When creating math and science notebooks with your students there are 5 things (among many) I think are necessary to consider from the get-go:
At my school 4th grade is departmentalized so I keep a notebook for each of my math classes (so I have a total of three). I fill in my notebook at the same time as my students, modeling how I want students to fill it in. It is also useful in case students are absent, though I normally have another student fill in an absent student's notebook. Just in case I forget...
Color--why not??! You want the students to take ownership of their notebooks so let them personalize it by using color! (And, yes, they have the potential to
go a little crazy get carried away with color.) If you are able to, print charts, graphic organizers, notes pages, etc. on color. Color is a powerful stimulus for the brain!!!! It helps them learn!!
This WILL help. Students WILL appreciate it, YOU will appreciate it. The table of contents in my notebooks include the date, entry title and page number. Each actual entry is dated, the title is written at the top and the page number written at the bottom.
Foldables and minibooks are a super way to reinforce concepts. My students' faces always light up when they see that they get to make some sort of foldable or minibook. I try to be creative and use different kinds each time. Dinah Zike has a few excellent books on foldables.
It's great to have students take notes in your journal, but to step it even more and increase interest/learning, add interactive activities. It can even be as simple as a concentration game in a pocket. My students (in the past) enjoy taking the activities home and using them with parents or siblings.
I hope you enjoyed this post!! Stay tuned for part 2 tomorrow, the Student Contract! (freebie included!) :D