1. Hold students accountable for them
I chose not to include the notebook as part of the students' grades for several reasons. One being that I use standards based grading, and I feel like a notes grade would be more a compliance grade than an understanding grade. The other is that I teach about 90 Algebra students each year. That would be a lot of notebooks to check.
I had told students that I would hold them accountable because when they asked for help the first thing I would do is ask them to take out their notes. If they did not have their notes completed, then they would have to complete them before I was willing to help them. I did OK at this, but I must not have done well enough, because even at the end of the year students were frustrated when I was making them copy notes from earlier. And this actually meant that some students just stopped asking for help. :( Not really what I wanted...
|My notebook--no papers sticking out :)|
|Student notebook--lots of papers that should be glued in :(|
|My notebook--filled out TOC :)|
|Student notebook--empty TOC :(|
|My notebook--worked out problems :)|
|Student notebook--answers with no proof :(|
I envision checking notebooks the day before the test while students are working on review stations. Doing a 100% or 0% check like Sarah Hagan does (see here) would hopefully make the checking process faster. If students do not have their notebooks complete I warn them that they must complete their notebooks before the test tomorrow. When we start the next day I pass out tests only to the students who have completed their notebooks. Other students must get on a netbook and work to update their notebooks. If they don't get it done in time, then they have to take the test on their own time (before/after school) another day.
Like I said, I'm not sure this it what I'm going to do, so I would like feedback on this idea, please :)
2. Be more organized
One of the reasons why it was hard to hold students accountable was because I did not have a good organization system in place. I figured out a decent system right before 4th quarter started, but I didn't share it with the students because I wanted to see how it would work. It worked well enough, and with a few adjustments I think it will work great. I shared some of it here.
I plan on including a monthly calendar on my bulletin board instead of writing on the folders, I can write on the calendar. This will help if students want to see something more than a few days in the past. I have a small file cabinet that I will use to store older papers. I will have to try to organize the file cabinet a bit better than I did this year...I also think I might make one copy of each paper a specific color (ie. yellow) and then students know not to take that one, but to make a few copies first. (I also want to write the page number that the copies go on before I make copies. I read of that idea from Type-A Mathland here, and tried to implement it from then on, but mostly forgot.)
One more thing I can do to help make things more organized is to post pictures of my notebook on my website. This will help hold students accountable, because I only have my one noteboook and when multiple students need to make up notes (or when students want to make them up at home) they will have the ability to get on a computer and view them. This will be a significant amount of more work, but I think I could choose to do it first thing during my prep each day and I would be OK.
3. Give more opportunities for student ownership
I was hesitant to have students do reflection activities in their notebooks since I wasn't really holding them accountable for it. The few times we did do reflection things I really, really liked it. I think that students were willing to think and process as I was asking them to. But I need to start out doing those things in the first unit, so students learn to develop those thinking skills. Here are some examples of reflection-type things we put into our notebooks:
|Students had to write own steps for calculator|
|Students had to finish sentences on their own|
|An example of my use of color|