Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Peak Into My Writer's Notebook

Considering that you're reading my blog, you can safely assume that I enjoy writing. You can ALWAYS find me with a notebook in hand to make lists, jot notes, or to doodle with free time. I have even started carrying a "Life" notebook and a "School" notebook. *cough nerd cough*

As a junior in college, I was required to keep a Writer's Notebook. This was my first introduction to keeping a composition notebook as a writing journal. Throughout my junior year, we participated in different writing activities to keep in our notebook. As a senior and throughout my Masters classes, I continued adding to the same notebook. My notebook was a combo of lessons, ideas, and mock mini lessons for kids. 

One of my items on my to-do list in that handy school notebook was to spruce up my Writer's Notebook. I had a few composition notebooks left over from last year, so I snagged one and started to update my notebook. Here are some mini lessons I plan on doing with my kids at the beginning of the year to jump into our Writer's Notebook. 

P.S. Have you heard of this book? Mentor Texts has GOBS of ideas to use in writing. 

A Must Purchase!
Why not make your notebook personal? I added a photo of my adorable pirate nephew and sweet baby niece. 

Here's a Life Map I made back in college. I wrote down several memories of my childhood and growing up in the wonderful city of Sedalia.  Apparently I thought it was important to include my "marble collection....". I'm still wondering what made me even collect marbles.
Life Maps 
As a graduate student, I updated my life map and zoomed in on the street I lived on in middle and high school. My note says, "encourage writing about the little things!" Aren't the little things usually the best memories and stories to share?
Life Maps

I am known for having a camera with me 24/7, so I adore the idea of writing from a photograph. Looking an image and remembering that single moment and writing all the memories that come flooding back. I love this image of my grandparents from a family vacation to Disney World. I am pretty sure I was in diapers, but you can see the happiness and love beaming from them. It's so easy to write countless memories of my grandparents from this one single image.
Writing From a Picture

I believe a lot of powerful writing comes directly from your heart. Often times, I have poured my heart and soul into a piece of writing and felt a wave of relief after expressing myself in the written form. With a heart map, students can jot down everything that they hold close in their heart and refer back to it when they are in need of a writing topic. 

Heart Mapping
As teachers, we are always encouraging our students to zooooom into a specific moment. Instead of talking about playing at the park with your family, find a specific moment that happened at the park. This inverted triangle, helps students slowly narrow down a broad topic. Here, my memory transforms to a family spring break trip into one hilarious moment in the elevator where a new museum was created. Right, Ab? :)
Narrowing Your Topic
Writers block can happen to anyone. It's helpful to have a list of seed stories! The seeds can soon blossom into a beautiful flower, tree, or orchard of a story.
Ralph Fletcher is a great resource for teachers, and I love all of his great ideas for Writer's Notebooks. Today, I stumbled upon this idea of writing from an artifact. Lucky for me, I had held onto a basketball ticket from an awesome MU game that I attended in college. I glued it right into my notebook and jotted down the memory of rushing from the bleachers to the court after the buzzer beater victory.

Writing From an Artifact
In my classroom, I want my readers to be writers and my writers to be readers. They are one in the same in my opinion. Anyone can read and anyone can write! What a great idea to write down a list of books that you've read and enjoyed to possibly write about. It's like having a book club with your notebook.
Writing About Reading

Another list idea would be to make a list of things you as a writer knows a lot about. We all have different journeys and experiences, so each list will look differently.  I love giving my students the independence with their notebooks and letting their lists and ideas transform their notebooks into something personal and unique.

Things I Know a lot About

There's a start in my writer's notebook, what do YOU do with your Writer's Notebooks? I would love more ideas! Here's the philosophy I follow, and I printed a copy of this little reminder for my kid's writer's notebooks:


  1. OH MY!! I love your ideas for a Writer's Notebook! I feel like I'm going in blind to teaching writing and English. Your ideas will be a great help!! Thanks so much for sharing!!

    1. I'm so glad I could help! I plan to work really hard revamping my writing this year, so hopefully I can share some more ideas!

  2. Oh my gosh, I LOVE this post and just pinned a bunch of your pictures!!! Your notebook is awesome. I plan on borrowing a bunch of these ideas for my first writing workshop lessons next year!!

    1. Awesome! I'm glad you enjoyed the post! I have gained a lot of valuable info from your writing workshop posts, too!

  3. Love, love, love these ideas. Last year, I had my students start their lists at the very beginning of their notebook. This is what I used: Things I love, Things I hate, Places I've Been, Places I'd Like to Go, Goals, Accomplishments. (There are two others too...but I can't remember!)I think I'll incorporate your ideas with mine and have a bomb-diggity writer's notebook. :o)

    1. Ohhh thanks Shannon! I will definitely add those lists to my own notebook tomorrow. Then, I'll have my kiddos do the same! :)

  4. Loving the Ralph Fletcher!

  5. Oh my goodness, I LOVE this! I'm in school to be a teacher and I'm definitely going to tuck this idea away. I'm so glad you included pictures of all the different pages you have. Super helpful. :)

  6. Your writer's notebook is amazing and would apply to so many grades! Beautiful ideas! Thank you for sharing.

  7. I love the idea of a writing prompt from something tangible! Photos are the best. I will definitely be doing this next year!

  8. Wonderful idea! I will be using this in our home schooling! Thank you so much for sharing!

  9. Jordan,
    Great post about generating writing ideas. Love the artwork and personal touches in your writer's notebook.


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