Student Notebooks

Do you use Student Notebooks? I didn't until this year.

I will never go back.

If a notebook day is not scheduled, my firsties are disappointed. :)

 I print off the problem for them. I tried to have them write it in their notebooks themselves, but I figured that it is not an assessment of their writing. And it's much faster.

After we finish Calendar and Rocket Math, students get their papers and glue them into their notebooks. They sit on the rug and wait for the rest of the students to get ready. While they are getting ready, I write the problem up on the board. I read it to them and I have them talk to their "Smart Partners" about the problem. An example would be from the problem below. "Talk to your Smart Partner about how you are going to solve this." I give them about a minute to have a conversation then I call on a few to share what their Smart Partner has decided to do. They share what their Smart Partner said, "My Smart Partner, (insert name) said that he was going to solve the problem by counting on his fingers." This way, they are listening to their peers and sharing what their partner said, not what they, themselves said. Listening AND speaking!!!
When I have chosen a couple to share, I ask them if they are ready and then I give them three to seven minutes to record their answers depending on the difficulty.
While they are figuring out the answer I walk around and choose three students to share when the time is up. I look for three different answers and write their names on the board after the time is up.

Once I have the names on the board, I have them come up one at a time and tell the class how they solved the problem. They don't show the way they solved the problem, they tell them. As they tell the class how they solved the problem, I write it on the board. I have gone back and forth with asking and not asking the sharer questions. It sometimes gets to the point where they ask the same questions just to ask questions, not because they are curious. After we have our shares, students choose one of their Smart Partners ideas and write it in their notebooks. Since I took these photos, I have printed out papers that say, "I learned from my Smart Partner that...".  
They can use their notebooks when they are working on future problems or papers.

We use Investigations, so I use problems similar to what they will be working on that day after the lesson. Using notebooks is so much more powerful and meaningful to them. They are learning from each other and they have fun doing it. I am finding that the information and strategies they are learning about from their Smart Partners are sticking better than me teaching the straight to them. 

I am going to be going to a conference in August for Math and Science Student Notebooks. I can't wait to share what I learn. 

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