tl;dr: Let’s put our minds together and brainstorm some math-specific uses for the left side of an Interactive Notebook.
The Interactive Notebook is based on brain research. One key element of the IN is the left/right page dichotomy. The right page is for input and the left is for output. Often, that translates to notes on the right and…something on the left.
In my experience, left pages are much easier to do in science, social studies, and language arts. Those teachers get to give assignments like “write a poem about President Grover Cleveland’s time in office” and “create a chapter test with 10 matching questions”. When doing math Interactive Notebooks, I had 4 go-to left page assignments:
- Highlight meaningfully selected classwork or homework problems. Say we did 10 problems during class on factoring and solving quadratic equations. I’d ask students to divide the page into quarters and choose 4 problems that are distinct in some meaningful way. Students had to write why they chose the problems they did. (Side note: I don’t think the notebook needs every single problem in it that kids solve. They’ll never refer to them again. But how do you manage doing more problems? I’ve seen teachers have a homework folder — the $0.19 ones from the office supply store — that goes home nightly.)
- Create a graphic organizer or mind map of the current studies.
- Create a foldable to illustrate a procedure, an example problem, or whatever else you might use a foldable for.
- Put the daily warmup problem(s) on the LHP (this was probably my favorite use).
My colleague who teaches chemistry suggested having the students use Bloom’s Question Starters to create questions they circle back and answer later. I think there’s a lot of power in this approach. Someone try it in math and let us know how it goes, ok? (I’ll be teaching physics this year, else I would.)
I don’t have the answers here. There’s not enough left page room to do it all. Y’all have asked great questions on Twitter recently about homework, classwork, and the left hand page. Let’s put our minds together and brainstorm some math-specific uses for the left side of an Interactive Notebook. Leave ’em in the comments.