Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Writer's Notebook

I have been looking into the ideas of Writer's Notebooks and the Writing Workshop. A friend of mine suggested that I read "Notebook Know-How", by Aimee Buckner.

I felt that the book had some interesting and worthwhile ideas, but I still have a few issues:

1. Firstly, Buckner seems to stick to one genre: narrative. I my classroom, narrative writing is only a small portion of my writing curriculum. Mostly, we work on essays. If I give the students total control over what they write, I have a feeling they won't want to write essays of different kinds. Also, how will I teach the components of different types of essays (compare/contrast, instructional, descriptive, etc.) if they're all working on different projects?

2. The book seems geared toward elementary grades. I have found in more than one book on notebooks (and the closely-associated writing workshop), that the authors expect teachers to use at least three hours a week for this practice. Is this possible in a middle-school environment, where we only get five hours with the kids a week in the first place?

I work in a very small district and have been trying to converse (via blog) with some other teachers about these issues, but it is difficult! I wish I had a few other teachers to bounce ideas and questions off of...