Interactive Math Notebook

In my last post, I talked about some changes that I will make for next year, and some things that I plan on incorporating into my classes. I mentioned an Interactive math Notebook, but I think that mine is actually going to be a binder. Searching online and all over Pinterest, I have found some really great ideas for INBs.


From my research and my ideas so far, here are the major parts of the INBs that I will have in my class:

  • This INB is actually going to be a binder instead of a notebook. That is just a lot more versatile, and since it will be my first time implementing something like this, I’m sure I will have a billion different ideas and change my mind just as many times.
  • Personalized Cover: Students will have time in class to decorate the cover for their binder to really make it their own.
  • References Section: This section will include a calendar with important dates, syllabus, student progress sheet, copy of the rubric for the notebook grade (which I will be making eventually), formula sheet that they would have available for any standardized test/EOC, any other important information, and a Rules sheet that I will adapt from Live. Love. Math. Students will read the rules at the beginning of the year, sign them, and when they ask why they have to do something, I will refer them to the rules that they have in their notebook.
  • Glossary: This section will obviously be dedicated to vocabulary words. The words will be grouped by unit, and students will have their own glossary, with definitions that make sense individually, and pictures or examples for the words.
  • Content Section: The very first page of this section will be a table of contents. It will include the title of the page, the page number, the date, and the unit that it falls under. After that, this section will include everything that we do for a unit: notes, foldables, homework, quizzes, tests, everything. This way, students will have all of the information they need, all of the information that was given to them in-class, everything!

I think that the INBs will be a really good way to help students get organized, and start to use things like notes and quizzes as learning tools. I have also seen some really neat ideas about the right side of the notebook being the ‘input’ side that would include notes, foldables, and testable information given by the teacher. Then, the left hand side is the ‘output’ side, where students have to do something with the testable information, and give some sort of output using that information. It seems like a neat idea, and something that I might try to find  a way to incorporate!

I’m sure by the time that the school year actually starts, I will have plenty more ideas, but that’s all that I’ve got for now!




Next Year

Like I said in my first post, I have learned many lessons teaching! Next year, I will be starting new classes at a new school! I absolutely cannot wait to find out what I will be teaching! I am so excited! Since I don’t know what I’m teaching yet, I can’t start planning my lessons while my current students are taking their finals, but I have been thinking a lot about changes that I will make for the next year.


1. Late Work Policy: Wow! Don’t even get me started on students and late work, or just not doing their work, ever! It is very frustrating sometimes. But, I have decided that it is better late than never. Even though this was not my original policy, I have adapted it through my past few months of teaching. No matter when a student turns in a late assignment, I still give them half credit. I think that next year I will let them turn in the assignment for half credit up they take the test. At first, I was only going to let students turn in work up to one day late for half credit, but that just was not working. Students grades were suffering, and they had a difficult year (I was their fourth teacher).


2. Assignment Headings: The late work issue brings me to another issue… Students turn in a homework assignment late with absolutely NO heading, title, or anything, and I am supposed to know what assignment it is to put it in the grade book. No. Not working for me! Next year, at the beginning of the year, I will teach students my expectations that they should have a heading on EVERY assignment, whether they need to turn it in or not. They need to include the assignment title, name, period, and original due date. Also, no name = half credit. I treat it as late work. I am teaching 11th and 12th graders right now, and my thinking is that they’ve been doing this for 10-11 years, so they should know to always write their name. After a student gets half credit for not writing their name, they will probably never forget to write their name on something. At least, that has been my experience.


3. Getting a Student Caught Up After an Absence: I have noticed that when kids are absent, they expect me to use class time when they return to give them one-on-one attention to catch them up, and have the rest of the class wait. I tried to stress the importance of kids coming to tutoring when they miss class, even if it is just for a few minutes, but that rarely actually happened. I have got to come up with something else to do for when kids are absent, but I’m not sure what yet!

One thing that I have done that I really like it my ‘Daily Log of Classwork’ and class folders. On the Daily Log (which you can find here: Daily Log of Class Work and Homework), I write down everything that we do in class that an absent student would be responsible for. After I fill out the Daily Log, I staple it on the board above the absence folders. Then, I put all the extra copies of papers that I give out during class in the folder for the appropriate class. One thing I will do differently next year is that I will write the students’ names on the papers they need to get.




4. Math Binders: I have seen A LOT lately above Interactive Notebooks, and I think they are a really neat idea. I think that I am going to implement these next year in my classes, but use a binder instead of a notebook. I feel like the binder is more versatile, and you can take things out, add them in, and make different sections and not run out of room. That is one thing that I don’t think I would like about the INBs is that if you make a section for Vocab for example, the students don’t know how many pages to leave for that, and I don’t know, either, and it seems like it would be a pain if students did run out of room.


5. Word Wall: With the implementation of the Common Core Standards, I think that Vocab is going to be a really important aspect. I want to start using some sort of Word Wall to have all of the Vocab for the unit that we are working on. I also want to put a bigger focus on Vocab, and I plan on having students make a glossary as part of their Math Binder. Here, students will do things like copy the formal definition, write the definition in their own words, and draw a picture or example.


So those are just a few of the lessons that I’ve learned and the changes that I plan on making for next year. I have a lot more, but those are the big things that I have been thinking about!

Another Thing That I (think I) Want to Do

As a recent college graduate (Clemson University, December 2013, GO TIGERS) and a new teacher, I have had many successes, many failures, many lessons learned, and many more to come. I plan on this blog being a way for me to keep track of and share my day-to-day adventures as a new high school teacher, share lessons and ideas that go really well, and maybe help guide someone else that is in a similar position!