A notebook is a place to record questions, observations, and investigations. It is a personal, meaningful tool for students to use in class and at home.
Giving them the opportunity to decorate their notebook covers helps to foster a sense of ownership of this tool. These easy ideas can dress up any notebook cover and give it some personality.
Painting is an easy way for students to put their creative stamp on a notebook. They can draw a straight, curvy, or zig-zag line to make their notebook stand out. They can even use different paint colors to create stripes or patterns.
This is a great first-day activity to help students forge a bond with their science notebooks. By decorating their notebooks, they can take ownership of them and be more likely to care about the work in it.
Make sure students have access to all decorating materials before giving them their notebooks, and be clear about the expectations you have around where they will store them between lessons. Also, remind them that they will need to retrieve their notebooks regularly so they can be used for the rest of the school year. Liquid glue takes the longest to dry, so you may want to wait until the end of the day before allowing them to decorate their notebooks.
If students want to decorate their notebook covers with more intricate pieces, such as buttons or ribbon, they can use glue. A hot glue gun or liquid glue stick work best for this application, as the quick drying times are ideal.
Give students a table of contents to glue into their science notebooks. This helps them locate specific entries later in the notebook and models how scientists organize their own notebooks.
Remind students that they will be using their notebooks throughout the year to record and reflect on their scientific investigations. Providing them with a place to label their notebooks early on builds a sense of ownership and inspires them to take more care in how they use them. It also allows them to set the tone for how they will use their notebooks in class.
Students can easily dress up plain notebooks by incorporating fabric into their covers. This simple DIY adds a personal touch that will make them feel great about their supplies!
For this DIY, you will need a sheet of patterned fabric (or scraps) and a journal/notebook. Cut a piece of fabric a little longer than the notebook. Fold the edges over to make a crease.
Sew a 1/4-inch seam on the top and bottom of these folded pieces (and backstitch at each end) to hold them in place. You will also want to zig-zag to prevent raveling and finish off the raw edges.
You will also need a pair of scissors, a ruler, and a sewing machine with a zipper foot. Turn the handle strips in so the long raw edges are touching the center of the cover and press. Sew a 1/2-inch seam around both sides of the handles.
4. Washi Tape
Students feel a sense of ownership when they decorate their notebooks. It’s an enjoyable and creative process that lets them express themselves. It also encourages them to take better care of their work and notebooks. They may also be more likely to share their notebooks with others when they have a cute cover.
Washi tape is a decorative paper masking tape that comes in many different colors and patterns. It can be used for a variety of DIY projects, from decorating lunch bags to wrapping gifts. It can even be layered to create pretty effects.
You can use patterned washi tape to give your notebook cover a unique look. This quick, no-sew project is easy to complete and will make your notebooks more fun to use. It’s also a great way to repurpose old notebooks that you no longer need.
Using buttons is one of the easiest and most fun ways to decorate a notebook cover. Students can choose a theme, such as nature or science, and use different colored buttons to create the design. They can also write their name or a special message on the cover.
Once students have decorated their covers, they can begin using their notebooks. Be sure to have students keep their notebooks in the location where they will be stored between science lessons and establish routines for putting away and retrieving notebooks.
Encourage students to use their notebooks throughout the year to record their observations and inquiries, describe procedures and results, make comments and predictions, and reflect on what they have learned. In addition to recording their written work in their notebooks, students can draw, make charts and graphs, and use nonfiction literature to supplement their notebook entries.
Glitter is a quick way to add some sparkle to notebook covers. You can use a little glitter to give a dull notebook cover a boost of color, or you can add multiple lines of glitter for an eye-catching design. Using glitter also allows students to express their creativity and artistic abilities.
Another fun option for decorating notebooks is to paint them with chalkboard paint. This way, students can use the notebooks for writing notes and drawing pictures. This craft is especially fun for younger children.
Another fun way to decorate a science notebook is to make a collage on the front cover. This could include five images that are science related (such as a volcano, atoms, or the ocean) and five other pictures that are personal to the student. This is a great way for students to feel ownership over their notebooks, which encourages them to take good care of them.