As much as I love to come up with clever writing prompts and activities for my students, I also love to see what they come up with on their own. At the beginning of the year, I make a big deal about how first graders get to make a lot of choices with their learning. One example is with their writing notebooks. Their writing notebooks get to be filled with their creative, brilliant, interesting ideas. Don't get me wrong, I for sure get those kids who end up writing about the same topic over and over (star wars, DS games, and cats to name a few). When I see too much repetition, that's a sign that we need to have a writing conference (or two) to brainstorm some new ideas. Sometimes a small group mini-lesson (or two or three) really help with this issue too.
At the beginning of the year, we brainstorm a list of ideas for what to write about. It's always so exciting at first with hands shooting up in the air. I learned the hard way that you can't just have this conversation once and expect the excitement to last the whole year. That's why I revisit this over and over again throughout the year.
For their writer's notebooks I just use spiral notebooks, which ends up saving a lot on my copies!
Last year, I started putting tabs in my students' writer's notebooks.
The tabs are a part of a page that they cut out (basically cutting around the tab) and then they glue it in their notebooks on the next available page.
There are a few reasons why I did this:
1. Helps with organization (even when they should be putting the date on each page)
2. It's easy to quickly flip to where they left off.
3. It's easy for me (and my student) to see how much they wrote for each month. I know quality is more important that quantity, but I also want to make sure they are meeting my expectations in this way. I love the way the tabs make this so easy to do.
Come by my blog to read a lot more about how I use writing notebooks AND to pick up these three freebies!
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