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autumnblossom 09-29-2011 03:18 AM

Writer's Notebook
We have just started using Writer's Notebooks in our school. Some of the teachers are finding it hard to understand that these are for the students to write in independently without a lot of, if any, teacher direction.

Any suggestions, ideas????

Thanks in advance.

trishg1 09-29-2011 02:32 PM

I tell teachers at my school that I have noticed that my students simply have an easier time writing because they spend more time writing. Allowing them to free write without restraint helps them remove fear...the biggest block to writing. I know it is hard, but not every piece needs to be published. My students sign up for conferences with me- they choose pieces that they want me to read and give suggestions on.

FlyinSquirl 09-29-2011 03:16 PM

This is my first year using writing notebooks in class. I'm currently teaching third grade. During the first week of school, I gave each of the students a little flip memo book--called a jot book--and had them just collect ideas for writing. We would read books in class and then discuss what were some ideas they could write about. I allow the students to keep these at their desks so they can add an idea whenever they come up with one. This helps give the students independence because they do not rely on me to give them prompts/ideas.

During the second week of school we discussed the difference between a writing notebook and a diary. From there I try to give them short amounts of time throughout the day and week to write in their notebooks. Because this is a place for them to practice writing, the main feedback I give them is 1. Are you writing a story? 2. Have you given me good details? and 3. Have you practiced editing?

I address the above three questions using a rubric (quantity, quality, attempted editing) in my weekly evaluations of their notebooks. The rubric helps keep me focused on the fact that this is a place for practice.

I've had some students write lists of things or one sentence stories. When this happens, I just redirect them.

trishg1 09-29-2011 03:25 PM


I've had some students write lists of things or one sentence stories. When this happens, I just redirect them.
I actually tell my students to make lists when they don't have anything to write about. Some have written color words, rhyming words, active verbs-

I have a student this week who took a list- ABC's of food, and is now in the process of creating her own picture book with it.

To me, a writing notebook should just be a place to write. Editing only happens when we get into a formal piece.

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