Any time I've ever attempted notebooks in the classroom, I end up giving up on them and they go home mostly blank. Mostly blank notebooks make me feel like a failure. It's a professional embarrassment. So, to avoid the trauma, I just don't do them.
But next year, I have to. New team composition, new ideas. One team member really wants to try an interactive science notebook. I really want to do lap books. The compromise is notebook for science, lap book for social studies- reevaluate at end of year. And we're all going to try Words Their Way, and apparently you need a notebook for that.
I'd probably have been fine if I hadn't had a conversation about notebooks with my daughter. But I did. She brought home all her notebooks from third grade, and gave me the run down on each one. You know what phrase she kept saying over and over? "What's the point?"
So here I am, already a hot mess when it comes to notebooks, and my girly has confirmed my inner fears. If kids are feeling this way about notebooks- then they are probably telling their parents. And even if they aren't, the whole point of the notebook is to help the student, yeah? But are we helping with these things?
Don't just take my word for it:
Squirt on blank pages
Squirt on what she had to write inside them
Squirt on storage
*horrors* Squirt on Word Study
Squirt on her future plans
I can tell myself I'm just being silly when it's only me thinking it in my head. But hearing my daughter say it - FREAKING OUT.
Which, I suppose, is a silly thing to do. But notebooks are like, a thing teachers DO. Are we all failing at them, even if we think we're cool with it? How do you make a notebook useful, necessary, interesting, and worth keeping? If you can't, if it's not meant for that, then WHY are we bothering?
Somebody weigh in. Let's get real.