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Using Dry Erase Pockets for Notebook Checks

Every year, I do notebook checks a bit differently. Some years I grade them. Some years I forgo grading them. Every time I choose that route, I end up regretting it. Last year, I did spot checks of random skills in notebooks every two weeks or so. This year, I’ve decided to only check notebooks once per unit.

using dry erase pockets for notebook checks

We just finished our first full unit in Algebra 1, so it was time for our first notebook check of the year. Yes, I realize that I should be farther than this seeing as we’re almost 25% of the way through the school year. I’m hoping to pick up the speed after we finish solving equations and inequalities. Last year, I spent the entire last quarter of the school year on data and probability which was a bit overkill. So, I know I can condense that into a few weeks and try to still get through everything this year. Even though we’re moving slower than I would have hoped in Algebra 1, I do think my kids are in a much better place than they were last year at this point.

Anyhow…back to notebook checks!

This year, I am checking every single page in the unit at once. I assign each page a number of points based on how time-consuming it was. I grade pretty harshly on this. If it isn’t glued in, no points. For a one point page, no points if it isn’t finished. For a multiple point page, partial points are given according to how finished it is.

notebook check form inside dry erase pocket

To help keep my sanity, I typed up a pretty excel spreadsheet to list every page and its point value. Then, I printed it off and slid it into one of my dry erase pockets.


dry erase pockets

I cannot imagine teaching math without my dry erase pockets! They instantly make any activity more engaging and save me countless hours at the copy machine since I can use the same class sets of copies year after year.

Here are my current go-to recommendations:

If you don’t have a classroom set of dry erase pockets, you could also use heavy duty sheet protectors. But, I highly recommend investing in a classroom set of the pockets since they are so much more durable.

I typically grade notebooks while students are taking a quiz or doing an independent practice activity. I call kids up to my desk one at a time for their notebook check. Then, I flip through their notebook a page at a time while they watch. Anytime I dock them for points for something, I explain how they can avoid losing points in the future.

notebook check form inside dry erase pocket

This method feels much more “fair” than previous notebook checking methods I’ve used in the past.

More Interactive Notebook Resources

Renaissance Teacher

Friday 13th of October 2017

I've never been a big fan of things like notebook grades, because the grade has nothing to do with knowing the content. What about students who know the content very well but are just messy note takers? Do you make allowances for SPED/504 kids whose disability may make keeping an organized notebook particularly difficult?


Wednesday 11th of October 2017

Wow! You are a genius. Love this idea! :) Thank you for sharing!


Tuesday 10th of October 2017

Once you have written down the grades, do you just record them and erase? Then call up the next student?

thanks :) I'm still trying to figure out how I want to do notebook checks this year.

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