Last year I transitioned from regular notebooks to spiral bound graph paper notebooks. I LOVE graph paper notebooks for two main reasons. First and foremost, I never have to pass out graph paper. We make many tables, charts, and graphs in my class so having their notebook BE graph paper is just divine. Additionally, I teach 6th grade and many of them still have giant handwriting and/or their work is all over the place. With the graph paper notebooks, I can strongly encourage them to put one number in each square. This helps in almost every mathematical procedure that they do. Numbers are small, neat, and all lined up. Beautiful.

I also do a modified version of the INB (Interactive Notebook). I didn’t do very well with the Left Hand Page OR the Table of Contents last year, but thanks to Megan I am motivated and planning to be much better this year!

Most teachers like to use the composition books for the Interactive Notebook. They DO have these graph paper composition notebooks! But, I would have to buy them all myself and have the students reimburse me. My parents have a hard enough time finding the graph spiral bound notebooks and I don’t want to stress them out further. Whatever you do, don’t let them use the notebooks with the glued in pages (not the composition books). The pages of the notebooks with the glued in pages start falling out, in mass, after about 2 weeks of use. This is a nightmare.

Notebook Tips:

  • You will probably need one notebook per semester.
  • It usually takes us about 30 minutes to set up the notebook initially.
  • Have extra blank notebooks on hand it you want to set them up any day in week 1. Someone is not going to have theirs yet. You just give them one of your new, blank ones, email the parent a reminder, and then collect theirs as an extra when they bring it in. You can use this one next semester.
  • Use Foldables or half sheets for their notes whenever possible so you don’t have to trim every worksheet you give them. That gets very old, very fast.
  • Modeling is the key when doing a math class notebook with younger students. I have 6th and 7th grade, so I made a Powerpoint that shows how to set up the notebook step by step.

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