Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Writer's Notebooks

This year I plan to do a better job with my writer's notebooks.  I am really motivated right now because I just went to a great training on expository writing and writer's notebooks!  I can't wait to get this going in my class! 

Here is how I am setting it up this year:

In the front of the writer's notebook will be a table of contents.  This is where we will add our strategies and mini-lessons so the students will be able to find them in their notebooks easily.  In the back of their notebooks we will add a table of contents just for the mini-lessons on revising and editing.  We will add our strategies and examples for editing and revising beginning in the back of the notebook.  Here are the table of contents I plan to use.

Click here to get the editing/revising table of contents: Writer's Notebook Table of Contents 2

I am also going to add a few things to the beginning of my notebooks that worked well for me last year.  My students that really struggled with writing, frequently used the "I can write about..." page.  (Also great for my ESL students!)  I saw them turn to this page A LOT during writing workshop!

For the students that have trouble with sight words, we used this page.  Every week we added our new word wall words to the chart for them to refer to.

I also have a color word chart that can be added.  The students colored in the square next to the color word. This may be best for K-1 students, but my ESL students also referred to this chart often.

Getting the students to come up with ideas for their small moments stories can be a struggle, so I made some idea boxes for them to cut out and add to their notebooks.  They can refer back to it when they are ready to start a new piece and check off the ideas they have already used.

  We often talk about text to self connections during other lessons throughout the day and that leads to ideas that we could write a small moment about.  I created this page so the students could write their ideas down before they forget about them!

As I teach the mini-lessons, I always make an anchor chart and continue to add to it.  I wanted the students to be able to always refer back to the anchor chart.  I know I'm supposed to keep them all up...but I sometimes run out of wall space!  I started making little notes that have some of the information from the achor charts so the students could add them to their notebooks.  Here are a few that I have done:

I have one more thing to share....this doesn't go in the writer's notebook, but is a good tool to use during writing workshop!  I made this last year and it worked well for me.  When I conference with the students I take notes on the skills they have mastered and what they still need to work on.  Then, I go back and look at my notes to see what we ALL need to work on and what only a few students need to work on.  I can then plan another mini-lesson on the topic that everyone is struggling with, or plan a small group lesson for the few students that need help. 

I hope to post more about my writer's notebooks throughout the year...so check back!

I hope you found something useful here!


  1. this is GREAT! i homeschool a 7th grader and these ideas are just as helpful for her as for my 3rd grader. thank you!

  2. this is amazing! I'm an 8th grade writer and this is really helpful for me to write novels thank you

  3. @ Jennifer

    We are loving No More, I'm Done! By Jennifer. Great read on fostering independent writing in lower el.


  4. First of all Thanks Wagner,,, Great ideas! I love the quotation marks and the substitute teacher writing prompt. I will have to use those soon!


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