Friday, September 2, 2011

Math Journal {Spice up your notes}

Have you noticed it's hard to teach how to take "good" math notes? I teach middle schoolers and their note taking skills aren't refined yet, but I don't want to "hand" everything to them either. So, I took an idea a friend gave me for science, and modified it for math! The reason I use a composition notebook is because you literally have to TRY to get the papers more lost notes!

  • Composition notebook for each student (I put this on their school supply list and have them bring it to "Meet the Teacher" night so I can set up the beginning for them.
  • If you have graphing in your curricula then ask parents to bring a graphing composition notebook too. I found mine at Target during Back to School sales shopping for under a buck.

The Set-Up:
  • The first page is for students to creatively give it a title (and put their name on it somewhere!)
  • The second page is folded down and then taped to the third, creating a "pocket".
  • Pages four through seven are used for the table of contents. Have this also set up for students with the left margin for the date, niddle for the topic, and the right margin for the page #.
  • Page eight is then numbered with a "1" for the first topic for students to start taking notes!

Here's my example: (Everything in pink is what I write on the board, the pencil is what students lead to in class during our interactive note-taking)

The BEST reason for doing this is so that students won't say they never learned this or you didn't teach them when a student is absent, you can just copy the notebook and they can add it to theirs and not fall behind! I do a chapter at a time to stay above the students a bit.

What methods do you use that work well?


  1. I love this! Mrs. Gurney had us do this in algebra my freshman year. She would give us notes all week long and Fridays she would quiz us on the weeks work and have us turn in our notes for grading. It forced us to take good notes and an awesome resource for at home :D

  2. absolutely love the idea about using pen/pencil for what is student entered and what is given. I've been trying to perfect my math notebooks for three years now and love your ideas!

  3. Love this!!! This will be my first year teaching middle school and teaching Math 6th and 7th. I'm excited to try this out!