I introduce the science notebook on the very first day of school, if I happen to have a notebook from a previous student, I show the students that notebook. Since I have notebooks for everyone already, I'll hand them one that first day. I will let them know how important this one notebook will be for them during the school year. We'll start by setting up the table of contents and then I will tell them how important having page numbers in their notebook will be, since we will need to be able to look things up with their classmates and I'll need to find their work using their table of contents. I will get them started, but homework for the first night of school will be to finish numbering their pages (see Marcarelli's book). I have always had them number pages in their notebooks, but as they went through the year, but she has her students do this first thing in the year. I like this change since it won't be something they have to worry about doing any other time, they'll just have to match it in their table of contents. The other thing is that they can't tear out their pages and it will help keep their notebook in order!!
The second day I will give them the pages for the basics and we'll start putting them into their notebooks. Their homework will be to get the 5 pages of basics into their notebook. If a student doesn't have scissors or clear tape, I will loan them some. The second day is when I will have them make their sample vocabulary card to put into their notebook as well, even though it will be a week or so before they get their first vocabulary words (my students explore and we start our explain in a 5e lesson before getting vocabulary), I just want this in their notebooks since on Monday (we start school on Thursday this year), I'm ready to get into "Picture a Scientist." As they are drawing their scientists, I'll pull each student so I can get their photo taken and that will be ready for Tuesday when we discuss the idea that they are scientists too, they can ask questions, explore, investigate and find answers about the world around them.
On Tuesday, they'll start working on the page about themselves as scientists...and I'll introduce their assignment for the cover of their notebooks. I have an assignment sheet and rubric for them. I have a model for them to look at, plus I will make one for myself at the same time they are working on theirs. They will receive a piece of construction paper precut to meet the size of their notebook cover. I have a lot of old National Geographic magazines and other science type magazines. We'll spend a few days going through those looking for photos and cutting them out during part of class time and they'll have about a week and a half to finish it at home and get it back to class. Again, if a student needs some materials I will provide them. That is how I'm getting started this year. I'd love to be able to keep on the track that I have set up because that means with a week, I'll be ready to get started with my science content.
If you'd like a copy of the assignment sheet for the notebook cover, with rubric, let me know, I'll email it to you unless I can figure out how to add it to this blog.