May
10
2010

Ways to Use Writer’s Notebooks

  Writer’s notebooks are typically used in the classroom to house ideas, favorite quotes, and just general nuggets of information.  At any time, the information within these notebooks may be turned into a writing piece. 

I like to encourage my own children to view writing as a fun, active form of communication.  I also like to encourage the connection between reading and writing as often as possible.  Here are ten ways a writer’s notebook may be used:

 Create a list of books you have read or want to read.  Keep the list(s) in your notebook.

  1. Write down how a book made you feel when you finished reading it. 
  2. Use your notebook to keep a list of ideas (“writing seeds”) that you may want to write about.  Use your real life to help you with your ideas.  Memories are often the start of a great writing piece.
  3. Keep a running list of funny, scary, embarrassing, etc. things that happen to you.  You never know, one day, one may make a great story.
  4. Keep a list of facts about topics that interest you. 
  5. Write down character traits of your favorite characters.  How does he or she behave?  Use examples from the books you have read.  
  6.  Clip out articles from the newspaper or magazines such as Scholastic News or Time for Kids.  The topic may spur a writing piece.
  7. Write down questions you have.  What do you wonder about?  Try to answer the questions
  8. Make a sensory section of your notebook.  When you are in new situations, stop for a minute.  What do you hear? What do you smell?  What do you see?  Write it all dow
  9. Write down interesting things people say.  Real people and characters in books.      

 If you are like me and you like to tie in literature with other activities, then Amelia’s Notebook (and the other books in the series) by Marissa Moss is the perfect book to read to introduce Writer’s Notebooks.  Check out my post at Teaching with Picture Books for an idea of how to get started with Writer’s Notebooks.  I wrote that post for use in the classroom, but I think it can easily be modified to use at home as well!   

Dawn Little (@linkstoliteracy on Twitter) blogs at www.teachingwithpicturebooks.wordpress.com where she provides educators with picture book lessons based on comprehension strategies and the Six Traits of Writing.  In addition, she blogs at www.literacytoolbox.wordpress.com where she provides educators and parents with tips and tools to enhance the literacy lives of children.  She is the founder and owner of Links to Literacy, a company dedicated to providing interactive literacy experiences for children and families.  Find out more at www.linkstoliteracy.com

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6 Comments + Add Comment

  • These are great ideas that I’ll have to share with my students in the fall. Thanks for posting.

  • I am really trying to keep a Writer’s Notebook this summer…and write everyday! I love your suggestions! Thanks for a great post!

  • I love this! I am always trying to dovetail my subjects with each other in the way you brought literature in with this notebook writing activity. I have always worked my lessons around Social Studies and Science or Math History as the theme, but I like what you have suggested here.

  • Excellent post however , I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this subject? I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Kudos!

  • Thanks for the tips. I really need to get myself a notebook. Often I think of things to write about and then forget later.

    I never really thought about everything I could be taking notes on. So this helps :)

  • Maggie, these are some great tips. I’ll start using some of them today. My 15-year-old son also really enjoys writing. I bought him a journaling notebook for Christmas just as a “filler” gift–so far, he’s used it more than any of his other presents. I’ll also pass this post along to him. Have a very Happy New Year!

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