Math = Love: Using Dry Erase Pockets for Notebook Checks

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Using Dry Erase Pockets for Notebook Checks

Every year, I do notebook checks a bit differently. Some years I grade them. Some years I forgo grading them. Every time I choose that route, I end up regretting it. Last year, I did spot checks of random skills in notebooks every two weeks or so. This year, I've decided to only check notebooks once per unit.

We just finished our first full unit in Algebra 1, so it was time for our first notebook check of the year. Yes, I realize that I should be farther than this seeing as we're almost 25% of the way through the school year. I'm hoping to pick up the speed after we finish solving equations and inequalities. Last year, I spent the entire last quarter of the school year on data and probability which was a bit overkill. So, I know I can condense that into a few weeks and try to still get through everything this year. Even though we're moving slower than I would have hoped in Algebra 1, I do think my kids are in a much better place than they were last year at this point.

Anyhow...back to notebook checks!

This year, I am checking every single page in the unit at once. I assign each page a number of points based on how time-consuming it was. I grade pretty harshly on this. If it isn't glued in, no points. For a one point page, no points if it isn't finished. For a multiple point page, partial points are given according to how finished it is.

To help keep my sanity, I typed up a pretty excel spreadsheet to list every page and its point value. Then, I printed it off and slid it into one of my dry erase pockets (affiliate link).

I typically grade notebooks while students are taking a quiz or doing an independent practice activity. I call kids up to my desk one at a time for their notebook check. Then, I flip through their notebook a page at a time while they watch. Anytime I dock them for points for something, I explain how they can avoid losing points in the future.

This method feels much more "fair" than previous notebook checking methods I've used in the past.


  1. Once you have written down the grades, do you just record them and erase? Then call up the next student?

    thanks :) I'm still trying to figure out how I want to do notebook checks this year.

  2. Wow! You are a genius. Love this idea! :) Thank you for sharing!

  3. I've never been a big fan of things like notebook grades, because the grade has nothing to do with knowing the content. What about students who know the content very well but are just messy note takers? Do you make allowances for SPED/504 kids whose disability may make keeping an organized notebook particularly difficult?