Composition notebooks have it ALL going on. They are small, have hard covers, there is no wire to catch on an unwary sweater or create little jagged edges that flitter about when I'm collecting work. They are cheap. You can cover them with stickers or duct tape.
Mostly I love how sturdy and compact they are.
I also love that I found a new use for them this week. I occasionally tutor students. I've tried a few different ways of keeping my students' work organized, like folders or binders, but haven't been happy with the way that folders seem to get destroyed and papers in them crinkled. I decided that I'd like a central place to keep everything my current student needs in one location. Enter the composition notebook.
Each day we meet I write a "Bigger Brain to-do list" so that he can keep track of what he needs to work on for the coming week. You can get your free copy of the to-do list shown here for FREE!! (just click here).
This particular kiddo needs to work on fact fluency, so I give him lots of games (Math Pickle, anyone?). The directions aren't always easy to remember, so I always glue them onto a page in the notebook. Then I paperclip any activity sheets needed right to the page as well. Below is a picture of the instructions and activity sheets for the perimeter game I blogged about here.
I love word sorts, which are great for kids that need a boost with phonemic awareness (especially big kids!). Speed sorts are part of the homework I give, and here my current student wrote down his times for me from his last speed sort. It will be fun to look back at his times at the end of summer.
Lastly, I like to keep anecdotal notes from when he reads short stories or articles to me. I keep the notes right in his notebook; I read him what I write each time, so that he knows what he is doing well and what he needs to work on next. I don't have to try to keep track of my notes on him.
Some of my favorite uses for comp notebooks besides tutoring are Reader's Notebooks (or reading journals), free-write journals, math notebooks, poetry notebooks, science journals, and student/teacher communication books.
Do you use composition notebooks in your classroom? What are your favorite ways to use them?