I’m thinking about my launching unit for W.W and writer’s notebooks. Do you have kids section off their notebooks for minilessons/charts or do you leave it up to them? Last year I didn’t have students do this for writing but I did have them do it for reading. I’m interested to hear your ideas.
I’ve been thinking about the division of the kids’ notebooks, as well, lately. Last year I received a grant through DonorsChoose to bring real writer’s notebooks (e.g., Moleskine) to my kids since I found, out of some action research I did in graduate school, that kids tend to write more when they use the tools real writers use. Quite frankly, I would never heed my teacher’s advice if s/he said, “If you want to live like a writer, then take your notebook with you everywhere you go,” if I had to cart a 5-subject notebook around with me as my writer’s notebook.
Alas, I have about 30 Moleskine Notebooks left this year, not enough to meet the needs to my kids who often go through three – six writer’s notebooks in one year. However, Moleskine Notebooks are EXPENSIVE, something I’m not able to keep replenishing for my students this year. Hence, I think I’m going to have the kids keep two notebooks:
I do not think this is a perfect solution, but it’s what I’ve come up with — for now.
Getting back to the question about dividing-up a five-subject notebook: I provided teachers with various ideas about dividing-up five-subject notebooks, based off of Aimee Buckner‘s Book, in a presentation I gave in NYC two years ago. Click here to view the presentation. However, the suggestions I provided in the PPT remove student choice from the picture, which is not good. Therefore, you might want to have a conversation with your students, early in the year, about the writing process and note-taking. Elicit from them the ways THEY think their notebooks should be divided, guiding them towards what you hope the sections will look like. Doing this might provide you with ideas about a new way to make notebooks work for YOUR students, which is, after all, what it’s all about.
Literacy Consultant. Author. Former 4th and 5th Grade Classroom Teacher.