During the first few weeks of school, many teachers graciously invite me into their classrooms to launch writer’s notebooks. I love talking to kids about the purpose of a writer’s notebook. We discuss what a writer’s notebook is (a place to collect ideas, to remember words, to take risks) and what a writer’s notebook isn’t (a journal, a sketchbook.) Then, I usually give the kids a peek inside my own writer’s notebook. Wanna see?
Sometimes, I make lists in my notebook:
Sometimes, I draw a quick sketch in my notebook:
I made that sketch when I was beginning a memoir about my childhood doll. I was trying to bring back as many memories of her as I could, so I sketched out my childhood home and thought about all the different things I did with my doll when I was younger.
Sometimes, I just want to get my thoughts out, unsure of what will become of them:
I wrote those thoughts as my daughter’s second birthday approached. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write. You can see in the upper right hand corner I was questioning, “Do I write her a letter? Write an essay? Maybe a poem?” I never did write anything, but I am so glad I saved those thoughts on paper. I know I will need them someday.
Sometimes, I make a timeline of events if I am writing a story…
…and then I zoom-in on each event from the timeline:
Sometimes, I see a text that inspires me. If I can, I copy it into my notebook:
Then, I will try it out myself:
Sometimes, I develop a character in my notebook:
Thinking through characters before I write always adds depth to my writing.
Sometimes, I collect words:
This is only a small peek into my writer’s notebook. There are loads of other entries (writing long, webs, favorite lines, visual note-taking, etc). Giving the kids a peek inside my own writer’s notebook shows them there is no “right” way to keep a notebook. There are endless possibilities.
It works every time. The kids are always eager to leave the carpet area and start writing in their very own writer’s notebooks.
Literacy Coach, Reader, Writer