Cult of Pedagogy Search

Notebooks for Classroom Management, Part 2

September 30, 2013

Jennifer Gonzalez


Can't find what you are looking for? Contact Us



Earlier this month, we looked at a simple way to use a notebook to settle an out-of-control classroom…or an out-of-control teacher.

Now here’s part 2, where the notebook is elevated to a more systematic, proactive tool for recording student behavior. Using this method should cut down your office referrals dramatically, putting classroom control back in your hands.



There’s so much more where this came from.
Join my mailing list and get a weekly email from me that will help you crush it in the classroom. As a welcome goodie bag, you’ll get access to my Members-Only Library of free downloads, which includes my e-booklet, 20 Ways to Cut Your Grading Time in Half. Come on in!



  1. Diana says:

    I teach 8th grade English and am looking for tips on classroom management and making my classroom more engaging.

    • Hi Diana,

      Thanks for writing in. I was an 8th grade ELA teacher too, so I know just what you’re dealing with! Here are some recommendations:

      For starters, I would suggest you read an article I wrote last year for MiddleWeb, 10 Ways to Sabotage Your Classroom Management. Although the title suggest this is only about what NOT to do, the piece also tells you what you should be doing instead and is a good overview of some basic tenets of classroom management.

      Another good piece to read would be 8 Things I Know for Sure About Middle School Kids. Although this is not classroom management-specific, it covers some things that would be good reminders when working with this age group.

      Finally, for a more engaging classroom (which is a big key to improving classroom management), take a look at some of my instructional strategies videos. Each one demonstrates a technique that gets students more actively engaged in their learning.

      If you have more specific questions or concerns, please let me know. Good to hear from you.

  2. Mimi says:

    Best. Ever. Thanks for this suggestion! I’ve implemented this idea haphazardly in the past, without much idea of organising it for an actual classroom management tool. In my country, where documentation is the most important step in behaviour management, this tool is simply invaluable.

    I may be off to the shops now to buy a few new notebooks. Talk about a hardship…

  3. lrn says:

    Thanks so much! I love your perspective on developing a track record with the student and teaching the student the importance of that! I have done similar things by making notes in the online gradebook :).

  4. MusicTeacher says:

    Thank you. Off to Target to get ten notebooks for each grade I teach! This will be a great reflection tool as well. Thank you for helping with middle school age! It has been my weakness but your articles and videos are giving me confidence and I am looking forward to teaching this age group, even the school play that I was awarded to direct :)!

  5. Kirsten says:

    Do you think this would be effective and realistic for a first grade teacher to do?

    • Hi Kirsten,

      That’s a good question. My only experience with first graders was when my own kids were that age; my teaching was in middle school and up. I did try a similar system with my kids for a while when they were around that age. I remember them being very much interested in the notebook and what I was writing down. At that age, they were very responsive to rule-following, consequences, and rewards, and would almost do things specifically to see if I was going to record them in the book. I don’t know how well they could conceptualize the whole “patterns of behavior over the long term” idea, but they definitely wanted good things written about them. I don’t know. I’d say give it a try and see what happens.

  6. I use the same type of system but with an app called Class Dojo. I teach Spanish, so I use it to monitor participation, but also things like tardies and negative attitude. The students know anytime I’m holding my iPad that I monitoring them. It really helps with having to participate more in a positive way and to curb their negative behavior . I teach high school .

  7. Kelly says:

    I love this! I’m a first year teacher & have ONE class at the end of the day that tests my sanity. They are tired, I’m tired, lots of other things going on that causes a not-so-positive classroom experience.

    I had a coteacher suggest kind of this same thing YESTERDAY! But- she uses address label stickers to document on 5-7 students a period (randomly chosen or those that NEED it that day SPED/ELL/those that might need documentation for testing) so that at the end of the class/day it would be easy to afix to each students page!

    I made my binders last night and look forward to seeing how my stude ts respond to this! I’ll definitely keep a blank one for Part 1 trick too! Never too many options to help everyone stay sane!
    Thank you for your wonderful work!!

  8. Noora says:

    HI Jennifer,

    Thanks so much for the great strategy. I am wondering, would this system work in a class that I teach only once a week? like we barely see each other and it takes a long time to know and connect with each other.

    Thanks in advance.

    Warm regards,

  9. Ms Seago says:

    Hi – this is similar to something I started doing this year. I actually just have one page per class (I teach 10), with a list of names and 6 columns (one for each half term) and I have a shorthand of +- (good or poor behaviour) h/w (missing homework), l (for late) etc. Having it on one page makes it easy to record lots of kids st the same time.
    It really helps me spot patterns of behaviour and give me confidence that I have evidence of what I am telling the kids and their parents. I like the idea of expanding it to include more specific positives.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.