Making The Write Start in 2016 Part 2 -First Notebook Entries
The first notebook entry is most important…
It might be a letter to one’s self about what you intend to do as a writer. John, a fifth grader wrote the following poem as his initial entry.
It’s a Place
Why am I keeping this notebook?
Because it’s a place where I can keep track of my life
It’s a place where I can observe closely and where I can store little pieces of strength
It’s a place where I can keep the elements of my life
(Lightning, fire, ice, time and space)
And Writing (poetry, words, stories)
It’s a place where tales weave
All in all
It’s a place for ME.
The first notebook entry might be prompted by an artifact or a significant piece of ephemera. Remember, you can set the tone and the expectation with the very first notebook entry.
You could ask each student to collect a piece of ephemera, or a photograph to be on page one of their notebook and write from this place.
Other possible starting points :
- The story behind their first name or family name (significance, history).
- Lists. They can provide the launching pad for a series of writing ideas.
- Questions and wonderings.
- Treasure Trove. Collect magazine pictures, words, headlines and have students select, connect, talk and write about one of the items they consider to be treasure.
- Lifting a line from a text and use that line to launch a notebook entry. The line can be used anywhere within the writing piece, -beginning, middle, end.
- Another way to begin your writer’s notebook might be with a statement of intent:
‘My writer’s notebook will be filled with my thinking. Really filled. I want my notebook to be brimming with collected thoughts and ideas. I will share my thinking in words and sometimes in sketches. I will share what is important to me, what I notice, what I hope for, what I hear, what I read and what I learn. All these things I will gather in my notebook. This is the place all my writing will begin, -stories, poems, reports and opinions. I will collect poems, stories, quotes, extracts and favourite words and phrases. I will post in photographs and pieces of ephemera to act as memory markers. I will fill my notebook with all those things that inspire me to write. Maps, drawing, words and images all together in this very special notebook. A notebook containing the treasure I never want to forget.’
There are many ways to begin. Writers make decisions. Choose a way that suits you and your students. Exposure to a range of possibilities will ensure every writer successfully leaves the launch pad in an exciting way.