Honoring Notebooks

slice of life

I love my writer’s notebook, because it’s the start of many things. All of your dreams can be scribbled down onto a page, and it’s specially for you. Future novels or big ideas are all put in there, just waiting to be brought to life some day. ~ Charlotte, 5th grade


One thing that came out of our #TeachWriting chat last night on Living a Writerly Life Alongside Our Students is that Writer’s Notebooks are an essential tool. And whether they are paper or electronic (one participant, @natblogcollab, in our chat is even using a google presentation as a writer’s notebook), we know that the work in notebooks should be honored in the moment, as well as nurtured for the future work it may grow into.

Here are some ways our chatters said they are using Notebooks themselves or with students:

To learn. To write as a class. To take notes. For quick writes. For work with mentor texts. For revising. To try craft moves. To play. To sketch. To jot. To work out problems. For silly drawings that might inspire a comic book assignment. To express ideas. To reflect. To write bits of an essay. For short writing assignments. For personal growth. For poetry work.

And for more functional writing tasks that students often struggle with:

To document. To analyze. To summarize.

It’s clear that Writer’s Notebooks are a fundamental part of Writing Workshop and ELA, but we also believe the work in Notebooks could and should be expanded across subject to support learning in all areas.

As Lisa Hughes @lisahughes196 shared, I’d love to see every subject area using the Writer’s Notebook across disciplines all day, five minutes before class (to jot).

We will be encouraging students in this work–more summarizing, writing to learn, across the day.

Why not give it a try in your own Writer’s Notebook. See what becomes of it, what new ideas might bloom.

As Taylor Meredith said (@ForFeedback) her Writer’s Notebook is a disaster, but a Most Joyful Disaster. We might add they are a Necessary Joyful Disaster for Living the Writerly Life.


I use my writer’s notebook to write down my thoughts, write down my jots. My writer’s notebook inspires me to do more, to achieve more. ~ Leah, 5th grade


How are you honoring the work in your students Notebooks? How about your own? We’d love to hear.

For all of the day’s Slice of Life stories head to Two Writing Teachers.

Darla & Jen


4 thoughts on “Honoring Notebooks

  1. Writer’s Notebooks were one of the most selfish things I did as a classroom teacher because of what I felt I gained from them. I absolutely loved them because I felt like they enabled me to get to know my students and things about their home lives that I never, ever could have just found out from our daily classroom work together.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So bummed that I missed the chat – March is turning into a migraine month, all due to the PARCC (I’m convinced). You are so right about the notebook, though, we use it to grow ideas, sketch, take notes about mentor texts, AND write. It’s a living part of our writing lives.


  3. Thanks for the motivation to keep trying. I’m in that frustrating place where I love the tangible, hold-it-in-your-hands notebook, but actually, I write more on the computer. But there’s no tactile pleasure in digital notebook. It’s a contemporary issue – I guess the answer is I can have both.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think we can have it both! I use my notebook more for lists and do more composing on my computer. It’s just faster and I get more done. 😉 My “Notebook” nonetheless.;)

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s