As the beginning of another school year rolls around, time will be spent in classrooms all over the country discussing classroom routines and behaviour expectations. But, do you ever stop and spend time cementing your standards on the presentation of your students’ work? While our students may be spending more time on digital devices, having a high level of bookwork expectations in your class has many benefits.
I remember having a child who really hated bookwork. After setting in stone my expectations and clearly talking about ‘how’ to actually set up his bookwork – he started to really enjoy it! Halfway through the school year, during a classroom open morning with parents, he came to me with the biggest smile and said how proud he was to show his parents his workbooks.
Why is neat bookwork important?
You might not think it’s a priority with everything else going on in the classroom environment. But there are so many benefits to getting students thinking about their bookwork. Neat bookwork can…
- foster pride in a student’s own work
- develop a positive attitude towards learning
- facilitate ease of understanding what they have done.
- ensure better usage of books – no wasting of pages
- develop simple routine and self-discipline
- cement the importance of writing as a means of communication (if the teacher can’t decipher what’s on the page – the message is lost).
Set Bookwork Expectations from the Start
It’s really important to establish your expectations right from the start of the school year. This means spending some time talking about bookwork expectations for the year ahead and then continually reinforcing this throughout the year. It’s important to not see it as an ‘extra’ thing to focus on, once students know what is expected of them it makes it easier for them. They know how to set up the bookwork rather than having to guess.
This set of Bookwork Classroom Posters is a great starting point to talk about some basic rules when it comes to bookwork and how to best set it out.
Numeracy Bookwork Expectations
You may find that you’ll need different expectations for different subjects. This Numeracy Bookwork Expectations Checklist for your students to use during numeracy bookwork works perfectly with grid books!
Literacy Bookwork Expectations
Here’s a similar checklist but for more literacy-type activities. This Literacy Bookwork Checklist also includes a word document so you can edit the expectations based on your school guidelines.
Using visual aids to support this understanding and providing feedback to your students on their bookwork throughout the year is just as important as the groundwork you do at the start of the school year.