Saturday, August 13, 2016

Our Interactive Notebook has a name: MathSpace.

Before there was Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, there was My Space. (Remember?)   I'd like to think that it was not too long ago (because it doesn't feel like it was too long ago), but now that I think about it, it was about 10 years ago!   :)      

I've required that my students keep an interactive notebook for several years now.  I don't think that I knew it was called "interactive notebook" when I started requiring students to keep one, so I gave it a name.  This made it easy for me to refer to it when I needed to.  Teenagers back then were using My Space as their social media, so I liked the name "MathSpace" for their notebook.  They used their notebook for all things Algebra, or all things Geometry, or all things Pre-Cal, so I thought the name fit their notebook perfectly!

I kept using "MathSpace" as the name of the interactive notebook because I am so used to calling it that.  I refer to it often during class, as it is their "textbook."  I say things like, "you should have your MathSpace with you when you come in for tutoring," "take out your MathSpace and start working on the Warm Up,"  and "locate your Solving Quadratic Equations Foldable in your MathSpace."  It's just like second nature to me and my students now.

During the first week of the school year, I give students an information sheet that tells them the what? why? and how? of their MathSpace notebook.  I change a few minor things on it here and there each year, but I have found that giving them this information is very beneficial.  This is the sheet I gave them this year:

Download the editable file here.

I started off doing notebook checks once every and made sure that they were all keeping up with all the notes, that it was organized well, etc.  This practice was mainly put into effect to "force" them to keep a notebook and bring it to class every day.  I realized after a few years, though, that they were all keeping up with it fairly well, and that I didn't really need to be checking up on them.  So, I stopped checking them.   I can say that in the past four or five years, every student has maintained a MathSpace notebook.  All of the notes they write in class, including foldables, and MathSpace Notes (sheets with "skeleton" notes that I create, and students glue them in their MathSpace and fill in the notes), are glued to or written in their MathSpace, so students know they must have it and keep up with it every day!

I require my students to decorate their MathSpace sometime at the beginning of the school year.  They are allowed to decorate it with anything theme or in any way they'd like, as long as it completely covered and decorated.  Their decorations don't have to be "mathy," but sometimes they do decorate it "mathy"---that makes me so happy!  I tell them they should get it done within the first month of the school year, but I have found that many of them decorate it right away.  I do have a few students who take a while to decorate their MathSpace, but I keep reminding them to get it done, and they do, eventually.  I think decorating it makes them feel pride when they take it out in class and use it!

These are examples of MathSpace notebooks from this school year.  These students have started decorating their MathSpace, they're just missing a few things on the cover (like their name!):
(Dividers: courtesy of Sarah Carter at mathequalslove.)

Did you give your interactive notebook a name or title?  I'd like to hear about it if you do!

Thank you for reading!

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