Mission #1: My one thing is a foldable book

Explore the Math Twitter Blogosphere:  Mission#1

I love foldables.  I just love the way 8th graders are engaged when they are folding, cutting gluing and decorating foldables with information.  And I LOVE the way I see them using the foldables as a resource to help them learn challenging content.

Even though I have used foldables for years, I found students would use them during a current topic of study, but then lose them as the year progressed.  A colleague showed me a composition book idea she picked up at a conference and voila, the foldable book was born.  We start the book at the beginning of the year with a table of contents in the front, and simply glue in every foldable that we make.  It is a great way to organize all of the foldables we make throughout the school year.


Here’s a picture of the table of contents from last year’s book:

The GC next to some items indicates it’s a graphing calculator item.  These are “glueables” rather than “foldables” as they are mostly often flat sheets of paper with the graphing calculator steps for a TI-84 (for example, how to create a box and whisker plot).

My all-time favorite foldable is a neat weavable foldable that opens two different ways.  I blogged about it in an earlier post and you can read about it here.  The kids are always so fascinated by this foldable and it is a great foldable for organizing a LOT of information.

Here are a couple of foldables we have made so far this year.  The first one is for Order of Operations.  This year I had them attach a  brad to the middle of the foldable so they could
spin the foldable as they used it to simplify each step in an expression.  The second one is simple but a good way to summarize examples of what constitutes a function (I like the multiple represenations).  The last one is a waterfall type of foldable for solving multi-step equations.  I love watching kids flip through the foldable as they learn the steps 🙂


Lots of teachers use foldables, so I guess this is not necessarily something that’s really all that unique, but the organization of all of our foldables into one place has just been awesome.  In our district students take Algebra 1 in 8th, Geometry in 9th and Algebra 2 in 10th grade.  Some of my previous students have stopped by to tell me they’ve pulled out their old foldable book to help them in Algebra 2 for the things they have forgotten during their year of Geometry.  Students referring back to a resource from previous years?  Now that’s unique 🙂


About merryfwilliams

High school math teacher and mom of 3 amazing kids. I have a high maintenance husky and am adding a knitting obsession to the juggling routine. @merryfwilliams on Twitter
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5 Responses to Mission #1: My one thing is a foldable book

  1. absolutepi says:

    I LOVE foldables! I am interning/student teaching and only one teacher uses this method daily. I will share you woven foldable with her. Thanks for sharing!

  2. absolutepi says:

    I LOVE foldables! I am interning/student teaching and only one teacher uses the interactive student notebook. I will share your woven foldable with her. Thanks for your post!

  3. katelps says:

    Hi Merry,

    Those are really cute. Do you use a different type of foldable every time? Do you make them in class or are they assigned for homework? Do you do this in lieu of more “traditional” note taking? Do they do this at the end of a unit or as they go along?

    I like the idea of the students having a fun book to look back on but I’m curious about the specifics.

    By the way, years ago, a colleague taught me to write PEMDAS by stacking the MD together (M on top of D) and the AS together (A on top of S) so it becomes almost a 4 letter word – P E M/D A/S (wordpress comments are not advanced enough to really show what I mean, so hopefully you can understand it). This is to remind them that M isn’t before D and that really the two are equal. I don’t know if you’ll find that helpful, but I love it!

    • I wish I had a different type of foldable for everything, but I use whatever makes sense. The kids really like the variety – I use the cool one that folds and weaves for properties and then later in the year for exponent rules. One that’s very simple has the two ends fold in towards the middle, and then you cut each of those flaps to the crease, so you get four little flaps. We have one for Integer Rules and another for Fractions that use that format. We make them in class and they’ve kind of evolved over the past two years. Initially I was still taking notes in a binder, but this year I am gluing the foldables on the right and then working a couple of example problems on the left page proceeding the foldable. I also let the kids use the foldable books on quizzes. They all keep up with them very well once they know they use it on quizzes, and they really “own” them and add their own notes. I’ve seen PEMDAS written like you describe (I think!) where it’s kind of like a hopscotch grid!

      Thanks for all of your kind comments – I’m happy to send you better pics of the foldables if you are interested in any. If you haven’t seen the nifty one that weaves and folds check it out as it’s hands down my kids’ favorite!!

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