I need to do a better job of really showing the kids how to fill out these forms, reminding them early in the year to fill them out, and giving them more time to fill them out.

Once I have all these forms and papers in the binders, I store them here.

Students then grab them every day when they come into math class and go to their mailboxes and take out the papers that need to go into the binders such as this notebook item, returned quizzes and exit cards, and activities or homework.  I have students keep notebook items, quizzes, and exit cards for the whole year. (and in fact, I recommend to the kids that they keep the notebook items throughout middle school as they will only help as the kids do more advanced math.  I'm sure you can imagine how many kids listen to me about this though:)!   Activities and homework are cleaned out at the end of each unit.  Some of you might be wondering why I do notebook items instead of having kids take notes.  I have found over the years that middle school students don't have much of an idea on how to take notes.  By giving them basically a graphic organizer I help them get the idea of taking notes while making sure they get the information I want them to get.

So there you go, that is how I set up notebooks for my kids to use during their year of math with me.  I'm looking forward to seeing some other ideas and adapting them to fit my class!

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