Making The Write Start In 2016 Part3 - Expectations For The Writer's Notebook


Because your students are largely inexperienced writers they will be looking for direction from the most proficient writer in the room- their teacher.

I present the following list of expectation as a starting point. As you grow to understand the needs of your young writers you may feel the need to modify some of these expectations. 

They should reflect the immediate needs of your growing community of writers. Here are possible inclusions to consider, but essentially, you should initiate a conversation with your students in an effort to establish some non-negotiables regarding the management and care of the notebooks.


  • We write in our notebooks at school.
  • We write in our notebooks in places beyond our school.
  • We can find suitable topics and ideas from our lives, our reading, and from our thinking.
  • As writers we will make decisions about our writing on a daily basis.
  • As writers we can try new writing strategies taught in our writing workshops in our notebooks.
  • We respect every writer’s notebook.
  • We should always write to the best of our ability and attempt to make our writing ‘reader friendly’ at all times.
  • We should respect our notebooks by taking care of it and having it in class every day.
  • We should continually practice what we know about spelling, punctuation and grammar in our notebooks.


Think of your list of expectations as a set of guidelines to clarify writing behaviours. It will create working parameters outlining each writer’s responsibilities. 

You might also consider drawing up a list of teacher expectations to identify what students can expect in relation to how you will support their writing efforts. This would be a most worthwhile reflection to share.






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