Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Launching Writing Writer's Notebooks


One of my favorite parts of the new school year is launching writer's notebooks. Anything seems possible as we list our A-Z of Me, sketch each of our roles ("new food tryer" is a favorite from one of my students this year), map our favorite places, and web the things we're curious about.


Let's Paint! by Gabriel Alborozo (Allen & Unwin, Australia, 2013) offers the same kind of encouragement to artists that I want to offer to my writers -- trust your ideas, no matter what shape they come in, find your own style, and above all HAVE FUN!


My Pen by Christopher Myers (Disney Hyperion, 2015) reminds us
"There are a million pens in the world
and each one has a million worlds inside it.
So if you have a pen, see what you can do--
let those worlds inside your pen out!"


Tulip and Rex Write a Story by Sarah Massini (Katherine Tegen Books, 2015) takes young writers all the way through the writing process. In the beginning, Tulip gets a new notebook in the mail from her grandmother, and Rex gets a new leash, so the two of them go out for a walk. At first, Tulip just gathers words in her notebook. Then, after Rex rescues her when she falls in the stream, Tulip uses her words to write a story about King Rex and Queen Tulip. Her story is interrupted by a call to lunch, but she realizes,
"Who knows what will happen next? Still, I'm sure there will be many more words and stories to come for this king and queen."
These are my hopes for my writers: that they will have fun, discover new worlds, and come to know that the possibilities are endless for their writing!


12 comments:

  1. I love reading these posts about launching writer's notebooks. All three of these titles are new to me. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. This is lovely, and I don't know any of these books. Thanks, Mary Lee! Happy new school year, btw.

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  3. These are new books to me too! I always enjoy your posts so much and it's a place of learning for me! I'd love to know more about "A-Z of Me"!

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    1. Jane, A-Z of Me is an alphabetic brainstorm list of words or phrases that describe the writer. You can go back to your list to develop a new character, to find a topic to write about, to find ideas that go together in interesting ways for a poem...You should try making your own, and then go back to it and see how you might use it to make something new!

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    2. Oh I love that! I can't wait to try it. Thank you! Happy Monday!

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  4. Your description of "My Pen" reminds me of the Wendell Berry poem "The Unwritten." It's one of my favorites and makes a great jumping off point for writers with the prompt, "What's hidden in your pencil?"

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  5. I have My Pen and I plan to share it with my kids this week. Thanks for the reminder! Love this post.

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  6. Love this Mary Lee. What do you mean by "sketch each of their roles"?

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    1. It's from a Ruth Ayres article where she lists the six writer's notebook pages she can't live without. Some of my roles are poet, blogger, teacher, fly fisher, cancer survivor. Thinking about each of those roles opens up writing topics for me. I'll try to remember to copy the article and pop it in inter-office for you next week.

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  7. That's great! Thank you!

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  8. These books sound wonderful. I may actually pull them into the class I am teaching at the university. It's an introduction to education class - my wheels are spinning. Thank you!

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  9. I am also interested in looking through one or more of these titles. This will be my second year of using writer's notebooks, and I want to encourage students to see their notebooks as an outlet for them to show their creative side, rather than as just another medium in which to complete assignments.

    Mary, the A-Z of Me sounds like a dynamite introductory writing activity to make the first entry of the writer's notebook. Right away it sets the tone that the writing can both be creative and personal. This will surely be our first writer's notebook activity when we start in the next couple of weeks.
    Jon Z.

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