Saturday, October 6, 2012

Interactive Notebooks

Mathematician's Notebook.....these were magic words to me last April when I heard them at NCTM in Philadelphia. They are also the reason I started this blog. 

I have always required my students to keep a notebook in my classes.  All classes regardless of subject.  When I returned to teaching 4 years ago after taking several years off with my children, all I could think about was how boring they were.  I knew they were better than nothing but I knew they weren't as effective as they could be, or wanted them to be. I figured if I didn't like them...why would my students.  The only thing they liked about them was the "easy" grade.

So when I went to NCTM last year, I saw the title: Creating STEM Experiences for Middle School Students with the Mathematician's Notebook.  The presenter was Tammy Jones and I was entralled from the first moment she showed her notebook!  Here was EXACTLY what I was looking for!  The coolest part for me was that she used a graphing composition notebook.  When I was in high school, I LOVED writing notes to my friends on graph paper!  So how cool would it be to create an entire notebook out of the graph paper? 

Pretty cool as I'm finding out!  I am LOVING my interactive notebooks!  I am using it in my Algebra 1 and my Algebra 2 classes.  I did not use them in my business math class but am seriously considering it for next year!   I am keeping one for me for each class as well.  I find that I am reflecting more on my lessons at the end of each day and the notebook gives me a place to put notes for next year.  It is helping me to stay organized as well.  So far, I am much better with the interative part for Algebra 1 then Algebra 2 but I am working hard to get them both to be better. 

I couldn't do this without the many blogs that I read daily and steal ideas from.  These teachers are amazing!  I will try to credit them all as I post pictures of the ideas I stole from them!

The best compliment I have received the other day was from the football coach...he said one of his players loved my class because it didn't feel like math, it felt like scrapbooking!  LOL!  I laughed because that student's class also told me they felt like they were in kindergarten...with all of the cutting, glueing, and coloring they are doing.  If this translates to better understanding, then I am okay with teaching kindergarten to high schoolers!

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