A writer’s notebook gives you a place to live like a writer, not just in school during writing time but wherever you are, at any time of day. Ralph Fletcher
The idea behind a writer’s notebook comes from the lives of professional writers who often keep notepads close at hand to record ideas, words, thoughts... as they come to mind. It is an essential tool for the writer.
Catherine Goodwin, author of the young adult novel Seeking Shelter always keeps a notebook beside her bed when she’s working on a story. "Be prepared," she advises young writers. "The best ideas for a story often pop into your head in the middle of the night and they’re lost by morning if you don’t write them down."
Cycle 3 teacher Susan Brisson has each student keep a writer’s notebook. She believes that if you want to teach students to write- you must be willing to write yourself. She shares her writing with her students ; her struggles to find the words to fill a blank page ; her successes when she finds just the right words to describe those small everyday moments. Susan inspires her young writers to look inside their own lives for the seeds that will make their writing come alive.
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The following websites and powerpoint presentations will offer ideas for teachers to consider, elaborate on, and/or adapt to their own unique situations.
Ralph Fletcher has one of the best websites to go to for information on writer’s notebook. Speaking directly to the young writer, he offers suggestions on how to use the notebook, ideas to jumpstart the imagination, thoughts about revision and more.
Teachers Stacey Shubitz and Ruth Ayres blog at Two Writing Teachers. Their website offers so much information on how they use writers’ notebooks in their classrooms. Check out their powerpoint presentations by clicking on the links below. You can download them to your computer.
An excellent strategy to use with writers’ notebooks is the Quickwrite.
You can download the introduction to Linda Reif’s book, 100 Quickwrites. It provides an excellent definition of this strategy, the benefits or using quickwrites, and ideas for getting started.
Teachers of younger students will find age appropriate ideas on using quickwrites here.
Finally, take a Peek Inside My Writer’s Notebook, with teacher Ruth Ayre.