Wednesday, July 9, 2008

My Own Learning

Lately I have been reading Notebook Know How by Aimee Buckner a book that has been on my shelf for at least two years. When our facilitator gave it to us she said that she thought it would be for older students and I didn't read it. Wow, I wish that I had read it and at least tried some of the great ideas within it for myself. One of the first things that Aimee tries to stress is the importance of the notebook. She gives many quotes from the greats, Fletcher, Caulkins, Graves, etc. One of the greatest things that I am coming to understand is the importance of writing everyday, something, even if it is just a small happening. She says, "Interview after interview, book after book, writers talk about having a place to write every day... The concept is the same- to have a place just to write... a lot." She goes on to discuss that her first notebook she wrote a lot, and she seemed to think that there was not significance to what she was writing. This is how I feel a lot of times about my own writing. There doesn't seem to be anything significant to what I write about, who will really care. She began to notice though that as she wrote she began to get further away from diary like writing because she was revisiting, revising, and being a fluent writer. You see just from overly writing she began to notice things she could pull out from that mundane writing and turn it into something extraordinary!
I am thinking that that is the key to the notebook, we must encourage students to write even when they think they have nothing to say, to go back and revisit, and then write from those seeds.
Vicki Vinton says, "It is an illusion that writers live more significant lives than non writers; the truth is writers are just more in the habit of finding the significance that there is in their lives."
That significance comes in the form of writing, writing, writing...
I am making a commitment to write everyday, at least something, even if at the time it is insignificant. I want my students to know how writing mundane can translate into the seed of something bigger later. So, adios, I am off to write...a lot!


TeacherMom said...

OK, you've got me really thinking. I have given my 1st gradres "journals" in the past. They are free to write in these anytime they would like. I have not really used these in my instruction during writering workshop.

Should my first graders be using notebooks? Would you introduce them at the beginning of the year? Some of my kids come to me not knowing letters or sounds. I follow Caulkins so we use folders and different types of paper, but I have always been drawn to the notebooks personally. How did you use them in your 1st grade?

Jen Barney said...

I loved her book too. It was such an easy read & I went back to it when I started Writers Workshop 2 years ago. Good buy from our school I say!

Duane said...

Jen let me "borrow" that book when I was student teaching with her last spring. I fell in love with it and bought a copy for myself. I agree with you. Taking time each day to write is important to helping us develop as better writers. As well, it helps develop our sense of observation. Observation is such an important skill to teach our students.

Kathy Douglas said...

Your blog inspired me to again look at notebooks and their purpose. I, personally, keep a jounal of sorts and write each night about what happened in the day...but it is just a snippet. I started this week keeping one that I write in every night. It is more of a reflection on ONE thing that happened. Helps my writing. Just like you said! Thanks!!