Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Interactive Notebook Rubric

I've never graded notebooks.  At first, I thought 8th graders could handle their papers.  Some can.  Others have a paperwork vortex trailing after them like Pigpen's dirt cloud.  To make this interactive notebook work, kids have to buy in to making a good notebook AND keeping it up all year.  After all, there are no replacements to your unique work.

As such, I decided I needed a rubric to use.  While I was writing it, I got super excited that my criteria all started with C and sounded awesome together.  Here are the 3 Cs of a good notebook!  A good notebook is Complete, Correct, and Considered.  :)

Complete- Students aren't going to find their notebooks useful if they're missing pages or if pages are only partially filled out.  Just like your favorite story wouldn't be the same with a few paragraphs or pages missing, a notebook won't tell the whole story if it's not finished.

Correct- We're talking about math here, people.  Math is easy to get wrong; just ask anyone who has forgotten to borrow when subtracting or misplaced a decimal.  Math is also easy to fix.  Check your work, find your errors, and correct them.  Mission accomplished.

Considered- A big part of the Interactive Notebook is the left side where students interact with the material in their own way.  They must consider the lessons and offer their interpretation of the lesson through problem sets, journaling, study aids, illustrations, and the like.  See my post here for an updated list of 22 such assignments. 

I'd love some feedback on this rubric.  Am I missing anything that you would consider vital?  My goal is to be able to check a notebook in just a couple of minutes, so I wanted something quick.  I'll spot-check pages we did together and read through the left sides.  There's one large rubric that explains everything and a dozen mini rubrics that only list point values. 

Do you grade notebooks?  If so, what's your favorite method?  If not, why not?

Mathematically yours,
Miss B


  1. I really like the format you used for keeping track of the notebook checks. Thanks for sharing.

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  3. I like to give the students the chance to grade their notebooks first. Second time around, their classmate grades it. I grade it after that.

    1. I was planning to do self-evaluation the first time around by asking students to fill out rubric #1 in pencil. I'll go back and use pen to give my feedback.

      Have you found that it helps students to have peers grade their notebooks? I'm never so sure about peer grading.

  4. Now that you've had it for a year, how did this rubric work for you? Also, did you grade them during class, or did you have a night where everyone left their notebook at school so you could grade?

    1. Hi Kaitlin,

      I think this rubric worked pretty well for me. I will go back and take out the references to vocabulary lists because I didn't do that part. Otherwise, I felt like students understood the criteria and were mostly successful at maintaining their notebooks in the way I expected.

      I would designate a week to collect notebooks and ask students to leave them each night. I usually just took volunteers each day and it tended to work out that I would have about 20 each night. Early in the year, it took me about 4-5 minutes per notebook. As the year progressed, I was able to skim through more quickly. I don't choose to grade things in class unless I'm doing a quick right/wrong on an exit ticket, though I've heard of many teachers who grade notebooks on days they'll be giving lengthy tests.

      Thanks for asking!