Paragraphing in Notebooks

Today was the first day I checked my students’ Idea Notebooks, using the rubric I adapted from Buckner’s Book, since the school year began. The frequency with which the kids have been writing is amazing to me! One student even received a 4- on her notebook today and I gave her one of these to celebrate her accomplishment. (I’ve given special writer pencils in the past, but am moving to these tiny notepads this year.)

While reading each student’s notebook, I noticed something I often see at the start of the school year in the kids’ notebooks: one paragraph per page. That doesn’t mean the kids aren’t filling the page. Quite the contrary. They’re just not inserting new paragraphs into their notebooks when a new person speaks, a new person is introduced, the setting changes, etc. Hence, I found myself explicitly teaching that to these students today during a Mid-Workshop Interruption and by providing students with mentor notebook entries, of mine, where they could see the indentations where each new paragraph began.

Funny how kids know that you need new paragraphs any time you write on loose leaf paper, but somehow, that doesn’t transfer over to the notebook work unless it’s explicitly taught.