I use one composition notebook for the whole year. This works for me because
I do not put new things into their ISNs everyday.
My end goal for the ISN was for students to use their books as a how-to guide. Even though we don't always add something new, they are required to bring it with them to class everyday and also to bring it home with them in case they need to look something up (I doubt they actually all do bring it home if there's no HW in it but oh well).
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I decided that I didn't really want all of the daily activities and investigations (I used connected math) to go in there, I just wanted the "good stuff." To me, this is all of the skills that I teach them how to do.
On average I might put in anywhere from 1-3 new pages in a week.
Depending on how I'm teaching the skills it goes down one of three ways.
- When I want kids to develop a rule/procedure themselves we will usually spend a day or two working through some type of discovery activities. I do not put these into the ISN. In addition to the ISN I have them keep a three ring binder (or section in another binder) for all of these kinds of things. After they have a good idea of the skill, we will then formalize it with a rule or definition and that goes into the ISN.
- When I have something that I want to do direct instruction on, we will do the ISN page first and they they will use the rule/procedure/foldable to do practice activities for the next couple days.
- Sometimes I will also work on the same ISN page for a couple days. Integers is an example of this. I will have the kids make a foldable on the first day (will be posting this sometime soon.) Then on the first day we go over the rules for multiplication and division, fill them into the foldable and then do practice. The next day we fill in/practice addition, and the third day we fill in/practice subtraction. So in this scenario we are using the ISN three days in a row but only really creating one set of new pages.
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I chose this set up was because I really wanted my kids to see their book as something valuable. I worried that if I put everything in then they might see it as just their notebook for the year with all the work they did. With connected math a lot of the investigations we do are good, but in my opinion not worth holding onto. I wanted them to think of their ISN more as the "highlights" of the year, or all of the really important stuff. I wanted them to feel that when we put something into the ISN that it was something big and important, and I think I accomplished that goal with the way I set up.
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