Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Conquering the Paper/Notebook Monster


Hello Again,

It's Kristy from 2 Peas and a Dog, writing to you from balmy Ontario, Canada. The weather is not normally this nice during the fall season. Well I have survived a month of school and am excited to share a new to me strategy for taming the paper monster in my classroom.

I have serious interactive notebook envy. I am slowly trying to update my teaching style to incorporate more purposeful and interactive use of notebooks.

I cannot believe it has taken me seven years to finally discover how to effectively and neatly store worksheets and photocopied papers in notebooks. The best part of this new discovery is that it came from an eighth grade student in my homeroom class. I had previously asked students to fold the paper in half and glue half of it a whole page in their notebook. Eek! I always felt guilty because the glue made their notebooks messy and it used up a whole page.

This year I suggested students keep a binder for math and use loose lined paper instead of a notebook. The majority of my class has switched to this system and are enjoying feeling more like high school students.

I have a few students who love their notebooks and won't make the switch. This past unit I handed out a few practice sheets or lessons on photocopied paper. These notebook students had the papers in a few different states:

  • in their lockers
  • shoved into their notebook in no order
  • hole punched and put into a binder with no connection to the lesson or unit
  • stapled neatly into the notebook
The last student had stapled the sheet into their notebook only at the top of the page with two staples at either corner. This meant that the paper could easily be lifted up and the work could be completed underneath - loosing no paper space.


The student completed their work in their notebook and when they were finished they stapled the paper into their notebooks only at the top. This meant that the student did not have to keep flipping the paper back and forth during practice time AND their notebook stayed neat. I am so excited for this idea. When I checked everyone's binders and notebooks before our first unit test, I used this notebook and staple strategy as model for the rest of the class. 


What tips do you have for making students keep neat notebooks? How do you tame the paper monster? Please leave your ideas in the comments below. I can't wait to read them.




12 comments:

  1. I'm totally new to the idea of Interactive Notebooks. I'm sort of piloting them this year in reader's workshop, and they're not even the creative foldable sort. However I always use tape. I feel like it's neater than glue, and when we flip it up like in the picture it lays flatter. With staples you sort of have to curl the paper up or fold it to make it lay flat when there's a staple there. I know lots of people use glue so I'm interested to hear the pros and cons of different adhesives. Someday I'd like to start doing INB in math on a regular basis.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've used double-sided tape on some things. I would think after a few pages, the staples would start getting bulky. Not only that, but there is the "scratch factor" when handling pages. I do like the idea of putting the paper as a kind of overlay so you don't lose that prime space!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love your ideas! Thanks for commenting :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I also wonder about how thick the staples would get.
    Do you trim the worksheet and make it smaller so that it doesn't hang out the edges of the notebook?

    (I had my students staple their two test pages together ... Most don't line the pages up at all, and staple so far into the page that you can't read a large chunk of the text. Looks like we'd need a lot more direct instruction before trying this technique.

    Sarah

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your thoughts! Great ideas. I will have to think about this.

      Delete
    2. Have you tried using the copier's reduce size feature? Instead of trimming, I reduce my copy size to 85%. My original is full sized and too large to fit nicely in the notebook, but the reduced copies fit well!

      Delete
  5. I've been in so many classrooms where the notebooks are just a huge mess with lots of tape and glue. Stapling at the top could be a lot neater! I just wouldn't want it to take a whole 6-7 minutes for staplers to make their way around the classroom. I want to use interactive notebooks, but I'm still looking for the "best" of them. Thanks for your ideas!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree that glue and tape and even staples can cause a mess! I need to rethink things now! Ugh - but great feedback.

      Delete
  6. I use page protectors I put them on my materials list each year, buy them in boxes of 200 from SAM'S for those who don't have them. They snap into a 3 ring binder, don't tear, keep sets together, a REAL help!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This sounds like a great idea, while a little pricey. The good thing is that this kind of notebook would last year after year. Students can keep things that help them into the upper grades. It sounds like a more permanent and "personalizable" tool.

      Delete
  7. I use glue sticks. It seems to work fine. My students love it when I tell them it's notebook day!! They call it Art class! They don't even mind the homework as much!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank you assistant about it and custom essay writing also helpful for students. Study necessary for each and everyone.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for your comment! We appreciate your input!

-All Things Upper Elementary

Blogging tips