To Print or Not To Print

I give out notes to my classes. Lots of notes. That is to say, I hand out notes rather than spend precious class time having my students copy them out. I think my system works pretty well.  The notes contain some blank spaces that we fill in together, which I hope activates some cognition and gives students focus points. Research says that partial notes are a good compromise between activating cognition, using time wisely and ensuring that the notes get copied correctly (references upon request - I’d have to dig them up). The notes also contain example “problems” that students try out before I go over them. Along with notes I also hand out worksheets and other odds, ends, bits and bobs. We don’t actually have a textbook for physics 11 at our school, and while we have one for physics 12, it is quite difficult to read for many students. The handouts are pretty important.


The big question I have moving forward is whether or not I should continue to print out all these handouts. On one hand, it would be ideal if I could order printed packets in June to be ready for the following September. I have no idea if my school would support that since the cost would be very high. I think it would be in the range of $500 to $1000. Not that the up front cost really matters - I’ve been printing them anyways. Its just that I would be found out.

The choices are simple.

  1. I print the handouts, students are guaranteed to have them every class, and it doesn’t cost them.
  2. The kids print the handouts, it costs them, and predictably many won’t print the notes or bring them to school.

I like the delegated responsibility with option #2. Schools could use more of this. But students aren’t supposed to pay for materials I don’t think. Not that investing $10 into their education should be a big deal for most kids, judging by their phones and mp3 players. Attending to lazy or forgetful students that don’t print out their notes could be a pain, but school is not only about learning a curriculum, it should also be about improving and growing as a mature and capable person. In the end I would run option #2 by the admin and see where they’re at with it.

How about you, what do you do? How do you handle handouts?