The Notebook

February 12, 2013


Twice a month I teach writing in my daughter’s fifth grade class. On the first day, I asked each student to begin a writing notebook. Much to their chagrin, I had rules. Fortunately they liked the rules, and I wasn’t run out of the room.


First, no one sees the notebook but the writer.

Second, who cares about spelling?

Finally, you can draw when you want.


With that, we set about creating personal notebooks.  To help the kids organize, I asked them to use sticky notes and create categories for each topic we made. For example, one sticky note is titled, ‘animals’. As a warm up, I often ask kids to list animals that live in Africa. On a different day, they might jot down animals in their neighborhood.


We’ve made sections for colors, breakfast foods, and amusement park rides, among others. Not only are the lists a great way to break writer’s block, but they generate ideas, offer prompts for more writing, and help create focus and detail to one’s writing. Plus, they’re fun.


(And, you don’t have to be ten to try.)

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