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From the Notebook to a Final Copy

Yesterday, Katie left the following comment:

Stacey is there a post or can you post your process for students’ writing. What I mean is where do they draft, what do you collect and look at etc. I see them drafting a lot in their notebooks, do they draft there and then move to final draft or is there a step in between? I’m just trying to reflect on my processes for next year and I would really love to pick your brain about the nitty gritty details of your workshop.

I’m not quite sure I’ve posted about this in the past, so here goes!

First and foremost, regardless of the unit of study we’re working in during Writing Workshop, my kids are always collecting entries in their Idea Notebook on a nightly basis. (It’s really a Writer’s Notebook, but seeing as they have a five-subject Writer’s Notebook which is used more-or-less for school writing only, the notebook they take from home-to-school daily is called their Idea Notebook.) Kids often take entries from their idea notebook and nurture so that they become part of a published piece. However, the purpose of the Idea Notebook is just to get them to live like a writer daily.

Essentially, my students go through the following process, which might seem a little like steps, but in reality, they’re revising even when they’re collecting and developing. However, for the sake of trying to be as clear as possible, I decided to use a graphic to represent the writing process, as my kids go through it, in my classroom.

Let me know if you have further questions and I’ll be happy to answer them!

Stacey Shubitz View All

I am a literacy consultant who focuses on writing workshop. I've been working with K-6 teachers and students since 2009. Prior to that, I was a fourth and fifth-grade teacher in New York City and Rhode Island.

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).

I live in Central Pennsylvania with my husband and children. In my free time, I enjoy swimming, doing Pilates, cooking, baking, making ice cream, and reading novels.

8 thoughts on “From the Notebook to a Final Copy Leave a comment

  1. The power points do help a lot! I’ve read most of the authors you refer to so it’s nice to see some familiar things and some new ideas. I really struggle with getting my students to write so much volume. I don’t know if I’m not giving them enough time, or to much time, perhaps I’m not making my expectations clear enough. It’s a lot to think about over the summer.


  2. Thanks Stacy! I’m going to hit with you with some more questions if that’s ok. I know you’re busy but this really helps! Don’t feel like you have to answer them all whatever you can do would be really helpful to me. I would love to hear from any other readers as well.

    I hope you take my extensive list as a huge compliment. : )

    1) Are the idea notebooks the only ones they are allowed to take home or do they take the 5-subject notebooks home too? What kind of notebooks are you using for those? Probably some cute thing you made right? : )
    2) Do you have the five subject notebook sectioned (or do the students use the sections as they wish) and if so, how?
    3) Do you collect and read both notebooks or do you interact with, tuck writing into, and comment on the five subject notebook only?
    4) How often do you collect and look at notebooks or are you doing it as you conference with students?
    5) Do you find that it’s hard for some students to not have pages get ripped out of the notebooks. I’m currently using a composition notebook that we decorate at the beginning of the year and I’m considering switching…
    6) Is there a “out of the notebook stage” between drafting the story in the notebook and publishing it? For example, right now I have kids collect ideas, try things out, and start drafting in their notebook, next it goes to a draft on yellow legal paper, then they choose a piece to publish from several “yellow drafts.”
    7) I’ve seen your great published assessments, do you do that for their notebooks and if so, how often?
    8) Which genres do you teach during the year?
    9) Approximately how long do you spend in each genre and how many published pieces do you expect from them at the end of it?
    10) Do you have to deal with testing in writing…if not how would you deal with? I’m trying to teach it as an immersion genre, like everything else but I’m meeting resistance from administration that wants “test prep.”


  3. I too would like information about your homework with the notebook and assessing that. We are currently discussing these as a school site (5th and 6th grade). I love the visual representation of the writing process you made.


  4. Thanks for your details. Could you tell me more about their idea notebook nightly assignment? What are the requirements and how do you assess it?

    Also, about how much time in class are you able to spend on writing per week?

    Thank you!


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