Intentional Notes

Thank you Jennifer Fairbanks for starting this #MTBoS2020 blogging challenge! I’m looking forward to reading more blogs this year. And, here goes my first post of the series…

There are some real foldable masters out there, and I am not normally one of them. But, I recently created a template that got some “oohs” and “ahs” from teachers that made me feel like a foldable rockstar for a day. So, I’m excited to share it here for others to use!

I originally created this foldable for Algebra II and just like the template, my intentions were three fold- 1. It uses a gradual release model of direct instruction, 2. It allows students to use metacognition to notice and think before simply being told the process, and 3. It helps students summarize their knowledge in a scaffolded way. After attending a Visible Learning conference by John Hattie, I learned that these three things have high effect sizes (direct instruction models as a .6, metacognitive strategies as a .6, and summarization strategies as .79) in relation to his .4 hinge point of effective instructional influences. So, in creating this, I was excited to see that these three things could be blended together in a foldable for students to explore.

Here’s how to fold and cut it:

  1. Print the two pages front to back (in opposite directions so they print right side up).
  2. Fold into a trifold.
  3. Cut only the front page along the dotted lines.
    • Students will open each flap to fill in blanks and write notice statements (then share with a partner).
    • Then, bring the class together to discuss and write the general rule on the front side.
    • After all the front is filled out, open the foldable to the inside right section and allow students to use their notes for guided practice.
    • Once complete and checked, students will then do the inside center section without their notes, flipping back if needed.

In the first example (Algebra II), students explore the steps of synthetic division to generalize the rules for the process. I intentionally left the inside blank for teachers to use coefficients in the denominator or not and also use the division sign rather than the bar if they would like.

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When I presented this to teachers, they were excited for the “notice” steps that allowed students to think on their own instead of simply being told the answer. But, the moment of awe came with the trifold design. As I showed them how to use it, I heard some teachers whispering to each other, “I think she meant to put example 2 on the other side,” but when I explained that students will do the inside right side by using the front steps they created, they looked at each other and said, “Ohhh, I get it…I like that!” This created a scaffolded gradual release model for students to use their notes purposefully.

The second example for Algebra I is below. Students explore expanded form of exponents to generalize rules for multiplying, dividing, and raising a power to a power. I also added the learning target to increase teacher clarity (.75 effect size). I know that some students may struggle and answer wrong when practicing #4 and #6…they may say 10/5 is 5 and 2^5 is 10, but I think this can create a great opportunity for learning from mistakes and teachers can use this as their “favorite no” to have a class discussion.

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Thank you to the several teachers and co-workers who helped me talk through the creation of these notes and bounce ideas off you.

Let me know if you use these in class and what effect it has on learning. Download a copy below.

Synthetic Division Foldable (This is not editable because I created it on Canva)

Exponents Foldable

Here’s one last version on quadrilaterals I made for a teacher who saw these. Since she was going to do different quadrilaterals each day, we talked about how these can be the reference guide for students each day. Then I thought it would be cool to put them in dry erase sleeves to do practice with the properties right there.

Geometry Foldable


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