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ISN Series: Why I'm So Picky about the ISN

Sorry, I had to, lol!

A lot of my students will ask me why I'm so nit-picky when it comes to the ISN, and I thought for a quick post today, I would list the FAQ I get about it, and my answers!

1. Why do we have to number every single page ahead of time?
I'm very honest when I tell them that I don't trust they will do it on their own. They might not like hearing it, but I let them know that even though they might have the best intentions to do it, they will forget, and then someone will get off by a page or two.

2. Why do we have to glue everything in...and why can we only use 5 drops of glue?
Two reasons: 1, then you won't lose it, 2, you won't lose it. 
You can only use 5 drops of glue because it will waste less glue, and if you draw circles or write your names with the glue, it can bleed through, mess up the pages, and it will be hard to write on the paper when the glue dries

3. Can't I put this stuff in later?
No- If you have the time in class, you might as well put it in now. Plus, we might reference it tomorrow!

4. Why don't assessments go in the ISN?
The ISN is supposed to be a tool for you to study for an assessment. Assessments will get turned in, and you want to have your ISN free for the next day. I may be amazing, but I probably won't be able to grade 110+ papers in one night. This way, you have your ISN, and when you receive your assessment back, you can use it if you need to revise something.

5. Why do I have to have a 5-Star/Mead/Equivalent notebook with a sturdy cover?
Other notebooks don't have a plastic-like cover. When you fill up this notebook it will be massive. It is very easy for a regular cardboard/cardstock cover to rip off. Plus, when all notebooks are stacked they can get caught on each other and rip that way, too.

6. Can I use tape?
Yes. I don't provide tape however, strictly because of the cost.

7. Why do we need a table of contents?
When you are studying, it's easier to find what you need when you have a Table of Contents. Same goes for the Unit Page. You know that everything behind that title page goes with the unit.

8. Why do we have to write all these notes, can't we just get a handout?
While sometimes, yes, I will give you a handout if there is a LOT of information, it is always valuable to see something, hear something, and write something down so that you remember it better. This also gives you the chance to put it in your own words!

9. Why do I have to color-code stuff?
Other than being visually pleasing, it helps you easily identify important information on the page, which can make studying more efficient!

10. Why do we have to all be on the same page?
Mostly because it is a time saver. I can say, turn to page 21, and everyone knows where to go, and you can help your neighbor as well if they need to see your notes or help check your work. When I'm grading, I can easily check your work as well!

Have your students had questions for you about the ISN? I'd love to hear what other students are saying! :) 


  1. Jen,
    I started using INs this year and really like the all the positives from using them. I do have a question for you...we seem to use too much time adding things (cutting, gluing, adding to the TOC, etc.). I only 2 42-minute periods with each class and those minutes go SO fast! Any suggestions or thoughts?
    Thank you,


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