Interactive Student Notebooks - Spirals? Binders? Pocket folders? Composition books?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by ancientcivteach, May 3, 2008.

  1. ancientcivteach

    ancientcivteach Habitué

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    May 3, 2008

    Which do you use? What are the pros and cons of it?

    I've used the composition notebooks for years - durable, plenty of pages, etc.

    I'm considering switching to a three prong pocket folder (not adding things to it like a binder, just using it as if it were a bound notebook) because they have pockets and we could easily personalize the covers. It would have the benefits of a larger paper spiral without the mess.

    Anybody do this? Pros? Cons? Somebody talk me into it or talk me down!
     
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  3. jsfowler

    jsfowler Companion

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    Yes, I would be interested in this as well. I am really undecided about what I want to use for the notebooks next year. I want something durable. I want something that is large enough to easily add handouts and make foldables. I really would like something that would last the whole year instead of just a semester. AND I also have to be aware of cost - low socioeconomic area; however, the parents know the importance and don't mind spending the money...I just hate to ask them to.
     
  4. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    I have my student use three-subject notebooks. I like them because they are bigger and it is easier to attach handouts. They also don't get as bulky. I know some teachers who have used composition notebooks, but they have to start each semester with a new notebook because the nb get full. They would stay together better though. The spiral notebooks tend to fall apart more easily if the kids are rough with them, but I have had plent of students who treat the nb carefully and they last all year and look great. I think the three-prong folders would get beat up very easily because the covers are so soft. How would you try to prevent this? Comp. nb have the hard cardboard covers, and some spiral nb have the plasic covers (which I reccomend.) For me, decorating the covers is not something we do. I have them decorate the opening page; if it falls out, oh well.
     
  5. Ms. Geography

    Ms. Geography Comrade

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    One inch 3-ring binders

    Wal Mart sells the 1-inch 3-ring binders for 97 cents; dividers are available for less than 90 cents; and notebook paper is cheap at the back to school sales.

    I use the 3-ring binder with my students, give each student a page protector to put on the inside - it's where they put their creative page telling me all about themselves, I have them put their name, class period, my name, and then draw/write seven things about themselves on the paper, adding 7 colors to their work. I do seven since we are 7th graders.

    One packet of page protectors will provide enough for all of my classes and leave enough 'back ups' if something happens to the original. The notebook is divided via dividers in the following manner - current events; Dogs (daily warm up); handouts & maps; notes; and vocabulary. I do it in alphabetical order both for me and for them. The TOC goes behind their page and before the current events. Each section of the notebook is numbered independently of the others and the TOC is also in sections, with handouts & maps and notes having the most room in the TOC. I purchase hole reinforcers for the students to use and many also purchase their own. Usually, I don't have to buy more than 2 sets of reinforcers per year.

    I give my students the chose of getting a new notebook each 9 weeks or cleaning out their current notebook to use again. I tell them what they can remove and recycle and what needs to stay. I also show, model, and have them practice opening and closing the notebook to ensure that it lasts. Those little prongs will give out if not opened and closed properly. We use markers to put their names and social studies on the front of the binders and on the spines of the binder. I encourage them to place their notebooks upright in their lockers to help them last longer.

    Additionally, I purchase a few notebooks to keep in class if one becomes too damaged or if a student wants a new one for the new 9 weeks. I sell them to the student for what they cost me and if I have several that need/want a new notebook I make a stop at the local Wal Mart and purchase them for my students (with their money). We reuse the dividers throughout the year. If a student does not have dividers I make them dividers out of construction paper, most would rather have regular dividers! I have hole punch all papers before handing them out and tell the students where they go in the notebook.

    Invest in a good hole punch it saves you time and frustration; sharpen the little punches with foil by punching a sheet of foil a few times and you will get lots of years out of your whole punch. I bought mine at Office Depot and it has lasted for many, many years. I also do keep a master book it makes it easier for both me and my students to check correct order; allows me to make pencil notes to myself if I don't get as far with one class as another, and if a student is absent they have my notebook to check to see what they missed. I date everything that I put into my notebook and I use a yellow highlighter to mark my papers - yellow won't show up if you need to make an extra copy. For those things like daily warm ups I use a pink highlighter to mark them - those should not be out of my notebook and I can see easily if one is using mine and has removed it from the notebook. I had an issue with students taking mine out to take home to catch up on what they weren't doing in class...now I look daily to see that they are indeed writing the Dog by walking around as they do it.

    I put copies of my lesson plans in the front of my notebook. I do this to keep me on task and to make notes to myself if we don't get where I thought we might or if the schedule changes and therefore my plans change. I also is a help to those students who were absent.

    Sorry this is so long, but I don't/didn't know how to explain it without giving the details.
     
    maestraraven96 likes this.
  6. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    May 4, 2008

    No, don't apologize at all for the length, MsGeography, those are some GREAT ideas!
     
  7. ancientcivteach

    ancientcivteach Habitué

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    Great ideas - thanks for sharing!

    runs with scissors asks:
    I think the three-prong folders would get beat up very easily because the covers are so soft. How would you try to prevent this?

    I was thinking of laminating them after they were personalized . . . I think I read a post about someone who did this.

    ms. geography writes:
    their creative page telling me all about themselves, I have them put their name, class period, my name, and then draw/write seven things about themselves on the paper, adding 7 colors to their work. I do seven since we are 7th graders.


    fabulous idea!!!! consider it stolen. ;)

    Keep the ideas coming! :up:
     
  8. wig

    wig Devotee

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    May 4, 2008

    I like that idea. However, unless you hold on to them for them, they fall apart very easily. Our students used to use them for religion and in no time at all the front or back cover was off and those that did not tear off were usually quite worn. I would suggest the plastic or vinyl 3 prong, only that would defeat the ease of making the covers.
     
  9. Historyteaching

    Historyteaching Cohort

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    May 4, 2008

    Ms Geography-
    Thank you SO Much..I was wanting to use the binders and you have helped convince me to do it, plus given me ideas of how to organize it. Thank you!!
     
  10. ancientcivteach

    ancientcivteach Habitué

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    What about precut lengths of clear contact paper after they've been decorated? I'm just noodling.
     
  11. wig

    wig Devotee

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    That could work. I laminate the covers for my spirals and we glue them on. They have held up very well.

    What if you tried it with just one of your classes to see how it works.
     
  12. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    I really like the idea of the 3-ring binder. I'll have to give this some serious thought over the summer.
     
  13. wig

    wig Devotee

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    Mine use binders for music class. The problem I see are pages coming out - mostly due to the students dropping them, jamming them in lockers, etc. thereby bending the rings so the papers do not stay in properly. Therefore I have been hesitant to use them for ISNs. For those of you that use them, do you ever run into that problem?
     
  14. Ms. Geography

    Ms. Geography Comrade

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    Thank you for the comments...here's a bit more

    Sometimes the prongs do get messed up; either from use or misuse and that's why I keep 3 - 5 extra on hand to switch out - I do make the students purchase them from me to discourage them from treating their notebooks badly. The outside covers will tear and wear on the edges and I offer masking tape to do a quick fix or, again, allow them to purchase one from me if they desire. If or when the prongs get messed up I tell my students that they have to have a new notebook because it has to be something that they can use and I can check without concern for loose papers. Sometimes papers are lost - it's up to the student to redo the work - after having to redo work they tend to take better care of the notebook.

    I tried the spirals and found that it was taking too much time away from teaching. I've tried various sizes of the 3 ring notebooks and have found that for me and my students the 1 inch works best. My master notebook is 1 1/2 inch binder...but I've used a 1 inch too. I like the 1 1/2 binder for me since it's a bit sturdier and mine is used over and over with my classes.

    I grade them by sections taking a few days to check each section with some assignments turned into me before going into the notebook. I've pulled all the ideas from all the wonderful folks on the board and use many of those with my students only mine are in a binder rather than in a spiral.
     
  15. ancientcivteach

    ancientcivteach Habitué

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    That was one of my concerns, the other is that it lacks the "visual" element of obviously missing assignments that a notebook has - that's why I'm noodling the three prong - put the paper in there and leave it be.

    I'm not poopooing binders - I think they obvious advantages, I'm just wanting to kick the idea around a bit. :love:

    Ms. Geography, again thank you for sharing so much about your process! Could you elaborate on how the spirals took too much time away from teaching? :)
     
  16. Ms. Geography

    Ms. Geography Comrade

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    Spirals vs. 3 ring

    In my opinion and when I tried the spirals, I found that the students spent too much time trimming, glueing or taping the assignments into the notebook. With the 3 ring, as I said I hole punch the assignments prior to handing them out, I find that it takes only seconds for the students to put them into the correct place and this takes less time. I don't end up with trimmings in my floor, too much glue or tape used and, for me, the 3 ring just fits my needs better.
     
  17. jsfowler

    jsfowler Companion

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    I was wanting to move away from the 3-ring binders but you have presented some good arguements...I will think about this over the summer.
     
  18. ~mrs.m~

    ~mrs.m~ Comrade

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    We laminated our decorated covers this year for the first time with clear packing tape. I had a parent volunteer do this for me at her house. They had decorated the covers with things that fit into these categories: 1. Things they like or love 2. Something(s) about our country they are proud of 3. Some place(s) in the world they would like to go or have been to outside the USA (I teach world cultures). They turned out wonderfully. This is also the first year I have kept the spirals in my classroom and they held up a lot better. I have a file cabinet that holds all six of my classes' spirals.
     
  19. GD2BQN

    GD2BQN Comrade

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    Can you tell me again what the interactive notebooks are and how you use them?
     
  20. wig

    wig Devotee

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