Graph Paper Interactive Notebook in Math Class – MS Sunday Funday

Last year I transitioned from regular notebooks to spiral bound graph paper notebooks.  I LOVE graph paper notebooks for two main reasons.  First and foremost, I never have to pass out graph paper.   We make many tables, charts, and graphs in my class so having their notebook BE graph paper is just divine.  Additionally, I teach 6th grade and many of them still have giant handwriting and/or their work is all over the place.  With the graph paper notebooks, I can strongly encourage them to put one number in each square.  This helps in almost every mathematical procedure that they do.  Numbers are small, neat, and all lined up.  Beautiful.

 I also do a modified version of the INB (Interactive Notebook).  I didn’t do very well with the Left Hand Page OR the Table of Contents last year, but thanks to Megan I am motivated and planning to be much better this year!

Most teachers like to use the composition books for the Interactive Notebook.  They DO have these graph paper composition notebooks!  But, I would have to buy them all myself and have the students reimburse me.  My parents have a hard enough time finding the graph spiral bound notebooks and I don’t want to stress them out further.  Whatever you do, don’t let them use the notebooks with the glued in pages (not the composition books).  The pages of the notebooks with the glued in pages start falling out, in mass, after about 2 weeks of use.  This is a nightmare.

Notebook Tips:

  • You will probably need one notebook per semester.
  • It usually takes us about 30 minutes to set up the notebook initially.
  • Have extra blank notebooks on hand it you want to set them up any day in week 1.  Someone is not going to have theirs yet.  You just give them one of your new, blank ones, email the parent a reminder, and then collect theirs as an extra when they bring it in.  You can use this one next semester.
  • Use Foldables or half sheets for their notes whenever possible so you don’t have to trim every worksheet you give them.  That gets very old, very fast.
  • Modeling is the key when doing a math class notebook with younger students.  I have 6th and 7th grade, so I made a Powerpoint that shows how to set up the notebook step by step.

Read more Middle School Math Sunday Funday Posts!


15 thoughts on “Graph Paper Interactive Notebook in Math Class – MS Sunday Funday

  1. Just FYI…for those using graph paper composition books. According to a flier in my area (MD)Staples has them on sale next week (8/12/12 – 8/19/12) for $0.10 each if you spend $5. Limit 5 per customer, but if you have the teachers rewards card (free) you can buy up to 25 and get reimbursed through your rewards card. If you need more than that, get your non-math teacher friends to get them for you 🙂

  2. Awesome! Just had Parent Open House Thursday, and I mentioned to buy the ones with graph paper. With the interactive notebooks, I didn’t think about including vocabulary in there. That’s cool because the district requires us to have “interactive” word wall, so that’s a nice interaction there with the vocab list in the notebook. I have a question. What is your Greatest Hits page about?

  3. I have used graph paper notebooks for a few years now in high school and I love it for many reasons. My students want to continue to use them when I taught Algebra 1 and they went to another teacher for Geometry. Now, I do teach all of the higher level and the students just love them! Glad to see they are using them in 6th and 7th grade math. They feel like they are doing “real” math or something! My students generally go through 2 also, sometimes 3 if they write especially big. Great post!

  4. Pingback: Math Class Notebooks – MS Sunday Funday | I Speak Math

  5. Oooh…Staples has $0.10 composition notebooks this week INCLUDING the graph paper ones! The limit is 3, but some stores will allow teachers to get up to 25! I may be checking that out tomorrow!

    • Woohoo! Just picked up my graph paper composition books from Staples! I like to hit the ground running by buying them for first semester! I still have kids bring one at the beginning of the year and I hold on to them and use them for second semester!

  6. Love the Slide Share and might have to do something similar so I’m not repeating myself 5 times when we are setting up notebooks! LOL! I used graph paper notebooks last year in one class last year as well and loved it. My dad uses the graph paper composition books in his classroom now and loves them!

  7. Many hanks for this post and Slideshare! Here in South Africa it is standard for learners to use graph paper books in math to at least 6th grade. We use these for notes as well as classwork so they can get pretty chaotic and tricky to use come study time. Though I’ve thought of a table of contents I haven’t implemented it yet – your organising system is perfect and I very much look forward to using it.
    Please do let us know what the “Greatest Hits” page is for, also, you mention using left hand pages – do you mean you have a special use for them?

    • I need to blog about that. Greatest Hits is just a page where we write notes about the most important topics of the year. They are responsible for all of these topics all year.

  8. Pingback: Course Supplies HELP! « mathemagical molly

  9. I really like the idea of graph paper for students’ notebooks! It seems like so much of what we do incorporates some aspect of graphing, and passing out or providing graph paper each time can be a nuisance. As a student, though, I know I would have gone crazy if I had to write many sentences on graph paper. Perhaps there is a way to use both lined and graph paper. I have seen in one class, the teacher went lesson by lesson determining if students needed lined paper, graph paper, other special paper, or a combination of these. He printed off an estimated number of sheets he thought the students would need for that lesson. I really like this idea as well, but wonder if that could get pricey to print off rather than have students use a notebook. It’s really great seeing all these ideas!

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