Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Tried it Tuesday- Reflections on Math Notebooks

Linking up with Holly over at Fourth Grade Flipper to reflect on using 3 ring binders for my math notebooks this year instead of composition notebooks. 

I liked the composition books, but my main reason for changing was I wanted larger paper. 

Composition Size: 

Binder Size: 

Pros of Binders: 
1. More paper space. 
2. Pages can be removed (this could be a con too though!)
3. When students were absent it was easy to get pages into their notebooks
4. We could add notes to foldable pages 
5. We could include worksheets, homework, assessments, data, etc... 

Cons of Binders: 
1. Binders are open so often, they lose their alignment 
2. Pages fall out (see number 1) 
3. Binders take up more room. I had plenty of space for my six classes though. Students struggled to keep them neat, but space was available. 
4. Binders were too small to hold all the work I had anticipated. I had asked fro 2 inch, but many students brought 1 or 1/2 inch. This really made a difference. 

End of the year teacher binder: 

End of the year student binders: 

This is page 7, not page 1. 

This could have a lot to do with the condition of their notebooks. 

Seriously, this is embarrassing! 

I ask daily for them to put them on the shelf neatly. Of course, that didn't always happen. 
Sometimes it never happened. 

So, I guess the question is what will I use next year? 
Actually, I don't know. It all depends on what supplies we asked our students to bring next year. We are having some changes for next year, so it's a waiting game right now. 

I think the inside is the most important part of the binder anyway. I am really proud of our notebooks this year. I think they were full of useful information and presented in a fun way. 
My students always told me how they liked taking notes because I let them use markers and/or pen. 
I love the simplicity of making them happy. 

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  1. I am so glad my shelves aren't the only ones that look like that! I had thought about using binders for math journals also but am rethinking it... so many pros and cons... sigh!

  2. I have the same dilemma as I plan for math next year... :/

  3. I have been a fan of composition notebooks but your post has me thinking about the pros of binders. Messy supplies drive me bonkers too and I think sometimes the students think I'm crazy about making them (try) and keep things neat! :)
    Fourth Grade Flipper

  4. I was thinking about going to binders, but the composition books held up well and they fit nicely in their table baskets. Of course, I have only one group of kids to worry about.

  5. I did composition books this year (first time) and I would personally not ever go back to binders for notes. My kids still kept a binder for handouts and graded assignments, but I only looked in on their notebooks. My shelves look similar to yours, though I had a few awesome kids who regularly took the time to straighten them up. I was largely successful in ignoring the chaos because they could all still manage to find their notebooks each class period. :) I only used about half of the pages in the comp books, so the smaller paper size isn't worrying me. How often did students get their pages out of order or lose some pages because they used binders?

  6. I love that it is not just me and my students! My first year in Science, we used binders. They drove my crazy with how messy they were and ALWAYS losing papers from the rings. Last year in math, I did composition notebooks. I loved that they were still together at the end of the year, but putting things in was always a chore next to the binder simple hole punch. I do not know which I will choose this year as I go back into science. There are pros and cons with both. I guess we must choose what we want to deal with! Good luck choosing your battle friend!

  7. I have been debating between binders, spiral notebooks, and composition notebooks. I love that the composition books have the pages sewn in so as not to be lost but I also worry about the smaller page size. In younger grades, I loved the STAR binder and wanted to adapt it to 6th grade and also to allow my students to learn how to use this tool for multiple subjects as it is a skill that they will need in middle school. However, I have yet to come up with a decision. I am waiting on supply information as well.

    Think, Wonder, & Teach