A Master Writer’s Notebook in Evernote
A few years ago I thought I had a brilliant idea. I created a master writer’s notebook since my notebook writing, which I shared with students during writing conferences and in minilessons, was spread out in several writer’s notebooks. Instead of carrying multiple writer’s notebooks with me when I conferred, I thought it would be easier to have a master notebook. However, recopying old entries into one master writer’s notebook was tedious. I gave up on my idea when the master notebook broke apart and went back to schlepping a few notebooks around with me whenever I conferred with students.
In late December I looked at the bookshelf in my office that holds many of my writer’s notebooks. I noticed I’ve amassed a lot of writer’s notebooks in the past decade (see photo). The “master writer’s notebook” sat among the notebooks filled with writing. I looked at it and sighed. A few minutes later I thought about creating a digital master writer’s notebook.
I opened Evernote and created a new notebook called “writer’s notebook.” Then, I read through my old notebooks in search of my favorite entries. I photographed writer’s notebook entries using the document camera feature in Evernote. Next, I applied tags to each entry based on the audience I could share it with (i.e., elementary school, middle school, adult audience, or general). I also added tags like “boxes and bullets,” “graphic organizer,” “literary essay,” “poetry,” and “writing exercise.” This gives me a variety of ways to search for entries when I need them.
Here’s a peek at how it looks on my Evernote Desktop:
And this is how the “writer’s notebook” notebook looks on my iPad:
It’ll take me awhile to go through all of my notebooks to put everything I need into Evernote. But for now, I have a master writer’s notebook in Evernote, which means I can access my notebook writing on my iPhone, on my iPad, and from my computer. Now I can bring my iPad into a classroom and confer with student writers. I don’t have to worry about bringing several writer’s notebooks with me since everything is in one place. All I have to do is open the “writer’s notebook” notebook in Evernote or do a keyword search for a given entry. Then I can show a student a writer’s notebook entry during a writing conference. I can also e-mail it to someone if the student needs or wants to use it as a mentor.