I still struggled keeping students on the same page since some students write bigger or smaller than others and some had college ruled notebooks while others had wide ruled notebooks (next year, I am requesting all college ruled). I went to the NC Middle School Conference (my team won Region 6 Team of the Year) and attended an interactive notebook session for science. I know I don't teach science, but was hoping to get some goodies to convert for language arts. It was like EUREKA because I came away with one little tidbit of information that completely changed my frustration level with keeping students on the same page. How? you may ask: students tape/glue in an extra sheet of paper on the page where they are working somehow if they run out of space devoted to a particular assignment. It was GENIUS.
Then this year, I scrapped the whole left/right side idea and we just use the next available page for whatever we want to put in our notebooks. This process has worked so much better for us this year. I make a conscious effort to keep pages together so students can see lessons/notes laid out next to their reflections they are creating. We still add extra pages if needed when I devote 2 pages to notes/ideas and it takes them 3 or more. Sometimes, I even have to add extra pages in my own notebook as I wrote bigger than expected or did not plan enough pages in the beginning. This just allows for modeling and for students to see that it is okay to add more pages if necessary.
Below is a notes page on plot from my teacher notebook.
Below is a picture of my teacher notebook where we were taking genre notes. You can see where I ran out of room on my two allotted pages and attached another page with tape to extend our working area. This is taped so that it folds into the notebook (from the far right toward the spiral spine).