Spiral notebooks

I require the students to own spiral binders. I give one out to each student on the first day. (I teach five classes. Each has 40 students. I can get spiral binders for about $0.30 each if I’m lucky. You do the math.)

Students do primary work on right-hand pages (of spiral binder) only. This is for notes and homework. Left-hand pages are for miscellaneous: arithmetic, drawings, quick tables, other real-time work, etc.

On the homework log — a separate piece of paper — students track a month’s worth of homework. I examine it at the beginning of each period. Each student. Every day.

I travel with an assistant who mans the stamp. I announce the number of points. If the points are fewer than 10, I also announce a code or codes explaining why they missed points. (There is a legend on the back of the homework log.) The assistant stamps the homework and the log. At the end of the week, I do all this and record the number of points for the week.

It’s a lot of work, but in an organized class I can do it in about six minutes. I will not visit a student twice or wait for them to get their things out.


5 responses to “Spiral notebooks

  1. Each right-hand page (Cornell Notes format) has room at the bottom for a summary. Box in left margin of summary is for parent initials, indicating complete status of assignment.

    1) Notes from day: student knew what went on in class, student demonstrated sample from class.

    2) Homework: student showed written-down HW along with each problem and honest attempt to complete each. If HW is not complete, student has written question for each incomplete problem.

  2. Consequences for missing initials:

    1) Notes: come in during lunch and call home

    2) HW: come in and do HW during lunch

  3. Summary from day’s notes:


    What did you Do?
    What did you Learn?
    What was Interesting?
    What Questions do you still have?

  4. Other exercises for the left-hand page: “drafts” of problems, illustrations, spelling attempts, drafts of DLIQ, …

  5. Top-right of every right-hand page:

    [teacher name]

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