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Writer's Notebook Explained
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Writer's Notebook Explained


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  • All takes place in the context of a writer’s workshop classroom.
  • That’s what a writer’s notebook is for. It gives you a place to write down what makes you angry or sad or amazed, to write down what you noticed and don’t want to forget. A writer’s notebook gives you a place to live like a writer.
  • Computer types, newspaper clipping, photos, heart map
  • They have been called many things, but it is the principal behind them that unifies them.
  • Reread and sift out the most valuable pieces, bits that spark your own original writing. Ask yourself: What seems interesting/intriguing? What stuff do I care about? What ideas keep tugging at me? What seems bold and original? Reread. Look for seeds. Look for sparks.
  • Read the room right now. Write a quick entry about what you’re noticing, how you feel about being back at school today, an overheard conversation or anything else you wish to record about what’s happening in here this morning. You will not have to share this entry with anyone! This is the type of “Idea Notebook” entry you’ll want your kids to write.
  • Think of a meaningful place. It could be anything from the kitchen table in the home where you grew up to your favorite beach in Florida. List small moments related to that place. Write about one of those small moments in your writer’s notebook.
  • Study the photograph. Think about: Who or what is pictured? Where was the picture taken? When was the picture taken? Why did you choose this photo to bring in today? Write about the small moment related to the photograph.
  • Think about a person who is important to you (living or deceased). List as many small moments as you can about that person. Write about one of those small moments with him/her.
  • Examine the object closely. When did you get it? Where did you buy or acquire it from? Who gave it to you? Why is it important? List everything! Write a small moment entry related to this object.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Writer’s Notebook You have ideas worth writing down!
    • 2. Writing Circle …and so, the creative circle goes round and Your Idea Write it down Sparks a new idea Write more
    • 3. Unlocking the writer within ….
    • 4. You may not see yourself as a writer… BUT everyone has something to say!
    • 5. Keeping a Writer’s Notebook When I find something that inspires me, I write about it in my writer's notebook. I think of my writer's notebook as a true friend, a great listener, someone who will accept whatever I write (the good, the bad, the weird, and the tedious). My writer's notebook never judges me. It understands that becoming a writer takes a long time, and we might as well have a little fun along the way. Ralph Fletcher (2005)
    • 6. What is aWhat is a Writer’sWriter’s Notebook?Notebook? Not a diary! Writers react. Writers need a place to record these reactions.
    • 7. Writing SmallWriting Small Seed IdeasSeed IdeasMind PicturesMind Pictures DreamsDreams Snippits of TalkSnippits of Talk ListsLists MemoriesMemories Writing that InspiresWriting that Inspires Unforgettable StoriesUnforgettable Stories …… ……
    • 8. The Outside… Reflects the writer’s personality Small notepad, a journal, a sketch book, or a composition book Place to keep your thoughts, dreams, words, lists, ramblings, stories, reflections, quotes, pictures…
    • 9. The Inside…
    • 10. Rereading: Digging OutRereading: Digging Out the Crystalsthe Crystals How do you separate crystal from dull rock?
    • 11. “Observation of the Room” Strategy
    • 12. “Meaningful Place” Strategy
    • 13. “Look at a Photograph” Strategy
    • 14. “Think of a Person” Strategy
    • 15. “Look at an Object” Strategy
    • 16. Notebook ChecklistNotebook Checklist Keep your notebook with you at all times. Date every entry. Do not skip pages. All drawings should have writing with them. Number the pages. Write daily. Vary your topics. Care for your notebook. Make sure there is evidence of what you’re learning in your notebook.
    • 17. “Tell the truth about your life and what’s really going on.” -Georgia Heard
    • 18. Final thought about what a notebookFinal thought about what a notebook is from fifth grader, Briana from fifth grader, Briana Carlin. A notebook is where you keep dew drops from a dew drop morning. It’s where the sun sets. It’s the wind in your face at the beach looking out over the water. A notebook is where you’re playing with your dog. It’s where you have dreams about walking on rainbows. It’s where the good feelings and the bad feelings spend the night.