I teach middle school, so by the end of the trimester, student’s spiral bound math notebooks are pretty beaten up at best, and downright nasty at worse. So, at the beginning of each trimester I have students start a brand new notebook for my class. At the end of the year they each have 3 beaten up, spiral math notebooks.

I did not want my student to just take these notebooks home – as I knew they would probably end up thrown out! So, I decided to have them use their three notebooks to make make ONE Math Reference Books.

They went through each of their three notebooks and tore out what they felt was the most important pages (keeping the pages in date order). Then, they compiled these pages to make on concise Math Reference Book. They used the back cover of two of their old notebooks to make a new front and back cover for the new reference book. Then, they tied them all together with yarn and decorated the cover.

I had the students make a pocket for the inside of the notebooks as well so they could keep any chapter or study guides we had made. It was very interesting to see what pages most students decided to keep. Almost all students selected the pages with foldables on them. One student ONLY kept pages that were foldables!

I kept their Math Reference Books in my room and will give them back next year to use in class when they have questions or get stuck on review problems. I will also let struggling students take theirs home when they need more work or remediation.

I am hopeful that this will be a resource that will help jog their memory when they forget a concept or procedure (since it contains notes that they took in their own handwriting). I would also like for them to see the value of taking good notes through these reference books. I also like the fact that all of their hard work from the year before is not thrown away and forgotten, but used as we go forward and built upon previous concepts.

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