Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Cutting Up :-)

In the past year we have both introduced the Math Journal into our Guided Math program.  This has been a great and innovative way for students to communicate their math knowledge.  However, we both found the same thing; the students were only using a small part of the page, and we felt most of the journal was going to waste.  So we decided we wanted to find a way to cut the journals in half! 

We made a few phone calls, and got a lot of laughs on the other end.  Most of the big hardware stores told us no over the phone.  We called a printing store and they would do it, but charge $1.50 a cut.  Feeling discouraged, we went to the stores in person, composition notebooks in hand.  Our logic was that it would be much harder to turn down a teacher in person.  (I mean it is all in the name of education right!?!?)  We were finally successful at one of the big hardware chain stores.


Ta-Da!  One notebook becomes two!

Each child now has a manageable sized notebook.
Our cart full!  We could not thank them enough!

While we were there we stopped by the paint department.  The employees were kind enough to donate each of us a class set of paint stirrers.  We use these as individual shelf markers for the students in our classroom libraries. The kids decorate them with markers and love using them, and our books stay organized!

All-in-all a successful trip!

55 comments:

  1. Cool to use the composition kind. I have always used spirals to cut in half. I sweet talked a couple of coaches to cut them. And I mean "sweet" -I bribed them with cupcakes!

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    1. How did the coaches help? What equipment did they have??

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  2. Do you know what type of saw they used to cut them? My husband probably has the right tool, just need to make sure.

    This would really cut down on our paper consumption!

    Thanks!!

    DeAnna

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    1. I work for FedEx Office and we also charge $1.49 per cut. You have to consider the fact that it is being cut with a $4500 machine. It has a hydraulic blade that comes down on up to 4" thick of paper and guillotine cuts your stack. The cut is accurate up to 1/32". -Bob

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    2. This is what they look like. The link Im showing you is a small cutter. They can be about 3-4x larger for cutting up to 36" wide. http://www.bindery.com/pfs/products/cutters/challenge/titan200/titan200.jpg

      -Bob

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    3. @Bob from FedEx, I don't think the kids care about the machine doing the cutting. Great idea finding a benevolent hardware store to help the students!

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    4. Just wondering @Bob from FedEx...if the machine cuts up to 4" of paper could I ask them to stack the composition books til they reach the 4" mark and pay for just the one cut? Or would they charge $1.49 per comp. book? It's not worth paying per book but I'd definitely do it if about 5 books = 1 cut.

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  3. This is easily done with parent volunteers and spiral bound notebooks, too. All you need is a good pair of adult scissors and some willing parents. The wire is cut with wire cutters and folded under.

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  4. I'm still waiting to see what kind of saw was used...I love this idea as well.

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    1. I cut my own with a chop saw. I have also used a band saw, but my cuts were more jagged.

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    2. i have used a band saw - did fine

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  5. I was also wondering what type of tool was used to cut the notebook.

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  6. I just use a regular paper cutter in the supply room...cuts even the wires on a wire-bound notebook it right in half!

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  7. What a super idea! I use the same kind of composition notebooks. We start at the beginning (opening like a regular book) for Language Arts. Then, if you flip the book over and backwards, it becomes the math side (so it still opens like a book). I wonder if we'll meet at the middle this school year?

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    1. Idea sweetheart. Not ideal. Sorry just a huge pet peeve of mine.

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    2. Pretty sure that's an exclamation point. It's a wonky font.

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    3. Wow....As I read it on my phone, I see that what you were trying to correct, sweetheart, is indeed an exclamation point. Get over yourself. I don't usually comment, especially when people act like jerks and are so patronizing, but that little comment just got to me. People can be so rude and hurtful! Wow......that's all I can say......wow. Pathetic.

      Moving on, I think this is a great idea!!!! Thanks for sharing!!!

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    4. THANKS FOR COMMENTING. I, TOO FOUND THAT RIDICULOUS. SINCE I AM NOT PERFECT MYSELF I TRY NOT TO CORRECT ANYONE ELSE. KUDOS!

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  8. A teacher friend of mine did this for years. The machine tool technology program at our local technical college cut them for her for free and she covered the outside with contact paper. I was always envious!

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  9. If you go by almost any print/copy shop, they have specialized machines built for cutting paper stacks. You can't have any metal, but most joints charge 50¢ - $1/cut. :)

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    1. Right. So you're spending 50¢ to cut a 50¢ book (the books go on sale right before school starts at Walmart--three years ago, they were only 25¢ apiece!). I can certainly appreciate the paper savings, but realistically, it's far easier to just buy double the notebooks if the price is going to come out the same. I would try asking a shop teacher at the high school if you have one or seeking out a parent volunteer if the folks at your Lowe's/Home Depot get cranky about it. If you're using this method a lot, it might be worth the cost to buy the saw yourself and I can appreciate the fact that whomever does the cutting is donating some wear and tear on their blade, but many of us are using our "spare change" to buy backpacks, school supplies, coats, etc. for our students and can really use any cost savings we can get.

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    2. You know, unless she is also trying to save paper. I know that's never on people's minds, but students waste tons of paper each year for not finishing off the entire spiral.

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  10. It looks like she had it done at the Home Depot (orange cart?) - if so, it was their table saw. Used to cut lumber.

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  11. I think Home Depot, too, because they always cut white shower boards into individual sized dry erase boards for me. I usually have three or four boards for stations that are larger than the students' boards, too. They will do it for you...free of charge! :)

    Melly<><

    Stapler’s Strategies for Sizzlin' Second Graders!

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  12. My husband said that he could cut them with a table saw.

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  13. We can't help with the cutting but if you need composition notebooks, check us out!
    http://www.discountofficeitems.com/back_to_school/teachers.php

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  14. How did you keep the threads secure? Did you add a dab of glue or tape. I know the composition books are threaded and if you tear out pages it turns into a mess of loose papers. I assume the same would happen if you cut. Please tell me how well it worked out.

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  15. Crazy Fabulous Idea!!!!! L O V E it!!!!!

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  16. I'm in love with this idea! Done!

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  17. I f you have a good strong paper cutter in your work room or if you are lucky in your room just open your books up in half. This helps keep down the thickness of the papers. Cut your papers in half.

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  18. I've done the same with notebook paper... It's super cheap in August. I cut it in half with a paper cutter at school and then "bind it with 1-1/2" scrap paper and the electric book binding stapler at school. Works great!

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    1. Oh I like this one! I think I will steal this idea next year. It sounds much less expensive than purchasing the composition books like I did this summer ( I have 120 kids this year).

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  19. Must try with the composition notebook, great idea.

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  20. I just cut my notebooks using a miter saw. I had a 10in so I had to cut twice. But if you have a 12in it will cut it all in one cut. :)

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  21. love it, im a crafter and u just gave me a fabulous idea thank u for sharing! congrats!

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  22. Just tried this with two types of saws...a miter and table. Both frayed the edges so badly, I decided it wouldn't work. I'm wondering about a band saw???

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  23. We have a machine at our church that will cut the books. I cut them for our team. the machine will cut 3 at a time. They are the perfect size for Math journals.

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  24. This is such as awesome idea and something I may try next year. Right now I have just been teaching my students to use the whole page. I have them to write the date each time they start a new entry.

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  25. Very clever idea! What about using the "steno" books? They are roughly the same size as a composition book... not sure about the cost however. I THOUGHT I saw them at the dollar store in packs of three.

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  26. We bought a heavy duty stack paper cutter with department funds off ebay for about $100 to cut ours. Then, I use a Zutter corner rounder - ok, I get my student assistants to do it - because I like the corners all to be round.

    We end up using the paper cutter quite frequently.

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  27. It's was a great idea teaching have never been this fun.

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  28. I did this at the beginning of the last school year - I didn't have a problem with Home Depot doing this for me and the composition books didn't fray. Just make sure that they start cutting from the binding side. It is a mess if they start on the other side. My kids loved them and I loved the way they looked. People thought I was some kind of genius and it was something I had seen on Pinterest.

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  29. This reminded me of my paper saving trick I while working in a large engineering firm. We always had tons of mis-prints thrown in a box by the printer. When the box started filling up, I would take a stack to the paper cutter and chop it down to the size I needed for scrap paper (mostly 2x2 and 3 1/2x 5). Then I would clip together with one of those black clips. On the opposite end apply some rubber cement. I worked there 4 years and used one bottle of rubber cement....but never had to buy "scratch pads"

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    1. That is an awesome idea! Great way to use up paper from botched photocopying jobs... I'll have to try this. Thanks!

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  30. My niece's teacher did this and it really upset her. For starters, the book fell apart in short order, and a crappy looking journal is really uninspiring. In the interest of saving paper, I can understand to a point, but some kids won't like it, and you can't really blame them. Not to mention, the margins will be off (whoever gets the top half). We ended up throwing it out and buying her a nice journal :)

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  31. I had the same company cut mine. I used them for Daily math and ELA reviews. The first year I used them, it worked great and with few exceptions the notebooks held together. The second year I had it done, the notebooks covers almost all fell off. I don't remember what brand comp books I purchased each year, but I am wondering if they aren't all the same quality.

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  32. Staples does it for free when your buy.

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  33. I used the cut composition books in my classroom this year as well for Daily Oral Language activities with my 6th grade classes. The students don't mind carrying these around and it is much less daunting for them to write a short paragraph on a half page!

    I had a little trouble finding someone to cut mine as well, but then showed up at a small local print shop when almost everyone was at lunch, so the one worker who was left in charge was more than happy to help me out...his mom is a teacher too!

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  34. Or you could just use small notebooks? they are just as cheap and no cutting involved...

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  35. I used a mitre saw and had wonderful results! I use them with college students who are pre-service teachers and they love them!

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  36. Why didn't you just use smaller notebooks?

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