There are lots of reasons I decided to start using interactive notebooks with my 7th and 8th grade math classes this year. For one thing I like pretty, colorful, creative things. It's like a scrapbook-- for math! Their first assignment of the school year was designing a cover. I made a reference sheet for the back cover of their notebooks as well. I tried to think of concepts the students would need to reference that aren't already usually printed on the inside back cover of most marble composition books.
Over the summer I collected as many cheap, fun stickers and letter stickers as I could from Target's dollar spot, the dollar store, Big Lots, on sale at Michael's, ,etc. I tried to get a wide variety so that all the students could find something they like. They used lots of different scrapbook paper and colored paper for the backgrounds, but I liked using the Matstock cardstock for the background the best because it didn't have to be trimmed much when a couple sheets are put together on the cover of the marble composition books. Some of them are peel-and-stick too so they didn't even have to be glued! I used paper tape I bought on sale at Target to fill in the gap. When the covers were finished we used clear packing tape to "laminate" them. That has worked great because the covers are still intact and look nice more that half way through the year.
When I decided to implement interactive notebooks this year one of my goals was for the students to learn to use them as a reference to help themselves when they are stuck. I had a student move last week who told me she was taking her notebook with her to use when she goes to her new school! Made me soooo happy! Other students have told me how much they like making and using the notebooks. I feel like they are taking pride in their work and many of them have started using them the way I had hoped. I could not be more pleased.
I LOVE teaching middle school math! All the potential for learning and growth is inspiring. I have a master's degree in math education, and I've taught 6th - 8th grade math for more than a decade. I've also been a 5th grade teacher and an upper elementary math specialist working with small groups of students who struggled with math. I'm excited to write about what we're doing in class and hear your ideas too!
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