Perspectives on Notebooking: High School Science

May 5, 2016 Posted by LaVonda Popp

So you teach science and, “Yay!,” -fist bump- you even teach high school science (Biology, Chemistry, IPC, Physics, etc.). Congratulations, because you have one of the best jobs EVER! And you feel like this every single day you walk in the classroom, right? I know, I’ve been there, and some days you just want to run screaming out of your classroom. Students lose their notes, didn’t bring an assignment, whine about taking notes, and, quite frankly, just don’t want to be in class. That’s anyclass, not just your class. How do you engage them? How do you get that ownership of knowledge? How do you promote accountability? Organization? Well ……………. have you tried using Notebook Foldables®?


It might be a life-changing experience, not only for you, but also for your students. Just the visual, kinesthetic part is enough to get them to at least pay attention – and you will take anything, even a couple of minutes, right? – but then, THEN when they realize you are providing them with a tool to make learning purposeful and meaningful, all of a sudden you are “The Bomb Dot Com” and they love coming to your class. Now, don’t get me wrong, they don’t really care if it is purposeful and meaningful, but they do, for the most part, understand that at some point in time they will need to be able to remember or be able to retrieve the knowledge you are bestowing upon them.


Notebooking–an overview

In my 18 years in the secondary classroom, I tried a multitude of methods to get a little student buy-in. A lot of student buy-in was just too much to hope for. Enter Notebook Foldables.A composition book (cheap is good), scissors (as long as they cut paper), glue (liquid, not stick), paper (whatever is free or the budget allows). Supplies are easy. Teaching your students the fast food five folds – hamburger, hotdog, taco, burrito, and shutter (think the drive-thru window). Know your objectives. Do the Notebook Foldable before you try to teach your students how to do it. As Dinah says, “close enough is good enough”, so don’t worry about perfectly creased paper or perfectly cut tabs. Let your class come up with a gluing mantra – that’s what you say when they start to actually use the glue, like “dot, dot, not a lot”, so okay that one may be better for elementary students. If your students are at the level where they appreciate a little sarcasm, try “oozers are losers” or “glob, glob, don’t be a slob”. No, they will not want to say it aloud, but you can watch their lips move and they will say it to themselves, at least until they realize that a dot or fine line of glue is enough to stick a piece of paper to another piece of paper.

                   High School Science

Notebook Foldables help students organize information

You have the basics out of the way. Now comes the best part – determining how to format the Notebook Foldable so you have the main idea on the “front and center” and each time a tab is created the knowledge goes to a deeper, more detailed level. You don’t have to be one of those creative types to get this, just think logically. You want your students to think logically, albeit that is almost impossible for high school students. It’s easy to use the Notebook Foldables book and the cd to create one to print out. If you don’t have time to format your own, don’t worry! That’s when you can use Notebooking Central® black line masters. (woohoo!) All you have to do is determine the level of knowledge your students need and guide them in putting information under (or on the back, side, etc.) of the tab. Once you have the notebook foldable, it is just a matter of creating an anchor tab to anchor it to the notebook paper because you will use the composition book (or spiral, or notebook) paper as part of the foldable.

                                                   …like one student said,
                                                      “it’s like my filing cabinet”.

Keep it simple

You start with one or two folds, then graduate to more. The composition book (spiral, 3-ring, or whatever you are using as your ISN) really becomes a personalized textbook, or, like one student said “it’s like my filing cabinet”. Wait – WHAT? A filing cabinet, that’s right, because the student’s notes are organized and everything stays together in one place. Organization, that’s something else fairly foreign to a high school student.

Notebook Foldables® via Notebooking Central® titles. Just try it, you’ll like it. More importantly, so will your students.