Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Spirals from Dad

My Dad was always very proud of the fact that my niece and I both became teachers.  He would often introduce me as his "schoolteacher daughter".  Each summer, when the back-to-school sales started, he would buy my niece and me each a massive box of spiral notebooks and boxes and boxes and boxes of crayons.  It was his thing.  I was always thrilled to have the crayons, but I never had any idea what to do with the spirals!

My Dad
When I started reading teaching blogs, I came across Step Into Second Grade with Mrs. Lemons. She posted about how she uses spirals during math.  I loved the idea, so that's what I started doing too.

Now that Dad is gone, I've made it a tradition to buy new spirals every year. He'd be happy to know that, I think!

My spirals are simple.  We don't have a table of contents or bookmarks.  I knew if I made the spirals too complicated, it would stress me out and I wouldn't want to use them.

I do model how I want each activity to look so that the spirals end up being a neat, helpful resource that students can refer to.

Last year, one of my students kept asking if he could take his spiral home for the weekend to look at. He earnestly promised to return it on Monday!

Sometimes, I just have the students take notes.  Other times we do interactive notebook activities. Blair Turner's activities are definitely my favorites!

Here are a few photos of activities we've done in our spirals.

I'm sure I'm not tapping the full potential of the spiral notebook. Any suggestions? Do you use interactive notebooks during math or language arts?  Leave me a note in the comments. I'd love to hear about it. Thanks for stopping by. 


  1. I love that you have kept the tradition of buying the spirals :) I have interactive notebooks for math, reading, and science, so we use lots of spirals in my room!


  2. Those spirals look great! I know you're dad would truly be proud! I love the picture of him!!! How blessed we are to have simple photos to remember our loved ones! I saw some of my old pictures of Al the other day and had a swarm of memories of him surface, then, not gloomy thoughts, but just, man, I really miss him!, thoughts.
    So I appreciate how you have woven your dad's memory into your classroom, and keep writing blogs! I really enjoy reading them!