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How do Notebooks Fit into the Writing Process

This graphic is from Katherine Bomer’s Key Note Address at the 2006 TCRWP Summer Institute on the Teaching of Writing. It’s all about how writer’s notebooks fit into the writing process. Since we’re big on notebooks here at “Two Writing Teachers” I wanted to post this page from my notes and ask you if you think that kids use notebooks like this in your classroom. If not, how do kids use their notebooks? Finally, do you have any suggestions for meaningful ways that kids can use their writer’s notebooks if your students use theirs differently than Bomer describes based on the graphic above?

Stacey Shubitz View All

I am a literacy consultant who has spent the past dozen years working with teachers to improve the teaching of writing in their classrooms. While I work with teachers and students in grades 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).

2 thoughts on “How do Notebooks Fit into the Writing Process Leave a comment

  1. Cool notes.

    One of the ways to use notebooks that I “missed” in my early workshop years was that of collecting around an idea . I teach that today — I call it deep thinking & it makes a world of difference as far as the quality of drafts.

    I’ve not really figured out how to use notebooks within the editing phase. However, if I’d read that chapter in Buckner’s book, Notebook Know-How , I’m sure I’d glean some ideas.

    I had never thought of using the notebook as a means of reflection on a piece of writing. I always had students complete a “writing analysis” that they handed in with their manuscripts on the due date. This is how I gave a score for process. I think Bomer’s idea of having this be a type of entry collected in the writer’s notebook is brilliant. It lifts the expectation of the notebook. No longer is it solely a place to collect ideas, but it is also a place to analyze your process & intentionally strive to become better.

    Thanks for sharing. I’m looking forward to reading the comments on this one.


  2. I love the way the circle starts with “Living Life” then leads into the writing process. I have really been concentrating in the last 2 years on helping my students to see that your life is what you write about and you don’t have to wait for an assignment. I am going to use this visual for sure!


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