Every year I seem to debate what I am going to use for my notebooks. I stuck with regular spiral lined notebook for years. The problems with those notebooks were, while easy to get a hold of and cost is minimal, they fall apart, the spirals can be tangled, kids tear out pages, and they were not graph paper. Graph paper spirals came into my life with the Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy. Our first notebooks were NOT graph paper, the second year we asked if we could get those and bam...there they were.
I love the graph paper notebooks!! It's easier for students to draw charts and graphs, it's makes it all so much neater. For a few years I stuck with the spiral graph paper notebooks. I would love to get the same kind that we use with MEMTA, but those tend to be quite pricey if you are not buying them in huge bulk. But, if price is not an issue, they are great. The hard covers keep them neat, the spirals don't seem to pull apart and you can have the cover designed with your school logo. Those are made by Journal Books. My all time favorite notebook is from Doane Paper Not only do they have graph paper lines, they have regular notebook paper lines! I've purchased a few, again, too expensive to ask my students to purchase, and have torn out a few pages just to have my students write with, they do so GREAT with the double type of lines. I guess these are my dream notebooks. If I could find a grant that would get me enough money to purchase one for each student (I've applied for a few), I'd use these notebooks.
So what do I use? I have been using the graph paper composition books for a few years. The pluses, they stay together better than the spirals and kids can't tear the pages out easily. The minuses, the pages are smaller than regular sized notebooks and these notebooks can be hard to find. I get them at Staples and this past week I found them on sale for 77 cents each, yep 77 cents. That's $2.02 off the regular price. I bought 45 since I don't know who will be in my class and I know that will be enough for all my students this year (I hope). I figured each parent can use that kind of savings at this time a year and I can afford to get these so we are ready to go the very first day of school. So, if you have a Staples near by go and check. I don't know if the price is dropping for good, though I doubt it is.
If you need to refer to a book on the idea of science notebook selection and set up Science Notebooks Writing about Inquiry is a great resource. I think of this as the basic book about getting started with science notebooks with your students. Brian Cambpell and Lori Fulton take the time to explain the philosophy of notebooking, student samples, and what to consider when setting up notebooks with students. In my next blog, I'll write about setting up notebooks and what I've done to prepare for this coming school year.