Do your students have trouble thinking of writing topics? Do they not really see themselves as writers? Writing notebooks are a great way for elementary students to live like writers by jotting down writing topics whenever they come to mind in their everyday life. Learn all about writing notebooks for elementary students below!
What are Writing Notebooks?
Writing notebooks, which are also often referred to as wrier diaries or writing journals, are a tool students use to record writing topic ideas. It helps them to begin to live like a writer, whom often keep a notebook with them and jot down ideas for writing topics based on what they observe about the world around them and their life experiences.
Why Teachers Love Writing Notebooks
Elementary teachers love writing notebooks because they help students collect writing topics, so when it comes to write a piece, they already have a collection of ideas to pull from. Also, it helps students see themselves as writers.
How to Implement Writing Notebooks
Below are suggestions for how to introduce and implement writing notebooks in your elementary classroom.
1. Read Aloud Judy Mood
In my classroom, I started each school year by reading aloud Megan McDonald’s book Judy Moody. It’s a fun book for all grade levels, but is PERFECT for 3rd graders because the book starts off on Judy’s first day of 3rd grade – Hello text-to-self connection!
I created a whole bunch of activities that go with the book Judy Moody and used them throughout the first week of school in addition to teaching my procedures and routines and completing some back to school printable activities.
2. Invite Students to Bring In Materials to Make a Collage
In the book, Judy needs to create an All About Me collage as her first assignment. I spring-boarded off of this and we made a collage on the Friday of the first week. Except instead of making it on poster board, we made them on the cover of black and white composition notebooks, which was used for their writing notebooks. Students brought in pictures, ticket stubs, articles, brochures, magazine clippings, etc. that tell about them.
I always did this on the first Friday afternoon for a few reasons. First, it’s fun! It introduces “Fun Friday,” which is the time each week where I sneak in a little craftivity. Second, we work on brainstorming ideas for their writer’s Idea banks throughout the first week and this way we were ready to hit the ground running on the first full Monday. Third, all that Modge Podge stinks, so it’s nice to have a few days of “air time”.
3. Secure the Materials to the Cover of the Notebooks
Finally, I Modge Podge the heck out of their writing notebooks to seal them. This works really well! They look great and last all year long.
In closing, I hope you found this post about personalized writing notebooks for elementary students helpful! Even if you don’t read Judy Moody to your class, I would encourage you to have the kids make personalized journals. They really help them to take ownership of their writing and they make such wonderful keepsakes at the end of the year. If you decide to move forward with this, I recommend sending your students home with a letter to request families send in the needed items.