1. TABLE OF CONTENTS (TOC) IS A MUST!!! Any time a page is added to the notebook, students must add it to their TOC and they must number the newest pages. I started out checking to be sure that everyone is doing this as asked of them and most do; however, I have found that my highly unmotivated students do not always do this. It has resulted in pretty useless notebooks, because these have also been the students to miss a lot of school. Their notebooks are often incomplete, in the wrong order, and impossible to search due to missing page numbers. I have gone the lengths of having a few students redo their notebooks to make them useful. Its easiest to start out strong and do occasional checks just to be sure the TOC and page numbers are being maintained. If you have any ideas on how to keep frequently absent kids caught up with the foldables, please share below. An occasional absence is not a big deal, but chronic absenteeism does become overwhelming, as we all know in all facets of education.
2. REQUIRE THE NOTEBOOKS BE BROUGHT TO CLASS DAILY! We may not use the notebooks everyday, but my students know it has to be there regardless. This policy ensures that students are learning to use it as a reference, even when not adding to it. I have colleagues that keep the interactive notebooks in bins in the classroom, but I require students to keep the notebook with them. I encourage and give incentives when students use their ISN (notebook) for help on homework, while studying, and to help others or teach at home. Parents love to see the notebooks. Many have commented on the topics they have learning about, just by browsing through their child's notebook.
3. PROVIDE ART SUPPLY BASKETS AND MULTIPLE TRASH CANS!! I provide a bucket of art supplies for every 3-4 students. This works out well in terms of getting the supplies they need without trying to share with too many people. In the art buckets, students can find glue sticks, liquid glue, markers, colored pencils, crayons, and scissors. My more artsy students to often bring their own decorative pens and markers, but the bucket works for most. I also provide an identical empty bucket for trash and scraps. Students can throw any paper scraps in the bucket and then one person from the group with dump the bucket into the large classroom trash at the end of the period. This prevents 2 problems:
1. Students are not constantly getting out of their seats to take stuff to the trash.
2. Students are not just throwing trash into the art bucket.
Now, at first I did not have the trash buckets. I added them later as both of the above became problems. I d have to emphasize that trash does not go in the art bucket, and when we have extra time in one class or another, we spend that reorganizing and throwing out junk art supplies. When not in use, the two buckets can be stacked together to save space.
I'm sure there are other procedures that I stick to, I will add them as I remember. I will add pictures soon. Feel free to comment with your own helpful hints.