Friday, August 7, 2015

Few Time I've Been Around That TRACK!

Hi All! Before the new school year starts I wanted to share some of my smooth sailing organizational tips for the upper elementary grades. You can read about the first one here--all about desk organization happiness. Today, I want to share how my students keep up with their notes.

We use binders. I've never jumped on the interactive notebook wagon even though I definitely try and make our math binder as interactive as possible. We take notes and log them in our handy-dandy note tracker! This is the reference guide that students can use throughout the year--when they are working on homework, reviewing, or needing a quick refresher. We simply log our note info on the tracker (date, title of notes/subject, and the number of note) and make sure that the "note number" is in the top right corner of their notes. Everything is kept in order and I have surprise binder checks throughout the grading period and a graded one at the end of the term.




WHY? Do I Do This??? Sometimes I ask myself why at the beginning of the school year. There are several reasons and it makes for such a smoother school year.

Organization. I really feel students need some solid organizational skills--even the brainiacs. I've found that sometimes my most gifted learners struggle so so much with organization and their brains think so much differently. It's a good skill to have and we work on organization for the real world. Another bonus is having a note tracker keeps me organized.

When students are absent they can get information from each other instead of hounding me for every little thing (WIN!). My students who are absent will find a friend and we will make copies of notes and go over the lesson the missed during a spare moment. It's a great way to not fall behind!

We all need those pat-on-the-back do-a-Beyonce-dance kind of moments and looking at a full note tracker at the end of a term definitely qualifies. Sometimes when I need to brush up on tips and tricks I model looking back in my binder and guess what my sixth grader's do when they have a questions--first they look in their notes! It saves my sanity and they are using tools, skills, and resources to answer their own questions! Cheers to everyone!



Just some pointers:
I refresh my reference pages every term. It's nice to have a blank slate every once in a while. BUT still keep track of your numbers--it's cool to see how much you accomplish in a school year!

I love using colorful paper--it makes it stand out from the notes-and it's just another tool to keep things organized. Also, this isn't science but I've found my kiddos LOVE colored paper and treasure it more than plain old white paper. But I'm crazy, color-biased, and I tend to influence my students on this factor so I can't call it fact but I can call it a pretty solid observation.

HOLE PUNCH. Invest in a good one. I've also found that at estate sales (dead people have the best things!) I can find really sturdy office supplies and hole punches are one thing that I scoop up. So if you have an estate sale loving mom, aunt, or second cousin have them grab a couple 3 whole punchers for ya! This is keep to keeping things together.






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