A new semester. A new procedure.

Interactive notebook


It was with vexing dismay that I realized that my job as teacher was consuming me.  That awareness was the catalyst for a bit of rearranging of my classroom procedures.  I started with what is probably the least important assignment that causes me much consternation: students’ interactive notebooks.

Middle school students are basically disorganized even when told exactly how to organize something, such as a notebook.  Some of my students’ notebooks are in such disarray that I despaired of their successfully studying the contents.  Whereas I was a student who relished learning and inhaled the scent of new notebooks, folders, and writing utensils, many adolescents today mutilate their notebooks beyond usefulness.   As I strove to create hyper-organized notes and table of contents, some students were writing  love notes and resharpening broken pencils to nubs so they could scribble pointlessly in notebooks.  For these students, earning a passing grade on a notebook check was an impossibility.

Today, I transmitted the sole responsibility of notebook organization to my students.  For the rest of the school year, students are responsible for what they choose to record in notebooks.  Each week, I will give a mini-quiz over the information we have covered.  It’s genius really.  Instead of gathering raggedy notebooks to pore over, I will recoup some much needed time for myself; I don’t have to cry at the sight of strangled, de-boned spiral notebooks anymore.

With this new tactic, I predict that I will save myself about twelve hours of grading and TOC-making  over the next several weeks.

Time rearranged = 12 hours

One thought on “A new semester. A new procedure.

  1. Good for you. And, after a few failed quizzes they may be more diligent about what content they keep in their notebooks. Or, not. I can dream for you.

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