Last week I blogged about a Recipe for Conferring Success. I’ve done some more thinking about it in recent days and am left pondering the following questions for myself as a teacher of writing:
1. One notebook or many?
a. How many notebooks should teachers of writing keep to use in conferences and strategy lessons with students?
2. How much do we really need in our toolkits for each unit of study we teach?
I started thinking, a few days ago, that I should have a different writer’s notebook for each unit of study I teach since I am always cross-referencing different notebooks when I confer with my students about their writing. I have to remember when I wrote a particular piece so that I can find that notebook and share that particular entry with a student. This becomes cumbersome. However, when I thought about all of the units of study I teach in Writing Workshop each year (upwards of seven), I realized that having seven notebooks, even if they were divided up by genre, might be even more confusing! Hence, I think I came up with a solution.
Insert drumroll here…
I’m going to purchase a large Miquelruis Notebook, as well as some self-adhesive/write-on tabs. Then, I’m going to recopy my entries for each unit of study I teach, in the order that I teach them, into my new writer’s notebook. This is going to take time since I don’t want to paste-in my photocopied entries from other writer’s notebooks since that won’t look authentic. That being said, I’m going to divide up my notebook into sections and include all of the notebook work I’ve done to help me develop a piece (to the point where I drafted outside of my writer’s notebook) so that I can help my students to see my process when I confer with them. Here are my sections:
1. small moment stories (grown out of single notebook entries)
2. personal narrative
3. personal essay
4. persuasive writing
6. literary essay
This is going to be a monumental undertaking. But hey, school doesn’t start until September 4th!
I am a literacy consultant who has spent over a decade working with teachers to improve the teaching of writing in their classrooms. While I work with teachers and students in grade K-6, I'm a former fourth and fifth-grade teacher so I have a passion for working with upper elementary students.
I'm the author of Craft Moves (Stenhouse Publishers, 2016) and the co-author of Jump Into Writing (Zaner-Bloser, 2021), Welcome to Writing Workshop (Stenhouse Publishers, 2019), and Day By Day (Stenhouse, 2010).