Inside the Writers Notebook

A number of years ago, I discovered a professional book that made a tremendous difference in the way I taught writing.  I shared the text with all my other intermediate teacher friends and one by one they all jumped on board and began using many of the strategies included.  Buckner is a fourth grade teacher, so her ideas are classroom tested and realistic–isn’t that fantastic? This year, the district actually purchased her book for ALL our intermediate teachers and have incorporated ideas from the text into our curriculum.  YAY!

My well loved and often read copy!

The first thing we had to do was actually create our notebooks . . . and create them to be personal, special places where students would want to record their ideas.  A week earlier, I sent a note home to families with suggestions for things to send . . . scrapbook paper, stickers, family photos, magazine pictures, and so on.  This week the big day arrived where we got to decorate!  I always have a ton of extra supplies, and 5 minutes after the directions were given (including, believe it or not, to keep the supplies organized) this is what I saw.

Sorry so blurry . . . I think I was in shock at the carnage created so quickly.  Genius comes at a price, right?  Sigh.

So the students got to work and cut and created and glued and laughed and shared . . .

Pop star crazy already in fourth grade. . . sigh.
As you can see, they had a blast!  The next step is for me to cover the covers with contact paper so they stay nice–I’ll show my technique in my next post!  I think I’m going to try to rope one of my parent helper wannabes into helping because it IS tedious! 🙂
And then it was time to get to work!  One thing that Buckner stresses is finding ways to help students generate ideas, and over two days we practiced two–writing from a list and writing from a word.  Watch for tomorrow’s post where I explain a little more clearly what these entailed!  It feels good to be starting to get into routines–my class definitely needs structure so we are ready to establish our writing “norms”!  Happy Friday, everyone!