Hey there! Today I’m going to to be talking all about setting up a Writer’s Notebook. This is something you could easily implement at the beginning of the year or anytime throughout the school year. I’ve been using this particular system in my classroom for a few years now and really like how it keeps all of my student’s writing organized.
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Each student will need a three ring binder. I use 1 1/2 inch binders. I realize that binders can get expensive. I’ve worked in a district where we were lucky to have them on our school supply list and then I’ve also worked in a district where I had to purchase them myself. If you are purchasing these yourself, here are some places I’ve found to be the least expensive.
1. Sam’s Club:
They come in an 8 pack for around $10-$11 a piece. I bought 3 sets.
This is a 4 pack for around $10. I’ve bought these and they’ve been fine.
3. Dollar Tree: You can get them for $1 and they honestly do fine if the child takes care of them.
Each notebook is divided into 8 sections. You can get them for FREE in my TPT store
by clicking here
. I run off a class set of each section onto Astrobrights colored paper.
The bright colors help students easily distinguish each section when it is needed so it saves time from flipping through all the pages.
The 8 sections that I have in each binder are:
1. Spelling Dictionary
2. Vocabulary Journal
4. Rough Draft
5. Editing & Revising
6. Final Copy
7. What Can I Write About
8. Work on Writing
The first section in the notebook is our Spelling Dictionary. Each Monday when new spelling words are introduced, they add them to their dictionaries to reference throughout the year. Their copy of their spelling list goes in the pocket of their notebook. I use these spelling lists.
Then you will find our Vocabulary Journals. We write in these as we are learning about new vocabulary words each week. We do not complete ALL sections for each word in one day. Here is an example.
Monday: Introduce word and write definition (kid friendly).
Tuesday: Draw a picture.
Wednesday: Synonyms & Antonyms
Thursday: Use it in a sentence.
Once my students become familiar with this process they can do this independently in a word work station. You can get these journals here
The next four sections are for the writing process. Students can keep their writing behind each stage of the process that they are on at that time.
All pre-writing pages where they collect information and ideas are always kept behind this section so it never ends up sucked up into the vortex of lost papers (most of the time).
All rough draft copies are kept in this section. I don’t always use pre-made sheets. Lined notebook paper works just fine.
Once their rough draft is complete, they place it behind the editing and revising section. This makes it easy to find when we have writing conferences.
When it comes to independent writing I want students to have a choice. In this section, they keep their monthly writing calendars
. They are allowed to pick any topic from the calendar. Once they’ve written about that topic, they color in the picture to show they’ve already done that particular one.
I love this set up because I can quickly grab their notebooks to check their work. Then at the end of each year, all of their writing will be in one place. I love looking back to see how much their writing has grown.
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