I hope you guys are all enjoying your summers! My summer is coming quickly to an end. I have to report to work on August 7th, and I will have students in my classroom on August 8th. Seeing as tomorrow marks the end of July, I do not have long. I'm excited to go back. I've been missing my students. One of the perks of working in a small school is that I will still get to interact regularly with my students even if I they aren't in my math class this year. The other math teacher's classroom is right across the hall from mine, so I will still see them every day. I can't wait to see their faces when they realize how much algebra they are going to get to use in geometry!

Now, what I haven't done a lot of (or any of) this summer is lesson plans. So, the next week is going to be spent mapping out, in detail, at least the first full unit for each of my three preps - Algebra 1, Algebra 2, and (AP?) Statistics.

This summer, I've focused a lot on learning. 16 days of my summer have been spent at conferences. I've learned a ton about the Common Core State Standards, teaching Pre-AP Math, teaching AP Statistics, and just teaching in general. In a way, it's kind of been information overload. I've learned about using Socrative, Edmodo, Fathom, and TI-Nspire calculators in my classroom. I've learned about how to teach math using M&M's, Barbie Dolls, Tennis Balls, Racquet Balls, Fruit Loops, Nerf Guns, pieces of rope, and other everyday items. I haven't found the time to process most of this new information this summer via my blog, and I regret that. A lot of my blogging is for me. If I don't blog about something, odds are I will forget about it.

I am still amazed today that others find my ramblings useful. With one year of teaching under my belt, I don't feel like I'm anywhere near having this teaching thing figured out. And, I'm not sure I will ever get it figured out. There will always be more to learn, and I don't think I would have it any other way. Over the past few months, I've found lots of questions in my inbox regarding interactive notebooks. Actually, I think searching for information on interactive notebooks is the way most people find my blog. And, you can thank @druinok for that. She kinda made me promise to post lots of pictures of my interactive notebook pages.

So, I thought I should share some of the questions and my answers here in case they were of interest to anybody else. If you have other questions, please leave a comment or click the tab at the top of the page that says "Contact Me." And, when I finally get around to answering the rest of the e-mails that are languishing in my inbox, I'll have another post full of tips for you! (Hopefully this post will motivate me to tackle the rest of my inbox!)

**Interactive Notebook Q & A**

__Question__I am going to use interactive notebooks this year and really love what you've done, but I teach geometry, so I was wondering if you knew anyone, or worked with anyone who has a blog, with as much material and ideas, but in regards to geometry..

Answer

Off the top of my head, I would recommend checking out a blog called Journal Wizard for geometry interactive notebook resources. I've seen SO MANY amazing geometry ideas there lately. You also might want to check out Everybody is a Genius for other interactive notebook resources!

I've tried to collect all of my Geometry findings on this pinterest board in case I ever find myself teaching Geometry. From my pins, it looks like there are quite a few blogs that may feature some Geometry foldables and activities.

__Question__
I have been reading it for the past couple of weeks getting ideas for INB's. I'm super excited about using them in my Algebra 2 classes next year and I'm trying to get a head start on planning.

I see that you use a composition book for your notebooks. How many did you have to use in your Algebra 2 class, or was one composition book enough? I'm new to the INB's and I'm trying to get all my ducks in a row :)

I see that you use a composition book for your notebooks. How many did you have to use in your Algebra 2 class, or was one composition book enough? I'm new to the INB's and I'm trying to get all my ducks in a row :)

Answer

One composition notebook was enough for both my Algebra 1 and Algebra 2 classes. I think the number of notebooks needed depends on exactly what you put in the notebook. I only have my students put notes in their notebook. Other teachers have them do their bellwork and homework in the notebook as well. That takes up a lot more pages. I can see benefits to that approach, but I prefer to reserve our notebook pages for notes. My students know that if something is going in our notebook, it must be important. They have a tendency to remember exactly where they have written everything in their notebook, and they can flip to the needed information in just a few seconds.

__Question__
I have recently been encouraged to do interactive notebooks with my students but I'm not sure how they work and where to start. Do you have any helpful advice for me? I am very interested from your slope posts as to how helpful this would be for my students!

Answer

I would start off by determining what the most important things you want your students to learn from your math course are. Can you turn this information into a graphic organizer or foldable?

Or, can you give the information to your students in note form and have them transform it into a drawing, flow chart, or other sort of representation?

With my Algebra students, I try to have them create one interactive notebook page per lesson. Some lessons are finished in a day and some span a week. I have seen other teachers who have their students create notebook pages every day. Others might only do a page or two per chapter. Megan Hayes-Golding has created a sort of interactive notebook home page that contains links to lots of informative posts on interactive notebooks. I think this would be a great starting place.

When I decided to implement notebooks last summer, the best thing I did was to set down with my textbook and a old, partially used composition notebook. Without really knowing what I was doing, I just started creating pages. There is a definite learning curve, and a lot of the pages I did with my students looked nothing like those first drafts of pages I created during the summer. There are tons of ideas on the internet, and I can't tell you how many pages have been either stolen from or inspired by things I found on the internet.

__Question__
Do you have any suggestions for school supplies that the students will need to bring with them?

Answer

The only supplies that I required my students to bring last year were a composition notebook and something to write with. I provided my students with colored pencils, scissors, glue sticks, markers, tape, notebook paper, graph paper, calculators, rulers, and anything else they needed. One of the reasons I provide so many of my students' supplies is that I teach in a high poverty area. In many schools, these items would probably be provided by the students.

__Question__
Love your math notebooks. Which do you prefer, composition books or binders? I have done the Notebooks for science and social studies both ways but this year I'm doing one for math also.

Answer

I prefer for my students to use composition notebooks. I find that my students are more likely to keep up with a composition notebook than a binder and less likely to steal paper from it for other classes since it is bound. I had several students last year who did use a binder, and that was perfectly fine. I let them choose whatever worked best for them. I also had one class of students that used spiral notebooks instead of the composition notebook.

If your students are already used to carrying a binder, that may be the way to go. That isn't the case in my school. And, I have many students who end up leaving their notebooks in my classroom. The notebooks take up much less space than binders would. I guess there are tons of variables to consider!

__Question__
Did you give your students written instructions on how to set up the interactive notebook? If so, could you post it?

Answer

I didn't give my students written instructions to set up their notebooks. At the beginning of the school year, I would model how I wanted something done and then give them time to complete it in class. We spent one entire class period creating our cover page, gluing in the syllabus, and making the table of contents. I did include some limited information about their interactive notebooks in the syllabus.

__Question__
I am always looking for ways to make students fall in love with my "love". I am very interested in your interactive notebook. Would you please let me in on your tips? I noticed that you use composition notebooks. Do you pre print the notes and have them cut and paste into their notebook? Are they glued in with something like glue sticks? How time consuming is it? For you and the students? (for me ....because I currently have 6 different preps) Were the students already used to this type of notebook? (I just think it's the coolest thing.)

Answer

Composition notebooks are great. The pages are bound and cannot be easily torn out. Spiral notebooks provide more space to write, but their pages can be torn out much more easily. I had several students move in from another teacher's class that ended up using spiral notebooks. I think either can work great. I pre-print the notes and have my students glue them in their notebooks. We use glue sticks, but many other teachers prefer to use scotch tape. I invested in several dozen of those gigantic glue sticks, and they seemed to work quite well. I'll be honest. It's time consuming. I'm pretty sure that my students are the slowest cutters and gluers in the world. But, my students use their notebooks all the time, so it's a price I'm willing to pay. I spent a lot of time preparing stuff for the interactive notebooks last year. I worked late many nights, but it was also my first year of teaching. So, I would have probably been working late whether I was doing interactive notebooks or not. As the year went on, my students became faster at putting things in their notebook, and I became faster at creating notebook pages. I can't imagine having six preps, and I applaud you for that. I have three preps, but I only used the notebooks with two of those preps. My other class got really jealous, though, when they found out that the other classes got to do "arts and crafts." My students were not used to interactive notebooks. This was a new experience for all of us. I did have a student move in part of the way through the year, and he brought his interactive notebook from his old school with him. It was pretty cool!