Setting Expectations For The Writer's Notebook

As a new school year begins, it is timely to remember your students are largely inexperienced writers so they will be looking for direction from the most proficient writer in the room- their teacher.

Firstly, I believe it is important to establish some protocols with your students regarding the way the writer's notebook is managed and maintained. 

I suggest you invite a discussion about how, as a community of writers you are going to best use this writer's resource. From the discussion try to establish some non-negotiables regarding the management and care of the notebooks.

I present the following ideas as a  possible starting point. As you grow to understand the needs of your young writers, you will no doubt modify some of these expectations. They need to reflect the immediate needs of your growing community of writers. 

  • 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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