Textbooks vs. note organizers and worksheets

Discussion in 'General Education' started by LimaUniformNovemberAlpha, Mar 12, 2021.

  1. LimaUniformNovemberAlpha

    LimaUniformNovemberAlpha Rookie

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    Mar 12, 2021

    Growing up, taking textbooks to school and home with me always gave me a heavy backpack. And since teaching, I've also noticed that at some grade levels (at least junior high, and depending on the school, senior high as well) give "note organizers" as well; textbooks supplement the material but many days aren't necessary.

    This leaves me wondering; if schools can print note organizers, and print worksheets, why can't they print all the material they will need for a particular section as note-booklets per section? Why do we have an entire course's material (and in some courses, enough material for two courses) in one book, when we could have a bunch of smaller books, per course, and make students' backpacks a little lighter?
     
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  3. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Mar 12, 2021

    There are districts that have purchased additional sets of textbooks to keep in the classroom. Students are assigned a text to take and keep at home (some kids get two if requested when they share time between parents). Districts found that the wear and tear on the books is less because they are not being brought to and from school all of the time.This means in the long run their costs are lower and they can keep a text longer.

    Now many districts are going toward class sets and on-line for home use (except for students who need a physical book at home for a variety of reasons).

    So, there are districts that have looked into the issue of hauling heavy loads of books to and from school and came up with solutions beyond completely re-vamping the textbook system.
     
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  4. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    We used classroom sets and take home sets. It made life much easier. None of that “I forgot my book” nonsense. Sometimes we have online and print books.

    We don’t actually copy many physical papers.
     
  5. CaliforniaRPCV

    CaliforniaRPCV Comrade

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    Nothing wrong with textbooks AND worksheets AND note organizers, no "vs".
     
  6. miss-m

    miss-m Groupie

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    Exactly! They all serve different purposes and can all be used in conjunction as needed.

    Personally, I use as many digital or reusable resources as I can to reduce paper use. There's no way I would print student copies of textbooks unless it were absolutely crucial, and it rarely is. I've had 25-28 kids in my class every year for the past 5 years. Printing even a small set of pages uses an exorbitant amount of paper.

    There is something to be said for hard copy practice - sometimes students NEED paper to practice a skill by hand, or it's a summative assessment that I need students to complete on paper for me to check. But those instances are so few and far between that I've had better luck with laminated center activities and expo markers, or submitting work on their iPads. Printing is just a massive hassle.
     
  7. LimaUniformNovemberAlpha

    LimaUniformNovemberAlpha Rookie

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    How do you know they aren't going to use their iPads for chatrooms or something like that? Technology just sounds like it's more trouble than it's worth in the classroom in particular.

    Another aspect of textbook use is that there's not much downward pressure on prices if the taxpayers are paying for it yet private companies are making it. If the writing of textbooks were a public service (and to be fair in some courses textbooks are written by the teacher; though I've only seen that at university thus far) I'd be a little less concerned. Now personally I'd consider heavy backpacks a more pressing

    Bear in mind trees cut down to make paper are often farmed to make paper in the first place. Even the ones that aren't get their biomass from the CO2 in the air and water in the ground; having their remnants incinerated is just sending the biomass back full circle, just as rot or a wildfire would've done had we not cut it down. Having their remnants incinerated beneath a water boiler would be better still. It's still not something to do needlessly, but it's not as horrible an environmental sin as eco-zealots would have us believe, and that kind of shifts the tradeoff between that vs. our solution being to have at-home and at-school textbooks alike while textbook publishers laugh all the way to the bank.
     
  8. miss-m

    miss-m Groupie

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    Mar 17, 2021

    ... I am fairly confident my 1st through 3rd graders are not on chat rooms on their iPads.
    I also have an app on my iPad to see what they’re doing on their screens, and open other apps if necessary. I can lock/disable/switch apps for them from mine. Also they’re 6-8 years old so...

    My students know expectations around technology use. We practice, we talk about the rules, they put them away when we’re not using them, and I’ve really only had issues with kids who never do what we’re doing regardless of what technology is involved.

    Your other arguments about textbooks and paper just sound like a stretch. Like... I can acknowledge that paper comes from farmed trees and still not want to use piles of it? I have adhd and lose just about anything on paper. So I don’t use it unless I have to. The number of times I’ve had to reprint piles of stuff because I’ve lost something important pisses me off. Technology makes it easier to keep track of what I need.

    I’m not really sure what you’re getting at with textbooks. They serve a purpose, most of the responses answered your initial question. Many textbooks now are getting lighter/smaller - they’re split by subtopic instead of just “Science” for the whole year for example. Even so, many books also come with online editions as well, so students can access them without having a physical book

    Do you teach? How long ago were you in a classroom? Your questions seem to come from outdated assumptions.
     
  9. CaliforniaRPCV

    CaliforniaRPCV Comrade

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    Mar 18, 2021

    Tech is here to stay. Nothing to do but include it in the curriculum and utilize it in teaching the curriculum. And you just can't take away the wealth of information an internet connection gives. But it isn't hard to overdo it. People still need skills and manual dexterity beyond tapping on a screen. Those kids should have the paper and pencils so they can pass notes around during boring classes.

    I'm not sure how green technology is though. Plastic, metals, including poisonous heavy metals, all the energy required to make and run the stuff. And my pet peeve, planned obsolescence to the point a dead battery justifies a whole new tablet or laptop because it's too much trouble to replace. There ought to be a law against non-replaceable batteries.
     
  10. HellyDouglas

    HellyDouglas Rookie

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    I do worry how heavy students' backpacks become with all these textbooks. I love digital versions. So much easier when they need update them too and they can write on them with digital ink. We have rooms full of old, outdated textbooks that just aren't used.
     
  11. LimaUniformNovemberAlpha

    LimaUniformNovemberAlpha Rookie

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    Ah. My background is in teaching high school.


    Okay, that is a much better reason and by all means the education system should be designed to accommodate such teachers.

    It's just that when people start making it out to be unthinkable to burn paper that would've otherwise caught fire in the forest if not made into paper that bells start going off in my head.


    And this, too, is a good solution. My main concern is that it doesn't strike me as practical to put the whole year's content in one book. Whether you're splitting it by unit or by section is just down to whether you're breaking up the content a lot or a little bit.


    It's only been a couple years. But I'm not checking students' backpacks or anything either; the "heavy backpack" part is based on my own recollection of being a student.
     
  12. London Powell

    London Powell Rookie

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    I agree with you. it is much easier to take a gadget with you, rather than lugging 100,500 books and textbooks, notebooks, etc. in a backpack. But what about the fact that when working with electronic devices, much less brain activity is involved than when working with paper materials? Wouldn't that mean limiting the brains of our children?
     
  13. CaliforniaRPCV

    CaliforniaRPCV Comrade

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    Source of this information? Not to say it isn't believable. But it would be nice to have the background, evidence and additional detail for such a broad statement. For example, is there any dependence on what exactly is being done with the devices?
     
  14. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    My kids all have school-owned devices, so there are filters installed when they are at school. When they are home, we can still track what they do. I can see everything my kids do from 7am to 4pm. I can open tabs, close tabs, etc. right from my computer.

    Some still do things they shouldn’t, but it is pretty rare. When they violate the acceptable use agreement, they lose their comouter access.

    We are 1:1 in grades 6-12.
     

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