October is nearing its end, and you know what that means…’tis the season of needing inspiration! The back-to-school spark of fierce, creative lesson planning has ended, and now we’re all just praying Thanksgiving gets here ASAP.
So, if you’re getting a little worn out from reading the same-old same-old genres in your writer’s notebooks, try these seven ways to shake them up.
Write down the language you hear around you. From quotes in independent reading books to funny things our friends say, the act of noticing language helps us think like writers and expand our linguistic repertoires.
Annotate a booktalk. Instead of a focused craft study, or a question-and-response to a booktalk, try just taping it into your notebook and noting what stands out. This, too, helps build the skill of reading like writers.
Write in someone else’s notebook. Shake up page after page of your own handwriting by switching notebooks with someone else when responding to a prompt. Here, my friend Bethany wrote in my notebook as we wrote about invoking wonder.
Try beautiful note-taking. Sometime, somewhere, everyone needs to just jot down some notes…whether it’s in for readings from a class or in a staff meeting, try to beautify those notes with some doodles or colors.
Attempt some literary analysis. I love the classics, and I bet many of you do too–but sometimes we beat their beauty to death when we spend hour after hour analyzing them with our students. Try pasting in a page of whatever you’re reading and just responding to how amazing the writing is.
Jot down fun vocabulary words. I love to note down both words that I don’t know and words that I just love, with no pressure to define them or use them in a sentence. It helps me notice wordplay and attempt it myself.
Paste in things you’d like to remember. It’s too easy to throw keepsakes in boxes or delete emails that flatter us…so glue them into your notebook and flip back through when you need a lift.
Shaking up notebooks in these seven ways will help your students curate a scrapbook of sorts–a place to return to and look back at long after it’s been filled up and the year has ended. A notebook is a wonderful place to practice reading and writing skills, but it becomes most effective when it’s an authentic placeholder for growth, play, and memory.
How do you shake up notebook time with unconventional genres and prompts? Please share in the comments!