Freshly Cut Composition Notebooks

I am sooooo ready for the new school year to begin.  I have my new calendar parts and pieces printed and laminated, most of my teaching materials have been moved into the new classroom, and my husband chopped up a fresh batch of half size composition notebooks for me over the weekend.  Life is good!

Someone on TPT asked if the half size notebooks fall apart over time near the sewn binding.  This is a question that has surfaced many times in the past few years.  Actually, I can't complain.  The books have held together very well for me and my former team of eight teachers.  We were using whatever brand we could get our hands on, and we would buy as many as we could when the back to school sales would hit Fred Meyer and Office Depot.  So I am not dedicated to a particular brand when it comes to cutting notebooks.  For the upcoming 2018-19 school year, I am using a mix of leftover comp books from last school year and new ones picked up at Office Depot last week.

The key to my success has been making sure to cut these with a band saw...not a table saw.  Chances are, if you know anyone remotely handy with a garage full of tools, they have either a stand alone band saw or a miniature/mobile version.  What is the difference between a table saw and a band saw?   A table saw features a giant circular blade that comes up from a tabletop.  A band saw has a very find blade that looks like a teeny, tiny hand saw blade.  A band saw looks like this...

Image lovingly borrowed from The Home Depot site.  :)
Here is what the notebooks look like fresh off the band saw.  No editing here, folks.  They were literally cut and tossed into a shopping bag so I can haul them into my classroom next week.
Remember, use a band saw to cut the notebooks.
Over time, the cardboard fluff you see along the edges falls off.  If I were nice, I would take some sandpaper to the edges...but I am all about kids breaking stuff in on their own.  :)

Not wanting to dive into the world of chopping perfectly good composition notebooks?  I have a teacher buddy in a neighboring district using my vocabulary journal entries with her students.  She ran out of classroom funds to purchase composition notebooks and used donated paper to create her own vocabulary booklets!  She got two booklets out of several sheets of 8.5" x 11" paper that had been stapled together into a "book", and then she cut those in half.  They looked like this...

I really love the idea of making your own vocabulary journals this way because you can start over fresh with a brand new journal book with each unit!  The little cover pages I made with the intention of being a "divider" between stories becomes the journal cover.  Brilliant!
Journal cover

Inside pages of the homemade journal book
Once the unit is over...the journal book goes home.  How cool is that?  In order for me to fit the journal entry and the cover page onto the homemade journal, I did have to cut them slightly smaller than my typical chop twice and go method.  However, it took all of two seconds to do so.  I also want to add that stapling and cutting booklets would make a fantastic parent volunteer job each month.  Perfect for teachers looking for ways to get families to engage in classroom tasks a bit more. 

Have a certain way you keep track of vocabulary in kindergarten?  Do you use a similar journal entry method or something totally different? I am moving to a new district that does not use ReadyGEN.  However, I look forward to keeping my journal method for our weekly focus story.  I was so impressed with how much my journal entries enhanced discussions about books over the past two school years that I can't justify NOT continuing on with the idea.  Vocabulary work packs a powerful punch in kindergarten!

If you are looking for vocabulary journal entries that will support ReadyGEN Kindergarten, check out my free sample here:


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