FAQ – What should I use to attach handouts in my notebooks?

Elmer’s Glue All. It’s a superstar!

Not the School Glue, it can get a little runny. RoseArt glue is a little tackier than School Glue, but given a choice I’d rather have the Elmer’s Glue All. If you are going to use glue, then there are a few things to keep in mind.

  1. Glue is the cheapest now that it will be all year. Buy enough to last the year. Trust me. You do not want to go out and pay over a $1 a bottle for something that is going for .25 – .30 now. I teach about a hundred students and 40 or so bottles get me through the year (I also do crafts, so if it is notebooks only 25 -30 bottles might do it for you.
  2. Establish a procedure. Glue will only become an issue in your room if you allow it to become one. I spend a lot of time explaining/demonstrating how I want glue to be used. 3 dots on each side, none in the middle, for me. We practice saying ” A dot is a lot, a glob is a slob” (remember, I teach younger students). I monitor like crazy and if you abuse the classroom supplies I make you do without them for awhile. (They get really annoyed when I staple something in to their notebooks instead of letting them glue – natural consequences) A poster on a teacher’s board I belong to even wrote a song about it:
  3. glue%20songimg008small

  4. Glue as much as you can at one time. I like gluing everything for the week on the Friday before or the Monday of. One of my internet friends is so put together she can glue in everything for the unit at once, but I’m not there yet. It seems easier to monitor when you are only doing it one day, and when they have more to glue in the less time they have to be tempted to play.
  5. Glue refill bottles are surprisingly cost effective. I found that it was easy to find a volunteer or two to keep the bottles filled (during homeroom), and the refill bottles are reasonably priced. You can actually get a gallon of Elmer’s Glue All at Lowes for 12.62. That’s a lot of bottles!
  6. Storage and Passing Out. Have a place where the glue is easily accessible without it being right there. I don’t recommend having it out when there is no defined need for it. I also like to have two students share a bottle. 

Why not glue sticks?

I get asked this question a lot, because glue sticks are every bit as inexpensive as bottle glue right now, it is smaller, and arguably less messy.

This is why I don’t like glue sticks:

  • Caps and Roundness. As in the caps seldom are replaced correctly letting the glue dry out or get smushed. As in the caps make marvelous projectiles. Roundness, because things roll. Off the desks and onto the floor and under someone’s foot. Arguably this is a classroom management issue, but its one I choose not to deal with.
  • Monitoring. Unless I spring for the colored glue sticks, it is harder for me to tell who is using the glue excessively. I was constantly running out of glue sticks.
  • Stickiness. Stuff just doesn’t *stay* glued in. I use my notebooks for at least a semester, and when I tried glue sticks the papers just didn’t stay in after awhile, even in my teacher notebook.

What about tape?

Tape works fine, it is dry, and has less of a potential mess factor. Tape seems expensive though, to me. If someone out there uses tape and likes it, please comment. I’d love to know how many students you teach and how much tape you go through in the course of a year!

What about staplers?

I actually did this when I used spiral notebooks instead of composition notebooks because the page is bigger. In the composition notebooks, the staples get in the way of using all of the “next page”. I found it damaged the composition notebooks more so as well. It is a wonderful motivator though to those students who can’t use the glue properly.


10 comments so far

  1. JPB on

    OK!!!! I have purchased tape, glue all and notebooks…Hope all goes well! JPB

  2. Shawn Baker on

    My high school students prefer to use tape to glue sticks — they do not like white at all! They also like to use rubber cement (of which I am not a fan).

    I buy tape in rolls of 6 at the Dollar Tree.

  3. Colleen on

    I use scotch tape with 8th graders. Tape is on students’ supply list and each student brings 2-3 rolls in at the beginning of the year. I keep extra rolls in my supply cabinet.

  4. Tanya E. Tenturier on

    I am extremely grateful that you are sharing your trial and errors with us! I was going to use glue sticks but will take your suggestions and buy the refill bottle.n My team and school will benefit greatly from your experience – Thank you!

  5. Melissa on

    I use glue sticks primarily. However, I find that for sensory reasons, some students prefer tape. The school supplies scotch tape to us at the beginning of the school year…

  6. Leslie on

    I did this for the first time last year and used a spiral notebook and tape. I thought it went well, but found that students always used too much tape. I put it on their supply list, but I teach alternative education and parents rarely supply what is needed. I may try the glue with “lessons” b/c that is much cheaper and the school is more likely to supply this for me if I ask nicely! 🙂 Thank you for all the tips. I think this is a great teaching tool!

  7. Ashley on

    I have used double-sided tape before. I gave my students the option. We found that the dollar tree near our school sold it. It was definitely a time saver for the students who chose to use it.

  8. Brandy on

    I teach high school LA and have about 110 students all in all that I see. I go through about six rolls of tape a month. And I love to use tape–less of a mess and it’s as quick as handing them out and having them get passed back up.

  9. Susan Latil on

    I wrote a little story about how much glue to use. When I read the story to my 8th graders, they laughed their booties off! I “acted out” the story using glue and paper scraps. When the story was over, I asked my students why I told them to story. They replied that they use too much glue. I asked them what they learned from the story, The response was that a little glue works just as well as a lot of glue and is not as messy. Now…if I have preached how much glue to use, then it would have just fallen on deaf ears! They will NEVER forget that story and they are careful to only use Baby Dots when gluing.
    If anyone would like a copy of my story, please let me know. susan.latil@cpsb.org

  10. wynnegruffyd on

    For me, liquid glue is too messy. It crumples the paper and depending on the thickness of the pages in the composition book, sometimes even bleeds through. I prefer glue sticks and I encourage my students to use a lot to make sure the items stay glued in. The work we do in my interactive journals is not all glued items. We do a lot of drawing, writing, making charts, etc. on their own and only glue about 3 or 4 lessons that we do in out journals.

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