Sunday, March 2, 2014

Smiles All Around for Writer's Notebooks

Several weeks ago, my young authors received a wonderful surprise...Writers' Notebooks!  Up until now, they have been writing stories in stapled, folded, storybook (lined) paper.  My first graders truly see themselves as authors when they are writing stories in those"real" books.  For the past few years, though, I have chosen to make a switch in our writing format for the 2nd semester of school. Students are introduced to Writer's Notebooks.  My kids are used to seeing ME write in MY notebook, as well as occasionally sharing my writing with them. So, they see this is a big deal!
All morning, I had this big box sitting by my chair and easel. As soon as the children walked into the classroom that day, there was a buzz about what might be inside. Predictions included books, iPads, stuffed animals, a class pet, and notebooks {yes, on of my little eager writers was already hoping that some sort of notebook would be inside}. FINALLY, they were able to tear into it and find out what was inside that box!  The reactions were priceless!! The way they screamed with excitement and hugged each other, you would have thought they won a million bucks!!

During writer's workshop, I "ooohed" and "aahhhed"about how much they have grown as writers in first grade. I told them that they have graduated from our previous writing routine and are ready to expand and grow their skills with notebooks. We spent the next week or so learning about "What is a Writer's Notebook?" in class.  I even read a few snippets from Ralph Fletcher's A Writer's Notebook. (They ate that up and felt very important to be learning about a notebook from an expert.) At home, students were busy personalizing their notebooks with pictures.
After having the notebooks at home for about a week and a half, they were returned and adorned with creative collages! Of course, the kids couldn't wait to see the other notebooks, so we did a gallery walk around the classroom to view everyone's fabulous covers. Then, we began to set up our notebooks. Several pages were set aside at the front of the notebook for "seed ideas." Several pages were reserved in the back of the notebook, then, for a "word collector" section to capture interesting words that they might want to include in their own writing. Our first genre exploration in our notebooks will be small moment/personal narrative stories.

My kids are so excited about their notebooks that they are taking them everywhere...cafeteria, playground, home, even to bed!  One parent told me that their son now sleeps with a composition book under his pillow just in case he gets a writing idea in the middle of the night.  Ahhhhh, mission accomplished!


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  2. Ahhhh!!! THANK YOU! I am so excited! I am heading over your blog right now to check it out! :)