Recently Emily sent me a message with a great question. I put that out to the fabulous teachers on my Facebook Page last week and we got some great responses. Emily asked, “Next year I will be working with a partner teacher to teach 4 subjects. Our kids are only allowed to carry binders and we want to use Interactive Notebooks for all four subjects. How do we encourage kids to carry them because 4 composition books is too much and spirals might fall apart?” Over the course of about 24 hours we had some great conversations and I know that Emily appreciated what other teachers shared with her.
Through the teachers responses it was determined that an overwhelming majority use spirals of some sort with multiple subjects. Mead Five Star (WOOT!) was recommended as well as using 3-subject or 5-subject notebooks to be able to keep things concise. That being said there were still a couple of teachers who use composition notebooks for the various subjects. But more than using multiple composition books there were a few teachers who suggested using a larger binder (or even a Trapper Keeper) to contain all of the information for various classes. There are benefits and issues with each of these types of organization and you really have to choose what is not only best for you as the teacher but also for your students. Cost might be a deterrent as well but you can always create a Donor’s Choose project to help with that!
Another suggestion that I would like to add is that you could easily use pronged folders for each subject. They are fairly cheap and once you finish a unit you can take out that unit information, place it into a binder and then start your next unit. Carrying 4 folders around would be easy for students and then having the other information in their binders (or a portfolio in the classroom) would allow them to reference the materials as needed.
I have used pronged folders for students as an accommodation before when spiral notebooks were too overwhelming. They are able to keep just what they need together in one folder. Definitely a great way to help out some of your learners who get easily overwhelmed.
So, what have you done to aid in using multiple Interactive Notebooks in your classroom or across multiple classrooms?