Notebooking? I need HELP!


We are starting to do interactive notebooks this year. And I am nervous!!!

I tried them last year and it was a serious DISASTER. Seriously. Used them for about 3 weeks until pages started falling out, students moving in and out and in and out, notebooks were unorganized, etc etc. I finally just gave up and would print/copy pages.

This year, I get ONE box of paper for the semester.  While I could buy more paper, I’d like to be conservative and just use the one box for my 100-150 students. So, I need to use notebooks and use them well. 

While I can’t offer up much advice, I have lots of questions and would really appreciate any help y’all can give me!


1. adhesive! What do you use to glue things into notebooks? Tape? Glue? White glue or stick glue? This was my biggest annoyance last year with pages falling out and it is what I think led me to just giving up!

2. Setting them up, I’m so excited to read everyone else’s blogs to get help with this! I know personally, I need to take it slow and just start with one thing at a time. First week will be table of contents, then maybe vocabulary, then add other things in as we go.

3. Grading? Do you grade them on their notebooks or not? I’m thinking quick rubric. Grade once every 2-3 weeks.

4. What kind of notebooks do you use? I am going to have to use plain spirals this year as we did not request a specific math notebook for our kids, so I am going to have to use notebooks from my stock pile. I want to try composition and graph paper this year with a couple kids and see what they prefer and what I like the best as well.

5. Frequency. Are yours used every day, most days, or just a few times per unit? I only have enough notebooks for one per student for the whole year and I cannot request students to buy other than what is already on their supply list.  I think I’m going to have them put all foldables and notes in the notebooks.  All classwork and homework will be on loose-leaf and in their binder.  Those pages will be pulled out, stapled, and put into their file folder each 6 week grading period.  Vocabulary will be on loose-leaf in a brad folder.


Anything else you can think of? Bad post on my part, but I just have no experience with notebooking and am still trying to plan out mine for this year.


Thanks 🙂 🙂

15 responses »

  1. Pingback: Math Class Notebooks – MS Sunday Funday | I Speak Math

  2. I love how you keep things “real”. I used notebooks last year (5 subject spiral for the kids) and I just bought a college composition book and “took my class notes” here. I usually ended up re-writing for the other two periods on notebook paper, but it sure was nice to have a source for my class notes that I could copy… or the kids could via pencil… for those who were absent. (I’d never had that before.)
    We used ours almost every day for either note taking, vocabulary, working -practice problems. At first I made the kids leave their spirals in my room, but duh!… they might need to refer back to the practice and notes for help with their homework. (The reason for keeping them in the room was so that the kids wouldn’t lose them.) I had to let go of that one…. and it almost meant prying my fingers off the controls! Some kids lost them but after they had to start writing sentences for not having their “math book” during class things improved.
    I also teach 6th math in Texas. I hope you have an incredible year and let’s keep in touch!
    Julie E
    Longview, TX

  3. you are definitely connected to the right place. You will get great tips and ideas from these blogs.

    You have the right attitude… one step at a time and you will add as you are more comfortable.

    My suggestion to you is to keep a notebook for yourself. I do one for each class period, but that could be overkill. It’s how I model EVERYTHING!
    You can do it!!!

    Hodges Herald

  4. Megan – I can relate to the questions! I am planning to use tape – or at least going to start out that way. I can’t imagine the mess that glue would make even though I’m working with 9th graders! I do envision using my notebook everyday. I love Elizabeth’s suggestion to make one for yourself to use as an example! Can’t wait to check in with each other later to see how it is going!

  5. Great questions! I used glue stick only last year and taught my 8th graders to make an H pattern with their glue stick on the backs of papers. This year I plan to offer tape as well if we have it available but I’m not going out of my way for this.

    I posted a video over on my blog that shows mine from last year. It’s not great but it’s what we did and the kids used them. I’ve started this years planning notebook and am already changing things here and there.

    I grade them with a rubric that I created and it’s glued in the spiral and taken for a test grade once a Six Weeks. You can find it at

    Last year one class used a comp book while the other used the graph paper notebook spiral. This year since I’m switching grades it was already requested for a regular spiral. I like the room of the regular spirals and hope that I can make it work for me.

    I do request 2 spirals for the full year and this is what we use for everything, everyday.

    • I like the H idea. I think I’m going to use white glue, but maybe have some kids experiment for me (different paper, different tape/glue). Love the rubric, but I don’t think I’m going to grade the whole notebook. I saw a great idea that I’m going to steal — grade only the Table of Contents. If the TOC is great, you’re good. If the TOC is messy, grade the whole notebook. Next year I’m definitely going to request at least 2 notebooks, if not 3!

  6. A teacher friend of mine did a an experiment one year and the liquid glue won. She convinced me to change and I have encouraged the use of liquid glue in my class. Papers stay in!!! yea! I just remind the students (often) they only need a few dots of glue on the different areas of the paper.

  7. Hi again, I just want to share what I do with notebooks. I require students to have two. One is a compostion book. In the front of the Comp book I have students glue in their DMR(daily math review). The back of the Comp. book I call their book of knowledge(bok). If we make a foldable it goes in the bok. In their other notebook (spiral) goes regular notes with the examples, homework and all their graded papers. Sometimes as a review for a unit I will make a note overview and the students will put that in the bok. Often students go through many spirals throughout the year and when a student had a question on a problem, but it was something that referred back a few units, they did not always still have the information in their notebook. But with the bok they always have it with them. When students are working on their DMR and they forget how to do something before they come for help they check their bok to see if they can remember how to do it. At the end of the year I and all the students are throwing out all their old notebooks I remind them to hold onto the bok as it will help them in the fall. This has really worked well for me, I no longer have students saying they don’t remember….can’t find that info. etc..

  8. Seems like I change my plan for notebooks every year! Last year I found a method I liked – kids kept a marble composition book and we glued foldables in (with glue sticks). I teach Algebra 1, so there are a lot of calculator steps that they needed some help remembering, so we flipped the composition book over and glued the calculator steps there. It worked really well! I am looking to incorporate more notes this year and not just limit it to foldables.

  9. I use composition notebooks. We use glue sticks (because my sixth graders make a mess using liquid glue!) We place notes from class, foldables and math charts that I pass out in the notebook. Sometimes things come “unglued” but we just glue them back in. We keep them in my room unless they need them to study on at home for a test. At the end of the year, I pass them on to the 7th grade teacher and they continue them in 7th grade. It works great for us and it eliminates the “We didn’t do that last year” excuse. I always start off with at least 10 extras that I keep up with. I use them as examples in each class, then when a new student joins us, I hand them an up-to-date math journal that they can continue.

    When we first learn “new concepts” I let them user their journals on tests. There doe come a point in time when they do not need them anymore, so I know hat it is working.

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