SOL2015 A Chance To Share My Writer's Notebook With Inexperienced Writers
Today I had the opportunity to share a collection of my writer’s notebook with a group of young writers from a school in
’s west. I was
working with 160 Grade 5 and 6 students, along with their teachers as we
explored possibilities for the development of the student’s own notebooks. Melbourne
I have shared my notebooks many times across the years and given that I have been using a notebook for more than 30 years, there is a quite an array. I impressed upon the students that my notebooks reflect my way of operating with a notebook and that it may not necessarily be the way they choose to develop a notebook. Every writer must find a way unique to them when using a notebook.
I informed them that to be a useful resource for any writer, a notebook requires regular feeding. You must feed it the ‘stuff’ of your life. I hope they begin to see their notebook as a travelling companion. It is important to challenge the notion that reading and writing are just for school. Encouraging students to take their notebooks out into the world gives them greater ownership of their writing lives.
I asked these young writers to accept certain challenges when scanning my notebooks.
I urged them to be:
- Curious learners
- Text detectives
- Thinkers and Questioners
- Collectors and Note-takers
They were given notebooks to share in small groups. They scanned and perused. They pondered and wondered. They discussed entries and puzzled over artifacts. As I worked the room checking in on groups, questions constantly came my way.
When we gathered to share the findings of their action research a list was compiled. They had noted:
Lots of beginnings
Lists –so many lists
Ephemera- tickets, business cards, greeting cards, messages, emails
Extracts from mentor texts
Writing craft ideas
Facts -some unusual facts
Each notebook was different in size
Some notebooks had no lines
All the notebooks had strong protective covers.
Many of them had personalized covers
'There was lots of writing.'
Each time I do this, I marvel at what catches the eye of young writers. The questions asked and the observation made impressed me greatly. I had the students tell a partner one thing (at least) they would begin to include in their notebooks as a result of viewing mine. I then got them to share with me. Next week we will see what progress has been made. The aim is to close the gap between intention and action.
There is energy present among this group of learners. We must sustain such energy moving forward. The support of teachers will be vital here. The teachers also have writer’s notebooks to feed with raw stuff. I’m excited about the prospects for next week. It has proved to be a celebration in the past. I have little doubt this group of young writers and their teachers will embrace the challenge of producing rich and varied notebook entries. Entries that begin to show their interests and personalities on the page.