When I was first introduced to the Brain Books they were in a one subject spiral notebook. I quickly found out that I preferred the composition notebook over the spiral. Although there is a bit less space, they are much more durable.
At the beginning of the school year, you can buy these one subject composition notebooks really cheap. I think I found them for a quarter at Wal-Mart which is significantly cheaper than a $3.50 student planner. Because they are so cheap, I went ahead and bought two per student. One notebook lasts for half the year. I allowed my students to personalize their Brain Book. As you can see by the pictures below not all students jumped at this opportunity but, then again, it was up to them.
Beyond writing the objectives we use this same notebook for placing important things that we can refer back to. In the very back, students had their reading record. Other items included word wall words they needed to know, foldables that they made,notes that they had taken, and many other items. If it could fit into the notebook and it served a purpose, they placed it in their book.
During reading if I had a question that I wanted them to answer, I gave them the question and they taped or glued it into their Brain Book. They would simply write the answer to the question right in their Brain Book. When reviewing word wall words, their Brain Book was the place they wrote. When completing a few math problems, their Brain Book was the place where they showed their work.
The perks to using a Brain Book:
- I like that parents see what we are doing in the classroom on a daily basis. They don't have to wait until papers go home.
- It is so easy for me to do a quick check on all my students' work and I don't have to deal with collecting papers.
- There is no question about where they are to write. They know that their notebooks are their "think pads" they write their thoughts.
- They don't have to search in folders or desks for a missing paper, they know that they can find it in their Brain Book.
- I don't hear, "I don't have any paper".
These Brain Books have worked wonders for me. I am so thankful for the opportunity to have seen them at work!