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...

1 comment:

  1. Ashlee, I also teach in a small district and being able to connect with other teachers via blogging has been so beneficial, especially when getting started with workshop teaching couple of years ago. With a middle school schedule, it is always a careful balance. Last year I had each class for about an hour and 15 minutes each day. I tried to spend about equal time on reading and writing. Especially at the start of the year, most of the work in writer's notebooks was guided (inspired by Buckner's concept of reading books to get started with ideas). I also talk to students about how they can use their WN at anytime during independent writing time as a tool. Though not a student notebook, I love that Ruth is sharing a lot of glimpses into her personal writers notebook at