ELA teachers, when it comes to writing instruction, I have found no other method, tool, or program that has as much impact as The Writer’s Notebook. Yes, there are great strategies around every corner, many of which you and I are currently using in your classroom. But how would you like to amplify their effect, taking them further than you thought possible?
Here were my top pain points as a writing teacher:
- Students would learn a writing lesson, but they were not applying it in their writing
- Students were not transferring writing lessons from one assignment to the next
- Students didn’t keep their learning organized, which made recall a challenge
- I never felt like they were writing enough
Before I really figured how to use The Writer’s Notebook with my students, my students weren’t retaining my writing lessons at a level that I found satisfying as a teacher. I worked really hard to create engaging lessons that held their interest, assuming that this method would have lasting impact on their writing habits. Although I did find there was incremental improvement in my impact on student achievement, I was still left unsatisfied.
While I was tweaking and reworking my writing instruction, I was attempting to have my students use The Writer’s Notebook to host their writing. Initially, it didn’t going well. I would get off to a great start, then later on the project would collapse, and The Writer’s Notebook would fall into disuse. I couldn’t sustain the practice in the way other influential teachers were describing.
One year, it all finally came together for me. After attending a highly regarded conference for English teachers, and listening to the keynote speaker talk about the impact of The Writer’s Notebook, I made a commitment that I was going to figure this thing out once and for all. I spent the next year grinding it out, learning how to get students to fill up a composition book full of their writing, then how to get students to reflect deeply on their writing practice.
It was a hard and challenging year. I often felt inadequate for the task. There were many times that I COULD NOT see the way forward. But I had made a commitment; I WAS ALL IN. I was going to figure it out. Yet during the most challenging moments that year, I would hear these words, “I just want someone to show me how to do this. I wish someone could show me the next step.” Then I would set my face to figuring out the next step.
Each time this happened, I would have a break through and take my students a little further. It was rewarding. My students saw a tremendous benefit, and I felt like I had won! My students were:
- Applying the writing instruction they were learning,
- Transferring their learning from one assignment to the next,
- Had their learning organized for easy recall, and
- They were writing A LOT!
When I looked back at my year, I could see the layers of learning that went into making The Writer’s Notebook work in my classroom. But I also saw that if laid out plainly, any writing teacher could do it, and run it year after year.
I was too excited about it to keep it to myself. I kept talking about what was happening in my classroom with a colleague, but our conversations weren’t enough to paint the right picture. I had to write it down. And now I have developed this FREE course that I would like to share with you.
It will connect you to some of my best insights and resources. Ultimately, I will help paint a picture of what’s possible and help get you started on your journey using The Writer’s Notebook in your classroom.