Sunday, June 3, 2012

Writer's Notebooks: Capturing Summer Stories

It's hard to believe we are at the end of our school year.  It seems just yesterday my students and their families walked into our classroom for the first time with smiles of hopeful anticipation.  It seems only yesterday we started our writer's workshop.  Since then we've learned a lot about each other.  We've studied the work of authors, learned about craft, supported one another in writing, and shared our stories.

One of the ways we've learned to work as writers is by using a writer's notebook.  Early in the year we learned to collect ideas for our writing in these small containers for later development.  Some students liked to draw pictures in their notebooks.  Others preferred to make lists, web ideas, map stories, or just quickly jot ideas about a topic.

I realized the writer's notebook might be the perfect way to keep them writing through the summer.  After all, summer is the perfect time to capture stories.  When you are seven, summer is full of adventure.  Last week I gave the students writer's notebooks as part of their end of year gift.

On Friday, students brought items to decorate their notebook to make it their own.  These young writers came in with pictures of themselves doing what they loved, photos of family, pictures of favorite animals, stickers --- oh, yes --- and glitter glue AND duct tape.  They quickly went to work decorating their notebooks.  I was impressed by how quickly they mastered the art of duct tape.  It was quite a sight to watch them personalize their notebooks.

Yesterday I went into school to cover them with Modge Podge.  I had to smile as I looked at the notebooks; each one a representation of its owner.  I could see their stories right on their notebooks.  There were the animals G loves.  The grandfather M misses so much.  The brother E loves to write about.  The lizards N cares for every day.

As they left school Friday afternoon I heard one of my students say, "I already know what I'm going to put in my writer's notebook first - the story of H's birthday party."  Yep, they get it.

When we return in the fall, I am having a lunch with these writers to share the jottings we've collected across the summer in our writer's notebooks.  I'm going to miss this group of students, but their stories will stay with me always.


  1. Your post brought tears to my eyes! It made me miss my class but know that I've given them the tools to keep learning and growing this summer. Great post!

  2. What more could a teacher wish for? Sniff, sniff!