writer's notebook

A Scavenger Hunt

Last week I talked with a group of intermediate teachers about writers’ notebooks. We discussed the importance of writers’ notebooks to the life of a writer, as well as how to get them going in classrooms. The teachers returned to their classrooms and launched writers’ notebooks. Yesterday, a week later, we came back together for the second day of the training.

As you know, one of my favorite parts of my job is how I get to hear so many great ideas. A couple of summers ago, Stacey wrote a post about ideas for introducing the writer’s notebook. Here’s another clever way to introduce writer’s notebooks. Sam Tipton, fourth grade teacher at Manchester Elementary School, set up a scavenger hunt for his writers. They followed the clues throughout the school, using reading strategies like inferring and predicting. The final stop of the scavenger hunt brought them to their treasure. On their desks, they found a writer’s notebook waiting to be filled with bits of their lives.

I like the idea of making the writer’s notebook a treasure at the end of a scavenger hunt. If you think about it, that’s really what it is…a place to collect the treasures we find as we move through life. I think it’s cool the way Sam connected the reading strategies to the scavenger hunt, and then the way reading ran into writing. To top it off, Sam and the other teachers in his grade level worked together so all of their students found their writer’s notebook this way.

If you have another idea for a special introduction of the writer’s notebook please share it with us in the comments.

Just a Note: This week I have way more things I want to blog about than I have days to blog, so I’m posting some of these things on my writing blog, Ruth Ayres Writes. Feel free to hop over there to see more about the cool things happening with young writers in classrooms. Today I posted “Conversation Between Writers” and shared a chart from a minilesson I taught in second grade about the way a writing conference goes.

4 thoughts on “A Scavenger Hunt

  1. What a great idea. There’s nothing quite so good for effective learning as making the kids excited and interested at the start and this surely does that.


  2. Using a scavenger hunt is such a fun and motivating idea!

    Last year I used to carry a little notebook with me as I conferred with students and taught mini-lessons. When writing ideas struck me, I would think aloud something like, “Wow, you just gave me a great idea for my writing! Do you mind if I write that down in my writer’s notebook?” At first they thought I was a little goofy but then they came to expect it. It didn’t take long before one of the kids said that they should have notebooks too so they could keep track of their own ideas. BINGO!


  3. Wonderful idea to share with everyone about the hunt and the find. I shared how I used to start the notebooks in a post a few weeks ago, on the first day of school, recording first day feelings, and writing a poem together. Making the book itself special for treasures is a delightful beginning, however. Like always, time to re-think beginnings.


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