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Showing posts from November, 2008

Why Start Notebooking?

There are many reasons to start notebooking . - It becomes a permanent record of student work - It acts as a portfolio - Creates an active learning environment (where students have to interact with the information) as opposed to a passive learning environment (where students simply receive the information) - Organizes material and thinking - Allows students to express their creativity - Creates multiple opportunites for students to process information - Personalizes the learning experience - Teaches organization and structure - Creates opportunities for students to improve reading and writing skills across the curriculum - Encourages students to express their understanding of concepts being taught - It is easy to glance at a student notebook and know what they are missing - Encourages children to take pride in their work - Parent conferences are much smoother when you can show them all their child's work in one location. If you have a child who is not keeping up with their not

The Notebook Type

Why use composition books over spiral notebooks or three ring binders? It is actually a personal preference, I will list the pros and cons of each below. This happens in my scrapbooking world too where one scrapbooker favors one book or another (I am partial to the three ring binder albums where my friends are partial to the post bound books). I use the composition books because that is what they used in my first school and the reasons were sound based on my experiences with the other books (in one conference I went to a teacher called them the "moo cow" books because of their traditional black and white marble look). I wouldn't mind trying the spiral notebook one year but for right now I am sticking with what I know works for me. Here are the pros and cons of each: Three Ring Binder Pros - Easy to purchase - Comes in a variety of sizes and colors - Do not have to shrink items to fit - A simple purchase of a whole puncher will allow anything to fit. - Can pu

My Story

I had never heard of science notebooking until I started working at Lady's Island Middle School (6 th grade science). I was hired and the teacher I was replacing was moving up to another grade level. She gave me a copy of one of her student notebooks and related papers and said that they notebook in science. This was my first year teaching middle school science and I thought better to stick with something you had copies of then reinvent the wheel. Unfortunately the sample notebook I received was bland (very black and white with little student work or color), again I was just starting and went with what I had. By sheer luck I was placed on a team with a Humanities teacher who has been notebooking for years, who was able to walk me through the notebooking process and share several of her notebooks from years past. Her notebooks had lots of color and more student work and interaction then my sample and I was able to see what students were capable of. I didn't truly tap into


I have been frequently asked about my science notebooks and thought the best way to communicate would be to start a blog addressing notebooking questions, post pictures of student work, and highlight the successes (higher test scores) and pitfalls (grading!) of notebooking. I have done notebooking in both the middle school (6th grade science) and elementary school (4th grade science). I have spoken to science coordinators within school and showcased some of my student work at conventions. Schools I have left requested copies of the notebooks and material I used in them. The reaction is generally mixed, from those who are dying to try to those who like their current system. I love science notebooking but understand not everyone is going to be as enthusasic as I am. If something else is working for you (three ring binders) you might take some of these ideas and incorporate them in to your binder system making them more interactive. I hope to generate a useful discussion about noteboo