MNM: Setting Up the Math Notebook

New goal…. hopefully to accomplish…. is trying to post each:

  • Saturday or Sunday post about my Science notebooks (SNS- Science Notebook Saturday).
  • Monday about my Math Notebooks (MNM- Math Notebook Monday)

We will see how I do. 
Well I guess I’ll start at the beginning… that only makes sense.  Notebooks are AWESOME!! I did my first in my Algebra II class in high school back in the 90’s, and I loved the organization of it all!!

I have been using notebooks for the past 3 years and I have found that composition notebooks are the best!  You don’t have to worry about kids tearing out pages, having to keep up with a binder that you know they will put other stuff into, or those spirals with the perforated edge that always seems to loose its pages (fought this battle and lost).  Composition books are smaller than spirals but the fact that they don’t loose their pages and are just the right size for a semester of notes, are enough benefits for me.  Each semester requires a notebook, and we spend the first or second day of school decorating them.  You can check out my post about decorating notebooks here.  These notebooks grow during the year, so I had to find a way to keep them closed- enter the giant rubber band.  You can find my post about closing the journals here.

Okay…. so are you decorated??? and do you have the closure???  Excellent!!! Now for the interior set up.

Hopefully  you can go to the dollar tree and get a package of these small manila envelopes (8 for a dollar).  Each envelope will be used for 2 kids.  They look like this:

Just have the kids lick it closed and cut it in half.  Now you have a little pocket perfect to hold homework (folded in half), a protractor, and “THE TEST” formula sheet.  You know… the one with the inches on one side and cm on the other.  Now the students cant say they didn’t have a ruler to do that perimeter homework you assigned.  Yes…. its genius.  Now just glue it into the inside of the front cover.  You can always reinforce with tape if needed. 

Make a cover page however you want, and then a table of contents (TOC).  I wish all my kids would keep up with the TOC but they all don’t, but the ones who do… love it.  So it’s worth putting in there.  We use the front and the back of each page (I would not have enough pages if I didn’t) We use 5 individual pages for our table of contents.

This is the only back page we don’t use.  Its the back of the title page.

Another 2 pages look like this… that should make 5 TOC pages. 

Another thing you could add is an Index to the back of the journal for all the new vocabulary you will teach.  I did this in my 1st semester journal but I didn’t keep up with it, and I noticed that the kids would never use it to go back and find their pages. They would use the TOC.  It’s up to you.  I liked teaching them the “why” we have an index and how to use and make it, but they just didn’t use it often enough.   Maybe next year. 

If you want, you can have kids number the pages all the pages in their notebook early, but we number the pages each day, that way I know we are all on the same page…. literally…. and pun… hahaha! 

Look for next weeks post on worksheet foldables in the math journal! 

3 thoughts on “MNM: Setting Up the Math Notebook

  1. I would love to use math notebooks next year. This year I give my students a note sheet for every section we do. We have a brand new curriculum next year so I am not sure the best way to incorporate the math notebook.

  2. Thanks for the comment Sherri!!

    I wish we had a new curriculum… I have to research and do everything from my head. We have Saxon textbooks that are old. One thing you could do is have one page of examples and the next page for homework assignments. Or just put a word problem of the day and they have to explain in words how to answer it. Good Luck!! I hope they work with your new curriculum!

  3. Leslie,

    I've been doing similar things with my math journals. The kids really learn to appreciate why I have them put so much int here. Love your ideas. Just curious, where do you teach? I noticed the STAAR reference chart in the journal. I am also a TX. teacher!!!

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