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Getting Started

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 9 months ago

 Getting Started


One initial lesson for writer's notebooks is to Read Ralph Fletcher's opening story in Keeping a Writer's Notebook.  It's about digging a ditch and catching all kinds of critters.  He compares writer's notebooks to that ditch -- a space we dig in our busy lives to catch stuff.  After reading the story, my students and I brainstorm the different kinds of things we could catch in our writer's notebooks.  Then I typed the chart in a format that made it easy for students to tape it to the inside cover of their notebooks.  Here's what we came up with:


wn_things to catch.doc



Another initial notebook lesson in my classroom was that of collecting ephemerma from our lives.  The stuff we don't want to throw away and gets shoved into "junk drawers" (like ticket stubs or postcards) or the stuff we throw away everyday, like gum wrappers or tags from new clothes.   These artifacts of our existence are important to collect.  Here's a note I put into quart-size Ziplock baggies and sent home as homework.  Ziplocks work nicely because they are flat and if something fits into the ziplock, more than likely it'll fit into the notebook!

Find 3 Artifacts from YOUR LIFE.doc



Here's an idea I found in Colleen Cruz's book Independent Writing: One Teacher -- Thirty-Two Needs, Topics, and Plans.  It's a project proposal for students to fill out.  On this particular form I have a space for them to indicate their mentor text.  This follows a lesson about the BIG THREE decisions a writer must make:  Topic, Genre, and Audience.




I wouldn't have been able to keep track of all 100 of my student's needs, understandings, and questions if it weren't for this clever little idea.  Unfortunately I have no clue where it came from -- but I'm glad it fell into my hands!  Each day at the start of class, my students would pick up their exit slips from the tray.  Near the end of class they would complete it & return it to me.  It is powerful in a simple way.  There needs to be lots of teaching about writing a reflection.  I used to tell me students: 

How You FEEL About the Way You Worked + WHY You Feel This Way = REFLECTION

Once they understand this, then you get lots & lots & lots of information.  At the end of the class, students piled the exit slips in a the tray.


BTW, I could check all 100 in 15 minutes.  They could get 2 points each day.  I checked them each day after school, wrote any needed notes back to students & returned them to the tray. 

exit slip.doc

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