Language Arts-Grade 6 A Writer’s Notebook Adapted from A Writer’s Notebook by Ralph Fletcher.
A writer’s notebook is NOT a diary! • Writers react. • Writers need a place to record these reaction. • That’s what a writer’s notebook is for. • It gives you a place to write down what makes you angry, sad, amazed, and to write down what you don’t want to forget. • A writer’s notebook gives you a place to live like a writer.
What should I do with my notebook? • Write! • You get to decide what goes in your notebook. • Be observant and look for things that inspire, fascinate, or puzzle you. • Do you have stories rumbling around in your head that you want to write down? • Explore these questions and ideas in your notebook.
“Writing Small” • Jot down details you notice or hear. Start to train yourself to notice details around you-use all your senses. • Try to start using more explicit and descriptive words and use fewer vague or general words.
“Seed Ideas” • Use your notebook to write down ideas that may later “sprout” into a final piece of writing. When you think of something you might want to write about, jot it down. • At some point you may want to go back to that idea, and work with it or combine it with another idea. • Be patient-don’t expect your ideas to grow too fast! Give them time!
“Mind Pictures” • Start to train yourself to use your senses to help you picture your world. Use all five senses like a camera and capture the images you see around you. • Be honest, open, and thorough in your descriptions.
Dreams • You can get into the habit of writing down your dreams before you forget them.
“Snatches of Talk” • Writers are interested in what people say, how they say it, why they say what they do, what words they hear, how they are pronounced or mispronounced. • Notebooks can be filled with dialogue. • Train yourself to be an observant listener.
“Lists” • Some writers like to keep lists of favorite books, movies, or other writing projects. • Keep a special part of your notebook for your favorite words or phrases, unusual words, new words, or interesting words.
“Memories” • Some people say that memories are the more important to a writer than anything else. • Explore your own memories and your feelings connected to them. • As you write look at not only what happened but also how it affected you then, and how it affects you now.
A type of scrapbook • You can use your notebooks to collect important things from your life that you might want to write about. • Maybe a picture, or newspaper article, or a copy of some writing that inspired you.
“Rereading: Digging out the Crystals” • Re-read your notebook and look for the intriguing, interesting, and original pieces. • What ideas keep coming back over and over in your notebook? • Look for those sprouts that may become flowers!
Notebook Checklist-taken from The Writing Workshop by Katie Ray. • Keep your notebook with you at all times. • Date every entry. • Do not skip pages. • All drawings should have writing with them. • Number the pages. • Write daily. • Vary your topics. • Care for your notebook. • Make sure there is evidence of what you’re learning in your notebook.