Friday, August 2, 2013

Getting Started With Notebooking!

Hey Science Friends,
One of the most asked questions I have gotten over the years has been about Science Notebooking in Kindergarten. No matter the year this seems to be one of the most lingering questions. I have had many questions myself about notebooking in Kindergarten. We all wonder what is the best notebook? What in the world is inside and most important how in the world do we do this with Kindergarten? Over the last several years I have played around with different ideas and discovered things I like and things I don't. I have tried and failed and tried again and probably again more times than I am willing to admit. But I never gave up on the idea of incorporating Science Notebooks in Kindergarten...successfully.
I am currently working on a yearlong unit of notebooking so this is a hot topic on my mind right now. And if you are considering notebooking with your class this year now is the best time to start thinking and planning a few things and set yourself up for success. Now is the best time to decide WHAT the Science notebook will look like in your classroom. You have options. And you might as well get the materials on the cheap when they are on sale, right? But before you buy be sure and think about a few things because you will probably be using them for an entire year.
So, what are the options?

Spirals can be used for notebooking!
They are cheap.
They come in different colors.
They have lots of pages.
They have a large surface area to record.
You can hold a pencil in the spiral.
You can glue, tape or staple things inside.
They have a sturdy cover and back.
They lay flat on the table.
They have writing lines...but they are small especially for Kindergarten.
Her Own Terms: Inside the Composition Book: The Stories We Tell
Composition books can be used for notebooking!
They are affordable when on sale but you have to hunt for sales and act quick!
They come in different colors.
They are more expensive than spirals.
They are smaller in size.
They have plenty of pages.
You can glue, tape, staple things inside.
They have a sturdy cover and back.
They do not always lay flat on the table.
They have writing lines...but they are small for Kindergarten.
You can find them with Kinder writing lines but they are more expensive. Two Pocket Folders with 3 Fasteners 9"" x 11.5"" Case
Folders can be used for notebooking!
They are cheap!
They come in different colors.
They have built in pockets.
They have brads to hold paper.
They are not as sturdy as spirals or composition books.
You can use a folder per unit study because they are affordable if you get them on sale.
You can glue, tape, staple things inside.
They lay flat on the table.
You can determine the type of paper that goes inside.
Paper Supplies
Teacher made notebooks can be used for notebooking!
Construction paper is cheap.
It comes in lots of colors.
They are not as sturdy but could be laminated.
You can make different notebooks per unit study.
You can easily make different sizes and shapes.
They lay flat on the table.
You can glue, tape, staple things inside.
You can determine what type of paper that goes inside.
Jr. High
Three ring binders can be used for notebooking!
You can get them on sale but they are the most expensive option here.
You might be able to use them for several years.
They come in lots of colors.
They are sturdy.
They lay flat.
They stand up!
They have pockets.
They hold a lot.
You can glue, tape, staple things inside.
You determine what type of paper goes inside.
Once you have decided on the type of notebook you will use you are well on your way but one more thing to consider in...orientation. Yes, I said it...orientation. This is just something to consider based on many years of notebooking with Kindergarten. First, there is no right or wrong here. This is all about considering what is best for you and your style of teaching. The more consideration and thought that is given in the planning and preparing for notebooking the more likely you will stick with it...just trust me here without explanation. Like I said, there is not right or wrong.
I guess your next question is going to be what are YOU going to use this year. I knew it was coming. I have tried them all and I love and hate each one for different reasons so let's break it down on the deciding factors for my personal choice. First, I have tried them all. But this year I am using spirals primarily and at special times in the year I may use teacher made paper ones. I know you will ask why, so here we go! Folders are too flimsy for repeated use and I do not want to buy a million of them or decide how many and what colors I need. That's too much for me to deal with. Composition books have too small of a surface area for Kinder writing in my opinion and they do not lay flat. Composition books are more expensive than spirals. Binders are too expensive for me even if I can use them for several years. I suppose I can't commit to loving them for that long. So it is a spiral for me. And as for the orientation...landscape. If you know me you knew it was coming. My primary reason for landscape is because the lines in the spirals are too small for Kinder writing so if you turn it landscape orientation then you eliminate that problem. If I have something to go inside the notebook and it is portrait orientation, we just flip it and just keep big deal.
This will get you thinking for sure. Stay tuned for Notebooking 102!
See you soon Science Friends!


  1. My brain just exploded with all those choices and wonderfully reasoned explanations. I am now suffering from decision fatigue.... think I will wait for the next post.... but spirals are looking good. I haven't even seen a composition book here in Brisbane, Australia. Thanks for the great post!

  2. Ooooh! I can't wait for the next installment. I'm NEW to Kg, in my 32nd year of teaching!! AND...I'm a Reading/ELA teacher from 4-5 grades. I've taught Science 2 & 1/2 years of all my teaching career. Help me, Miss Hypothesis!
    P.S. I'm ALLLLL about a notebook because of my writing background!

  3. I am a MS Science teacher turned stay-at-home mom. My oldest dauggter is almost three & a half and I started a science notebook with her last year. Science is every where & we record what we do and things we see. Even observing air in balloons when we blow them up then deflate them. It's amazing to me to see her look back at the pages she has completed and talk to me about it or finish coloring something. It's awesome! What I wish my middle school kiddos would have done. I bought a science folder kit from Mailbox that is for grades 1&2. She can't do the writing of course but I'm easily able to adapt it to her level. She loves to cut, sort & paste. Sorry this is so long but I just LOVE science notebooks!

  4. I am going back to Kinder after 5 years teaching prek ese. I never **liked** science. (try not to hate me), but after bringing tons of non-fiction into my class and seeing how the kids reacted - I'm a convert!!
    so...I need help. I really hope to see your science notebook pack - soon! I need all the help I can get (ps - I really hope you are planning easy to complete pages that can be glued into the spiral notebook and completed by the kids that would be fabulous!)

  5. I love the idea of starting Science notebooks!!! I will have approximately 40 Kinders this year, so I might try the folders and notebook paper option... Hmmm.... decisions! :)
    Crayons and Curls



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