One of the most common questions we get is: "What can I use in the Notebook zone?"
Have no fear - your answer is here!
The Notebook zone is my personal favorite, because it forces students to use the language of math in a meaningful way.
The most common activity in the Notebook zone is for students to solve a problem, and then explain how they solved it.
What does this look like in a classroom? In first grade, Meghan has the awesome privilege of having iPads in her classroom. Students "grab the story problem (there are 2 each week) and scan the QR code. It then reads the story problem to them." If you don't have iPads, there are these buttons where you can record your voice, students press the button, and it plays your voice. Or, you can always go old school and use a tape recorder :)
After students get the story problem, they use a template to "draw the sketch, number bond and number sentence for the story problem." Then they verbally record their thinking -- an explanation of the problem and how they solved it -- using the SeeSaw iPad app.
In third grade, we use journal prompts from K-5 Math Teaching Resources. (On a side note, this website happens to be one one of my all-time favorites for Notebook ideas and Play with Someone games, with tons of free activities organized by standard).
Students glue the prompt to the top of their Notebook page. They leave some work space in the middle, and then they glue a "What I did / Why I did it" t-chart to the bottom. This is where their writing happens.
In fifth grade we get a little more in-depth with the writing we expect. In this example, students have to justify their answer in our place value unit.
Sentence frames and sentence starters are a great support for all students, especially at the beginning of the year when they are just getting used to writing in math.
Other ideas for the Notebook zone?
Last but not least, I leave you with a video done with the students in Kristin's room. Here, we introduce and model a notebook entry. Students copy the example into their Resource Journal to refer to when they do a notebook entry on their own.
Don't forget to check out our Resources section for more Notebook zone help!
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