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Organizing Foldables for Students

I’ve been asked, “How do you use the eight-page bound-book-style Foldables* in class instruction?” and, “How do I get my students to stay organized?”  Here’s a look at how I proceed.  Usually on the second or third day of school my students bring a blank composition book to class. I often buy about 20 of these for those who forget or can’t afford the materials.  I make a small label for each student to complete and I bring a stack of scrap-booking paper cut into half sheets.  Students pick a sheet that “speaks to them.”  They glue the colored paper to the composition book, then glue the completed label on top of the colorful sheet. Then, we use 2-inch wide clear packing tape and cover the entire front of the book with about 5 strips of tape.  The tape is trimmed neatly around the front cover and we are now ready to create our very own Algebra 2 (Pre-Calculus) Journal on our journey in mathematics.  Here’s my personal copy for this school year.

The next thing we do is create four pages that will be the Table of Contents for each quarter. I like to keep my Foldable (R) on one page and glue my homework to the back of the sheet. Yes, the book grows thicker exponentially, but it’s all good. Here you can see that I’m highlighting my homework assignments.
Here’s a shot of the first Unit 1 Foldable (R) for Properties of Real Numbers, completed and glued in place.  I copy each unit on a different color of paper, then students know unit 1 from unit 2 based on the colors.

I do not grade their books, though I know some teachers in my school do. Each year I have a few of my students that prefer to handle the documents every day.  I recommend that they bring a large gallon-sized ziplock bag in which to store their Foldables (R) and help them to stay organized. Students are excited to keep up with their personal books and find great delight and care in not missing a single example. I have students email and visit from college and tell me they still have their Foldables (R) or how they used their books in College Algebra or Calculus for refreshers of things long forgotten.


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