If ever there were a moment in education to pay attention, be astonished, and tell about it in our writing, I wager it’s now. This is the season of school evolving and changing. This is the back to school season with words we never imagined before- sneeze guards, Zoom breakouts, synchronous and asynchronous, mask breaks, temperature checks, distance learning, hybrid model. What we always knew is no longer, for the most part. What remains? How do we teach well in a COVID-19 world? What matters? What doesn’t? This year, we need to write the moments.
In my experience, many young writers struggle to use a writer’s notebook as a tool. They’re excited to have a notebook but unclear about what to “do” in there. Shared writing can be a powerful way to teach writers how to generate ideas for writing and to get themselves started, based on the books we are reading and discussing as a community.
There have been many times I have had to hang on to patience, hold my breath, and wait. I have had students that do not hesitate to jump into writing … Continue Reading Wait Time
Inspired by a recent conversation I had with some fourth graders, today I want to share a post with you that is also something you can share with your students. Feel free to read, display, or otherwise share with your third fourth, fifth graders, and middle schoolers.
One thing we can do to support all writers, is to be intentional in the topics and story ideas we use as models and mentors. Modeling a wide range of stories and ideas can help each of your writers be inspired.
The creative lives we maintain outside of writing fill us up as humans with stories to tell. When we bring this life into the writing workshop, it builds community, and it lays the foundation for lifelong writers who have strategies for sustaining their own writing lives.
Big, blank spaces means big possibilities for a poetry unit!
Fast forward, ten months and today I offer you another powerful tool for today’s multimedia writer.
Four Mentor Texts to Nurture the Relationship Between a Writer and a Notebook: Notebooks as a Writers Tool
Writers pause to notice the obvious and obscure moments in life. They preserve their memories in their notebooks by jotting words, tucking away photographs, ticket stubs, and other items that … Continue Reading Four Mentor Texts to Nurture the Relationship Between a Writer and a Notebook: Notebooks as a Writers Tool
Regardless of genre, we want to inspire students to develop their voices as writers, and then use those voices to entertain, inform, and change the world.
If you can’t sketch quickly or jot words quickly, or the lines in on the paper feel too small, or you find it difficult to organize your ideas on a blank page, then perhaps there might be other tools that are a better fit for you.
There is no one “correct” way to organize writer’s notebooks. So much depends upon the purpose the notebooks serve in your classroom and how students will utilize them during writing time. My goal with this post is to share different possibilities for organizing writer’s notebooks and present you with various options. To section or not to section will depend on how you see writer’s notebooks and the role they play in your workshop.
Nervously lowering myself into a chair, I scooted myself closer to the table. Around me sat three new colleagues. My new 7th grade teaching team. Having moved from my familiar … Continue Reading Putting the Large Stones In First: A September Check-In
Before summer began, we at Two Writing Teachers planned this blog series, and I blithely volunteered to write a post about the value of notebooks in writing workshop. Notebooks. What … Continue Reading Notebooks: Starting with What Matters Most
All of us at Two Writing Teachers are thinking about and planning for summer writing. Summer writing inspiration for our students and summer writing goals for ourselves. Kathleen wrote this fabulous … Continue Reading Summer Writing: A Confession and a Goal
Beginning to think about Exploratory Notebooks and easing into a research writing unit.
As much as I LOVE notebooks, even I have to admit there is a time in every writer’s process when it is time to pop out of the notebook and onto a laptop or lined paper.
With some set-up, modeling, and direct instruction, your students can go from okay to great note-takers.
When I visit a classroom, one of the first things I often say to kids is, “Today, please don’t erase. I want to see ALL the great work you are doing as a writer. When you erase, your work disappears!” Often, this is what kids are accustomed to and they continue working away. But sometimes, kids stare at me as if I’ve got two heads.
Last week I had a conversation with a middle school teacher who has spent her summer studying writing workshop and is excited to make writer’s notebooks the backbone of her … Continue Reading Writer’s Notebooks