One of the things I most love about homeschooling is when I learn something new that helps me do a better job of teaching or serves as an aid in the girlies’ learning. And whenever I discover a new tip, trick, or technique that helps me, I’m always eager to share the information with you. Today’s post is about interactive math notebooks and how they saved my sanity while helping Sweet Pea, my rising fifth grader, improve her outlook on and performance in math.
Earlier in the school year math became a frustrating subject for Sweet Pea. Her confidence took a nose dive as she found it was taking longer for her to master concepts. Her frustration mounted as she got problems wrong more frequently. It didn’t take long for tears to become a regular part of math time.
Sweet Pea’s crying episodes and angry outbursts continued until a friend on Google+ introduced me to the concept of interactive notebooking. Once I made notebooking part of our math routine, Sweet Pea’s attitude improved significantly and math time was more productive.
What is an interactive math notebook?
An interactive notebook is the offspring of a lapbook and the traditional notebook (think old school Trapper Keeper). A more educational definition would be a problem solving notebook in which students record their math work, log their mathematical thinking processes, and store their mathematical graphic organizers, charts, games, practice pages, notes, tests, etc.
Why use an interactive notebook?
Interactive notebooks are fantastic for several reasons. First, they are an organizational tool that helps children keep everything in one place. Next, the notebook serves as a record of the lessons, assessments, projects, and activities completed throughout the year. Finally, the interactive math notebook can be used year after year because math concepts usually do repeat.
How do you create an interactive math notebook?
Creating an interactive math journal is a simple and inexpensive task. All you need is a three ring binder, tabbed dividers, notebook paper, construction paper and/or card stock, scissors, gluesticks, a variety of math printables, and a three hole punch.
Open the three ring binder and place the notebook paper inside. Use the tabbed dividers to create sections in the binder. Punch holes in the printables and place them in the proper sections of the binder. If including a math game or math activity, it may need to be cut out and glued down onto construction paper or card stock. (I prefer to use card stock because it’s sturdier than construction paper and endures frequent handling better.)
What are the sections of an interactive math notebook?
This is where we introduce personalization and customization. Create an interactive math notebook that works for you and is a reflection of the curriculum used and concepts learned. However, there are basic parts I suggest you include within the interactive math journal. Here are the basic sections we include:
- Daily work: As the girlies work, consumable math pages and/or printables are hole punched and placed inside the binder. This prevents papers from getting lost and serves as a record of what the girlies have learned throughout the year.
- Assessments: Each time the girlies complete a math test or quiz, it gets filed away inside the notebook.
- Vocabulary: Each time we start a new topic, the girlies receive a list of related vocabulary words. Sometimes they write down the words and definitions, while other times they complete a cut and paste activity to document the words.
- Games: McRuffy Math was a FABULOUS beginner math series. I loved it because it was a hands on curriculum that include lots of fun games printed on 8.5 x 11 size paper. These games could be hole punched and placed inside the math notebook for future play.
- Printable Charts and Organizers: Many times I will give the girlies a printable they can use for future reference. This includes things such as multiplication tables, a chart of Roman Numerals, rules for rounding numbers, etc. Printables are a must have for us because they foster independent work. As the girlies work, they can refer to the charts and organizers if they are stuck BEFORE coming to me for assistance.
Where to find printables for interactive math notebooks?
You can create your own printables for your child’s interactive notebook. Most of the time, you won’t find it necessary to do so, because someone has already created and generously a printable you can use. And, many times theses printables are free.
To find free or inexpensive printables, the first thing to do is perform a Google search on the topic you’re teaching. If you can’t find what you need using a Google search, visit Teachers Pay Teachers or Teacher’s Notebook. Also be sure to check out Jimmie Lanley’s math note booking page. It’s gold mine full of math notebooking resources!
Whether your child is struggling in math or is a math whiz, an interactive math notebook can enhance her mathematical experiences. Help foster a love of math and help your child reach new heights using an interactive math notebook.
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© 2014, Andrea Thorpe. All rights reserved.