Every year one of the things I need to prepare for my students is a system for keeping track of their work. They need paper to work on and a place to put everything when it’s done. My system uses pretty basic school supplies, but it bears mentioning here.
For our daily morning work, we use inexpensive composition books. Our daily rhythm this year will involve recording the weather (writing down the temperatures and drawing a little picture of the sun), our daily dictation sentence and a math problem or two. These things will all go into these composition books — a page for each day.
For regular main lesson work, the students will work on loose leaf paper that I keep in the classroom. When their work is finished it will go into this binder. Last year I used divider tabs to mark sections for drafts, dictations, and math practice. At the end of each block we pulled out all of the work pertaining to that block, stapled it together and put it in the front of that block’s main lesson book. It was a pretty good system, and I think I’ll use it again this year.
For our math practice, we’ll use regular spiral notebooks similar to these. This is the first year we’ll be using this system for math practice so I plan on being really clear with the students about the formatting of their work. With my last class I sometimes found that students tended to be sloppy and either squeeze too much work onto one page or spread their work out too much, writing too large and leaving lots of white space. I’ll give some conscious attention to helping my students find the happy medium.
I’ve mentioned these pencils before but they are definitely worth mentioning again. Ticonderoga bills these pencils as The World’s Best Pencil which sounds like a pretty big claim, but it is absolutely true. I have tried buying the discount pencils you can find in the large office stores, but it is definitely worth spending a little extra to get these. They don’t break. They write smoothly and the erasers work really well. Your students will use them until they are tiny little stubs. Worth the money.
If there is a pencil I like even better than Ticonderoga’s regular pencil, it is this special black one that they make. They write even smoother and the erasers work even better. We love them. I usually indulge in these pencils a couple times a year and the children guard them well, so they last.