Showing posts from February, 2021

Revisiting the Notion of a Writer's Notebook

I do not keep a writer’s notebook. It keeps me. It keeps me writing. It keeps me thinking. It keeps me closely observing my world. As Ernest Hemingway declared, ’I belong to this notebook and this pencil.’  I write most days and on the days when I don’t write, I am usually considering what I want to write next. I cannot stay away. My notebook beckons to me continually. None of my notebooks would be considered a journal or a diary. They are quite clearly writer’s notebooks. Meant for the collective random gatherings of my life and the sometimes scatty world inside my head. Something pops up and I feel the strong compulsion to write it down just in case I might need it later. Fleeting thoughts sitting comfortably alongside more considered comments.  Creative bursts of reflection and scattered recollections are scattered across the hungry pages of my notebook. I do not use sections in my notebooks. Nor do I number pages or keep an index. I tried these things once and they only brought on

The Value of Making Lists in a Writer's Notebook - A VIDEO

Here is my latest video. It deals with making lists in our writer's notebooks.  In the video I share some of many ways making lists assists me to be a more effective  writer. Lists: Help me organize my thoughts Brainstorm new ideas and possibilities Help me plan my writing intentions Allow me to indulge in valuable wordplay Expand my thinking Expand my choices/options Allow me time to have some writing fun Challenge my current thinking Activate my thoughts before I write Across almost 40 years of using a writer's notebook the making of lists has been a constant feature of my harvesting efforts. When you create a list it is a most practical exercise for a writer to undertake. You are building your knowledge, harvesting potential and taking action that may eventually transform into something more meaningful.  Tip: Some writers leave a blank page opposite the list page. This allows them to respond in greater detail, should they feel the urge. 

Working To Improve Sentence Structure With Young Writers

A new school year unfolds and the initial writing samples student writers produce, provide tangible evidence of where they are situated in relation to sentence structure. Don't start pulling your hair out, as the situation can be rapidly improved by teaching into a range of simple, yet effective strategies. Many of the same techniques used to teach fluency in reading can be used to improve writing. Student writers need to be alerted to the importance and power of fluency. This process can begin by exposing them to writing samples that flow easily. Get them to listen to the words initially, before examining them more closely.  Help them to more readily recognise good sentence structure and apply this skill to their own writing. Grammar taught in context has the best chance of impacting the quality of student writing. Therefore a range of quality literature titles and mentor texts must be enlisted as exemplars of effective sentence structure. In truth, young writers are being taught

Expanding A Child's View of Writing

Writing research data shows children provided with opportunities to write every day begin to compose even when they are not actually writing. In other words, they begin to think about their writing beyond the confines of the classroom. Writing moves away from just being a 'school thing.'  There is immense satisfaction gained from hearing students, who upon entering the classroom first thing in the morning announce, ‘ I know what I’m going to write about today ’ They indicate clearly that they understand the power of writing. They are demonstrating they think as writers do. Unless students have this daily opportunity to write they will not develop the ability to think through their writing. They will not fully understand the process of writing. Donald Greaves suggested that young writers require a minimum of four days per week to write for their own purposes. This, he believed assisted the ‘learning to think’ process to develop. It is therefore important to approach the teaching

Writer's Notebook -Ways To Encourage Student Ownership

It remains vitally important the integrity of the writer's notebook be preserved if it is to retain a strong position as a writing resource.  How the notebook is perceived by both teachers and students is a critical consideration in establishing its effectiveness within a writing classroom. Its acceptance and ultimate health depend on the preservation of its integrity as a writing tool. With the start of another school year in Australia, my thoughts return yet again to the notebook and how it is presented within the writing program.  Donald Graves frequently wrote about the growth of orthodoxies surrounding the writing process. Many of these so called orthodoxies were based on misconceptions and distortions of the original intent and were unwittingly instituted by educators. The same thing is true of the writer's notebook. Its intent has too often been hijacked as well. Across the almost 40 years I have been using notebooks I have seen some quite disturbing assumptions regardin