Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Learning Together Linky - Writers' Workshop - Writers' Notebooks

I'm so excited to turn the Learn With Me: Writing Workshop series into a Linky!!!

Are you ready for the brilliant name for it?


Learning Together Linky: Writing Workshop

I'm so impressed with my ability with words I think I need a celebratory glass of wine. Ha. (On the words part). Wine...always.

What I'm thinking is that this Linky will address different topics each time and there will be a separate inlinkz link up for each topic. For example, today's topic is Writers' Notebooks, as noted on the graphic.

When you want to link up one of your posts (old or new), you link up with the corresponding linky. 

Meaning, since today's topic is Writers Notebooks if you have a Writers Notebook related post, you'll link it up to today's linky.

If you want to link up to the overview or components of your writing workshop, you can link up to that Linky by clicking right here or on the picture below.

We'll develop the topics as we go. How does that sound?

I'm hoping this Linky takes on a life of its own and we can link up with all kinds of writing workshop topics...

Personal Narrative Writing

Editing & Revising

Informational Writing


Procedures & Routines


The only thing I ask is that your post ties in with that Linky's specific writing workshop topic and that you link to that specific post (not just to your blog).

And, if you have an idea for a topic, add a comment or shoot me an email (growingfirsties@gmail.com) any time!


On to my post about today's topic...

Writers' Notebooks

First and foremost, I WISH that I'd had the kids personalize the covers all fabulous at the beginning of the year. 

There were a variety of reasons I did not have the kids do that this year and at this point in the school year, I've let my guilt go. 

Guilt's overrated anyways, right?

This post is in question-answer format. If you have any questions, add a comment and I'll update the post when I can.

1. How do you use Writers' Notebooks?
Check out a variety of samples from some of my medium to strong writers so that, if you'd like, you can use them as samples with your students. 

If you'd like them as a pdf, go ahead and click right here. You probably don't want to print them with the black background, but rather use them on your Smartboard. If you'd really like to print them, please email me at growingfirsties@gmail.com and I'll send them to you without the black background.

Memory Keeping & Prompt writing - 

I'll also have students follow up on a content area lesson by giving them a prompt or question to answer. 

I'll put the prompt/question and key words up on the smartboard or easel or whiteboard with the expectation to spell those words correctly.

List making
Students keep lists of their ideas for writing topics in their writing topics. Some of these lists are specific to a genre we're studying, other lists are lists that they themselves make and add to on their own.

Mini-Anchor Chart Storage
For each of our writing genres I shrink an example or anchor chart to half page size for students to store in their WN so they always have something to refer to (and to be accountable to) when they write something in that genre.

Weekend News recording
Every Monday morning, the Daily Warm Up expectation is for kids to record their Weekend News in their WNs. On Mondays I float around the room and comment/connect with them regarding their weekend. Recently I began trying to read over their Weekend News each Monday morning and make a comment of some sort. This helps with overall accountability plus it gives them an opportunity to share their news with me without bombarding me each Monday morning.

2. When do you begin Writer's Notebooks? Where do they store their W.N.'s?

As soon into the school year as possible. They are SUCH a lovely record of progress from the beginning of the year to the end that the sooner you start, the bigger the gains. Their handwriting alone in first grade has almost exponential growth!

They are stored in their seat sacks so they have quick, easy access to them at all times.

3. What are your "ground rules" for Writers' Notebooks?

  • Write so that you're PROUD of your work EVERY single time you write (cuz you'll LOVE looking back at it one day!)

  • New day...new page...date at the top (we make it an oral class mantra when we take them out)

  • 1st semester...use the lines as best as you can

  • 2nd semester...work really hard to use the lines AND the margins correctly (they REALLY do improve with the lines!)

  • Words on the First Grade Helper must be spelled correctly. Best $2 investment EVER! Thanks, Michelle Oakes!!! Making it editable made an already fantastic product even better!!!

3. How do you monitor Writers' Notebooks?

I check the WN on Monday mornings for Weekend News. I also roam around when I assign a prompt of some sort.

At the beginning of the year when I'm laying the groundwork for how we use WN I roam around a TON while they're working and take notes for mini-lesson ideas.

I'll also feature students who have done something exciting under the document camera. Kids really want theirs featured, so this motivates them to do their best work.

When we're learning (over and over) about capitalization and punctuation I have them open up to one of their recent entries and edit it for capitals and periods with their editing markers. I roam at this time as well.

When doing report cards, I'll collect them from students if I feel more data points for the grade I'm giving them.

4. When can kids write in them?

During Writing Workshop

In the morning once Daily Warm Up is done

When Literacy Station work is completed

In-between/filler times they can choose "smart work" on their whiteboard or WN

WOWZERS!!! That was a LOT. Thanks for sticking with me -- Keep reading for some fun news!! 

How do YOU use Writers Notebooks???? It would be an honor if you linked up!!! (Old or new post...please link the specific post url to the specific linky topic.)

AND...thanks for loving my Common Core Crunch as much as I do!!! Many of you have already purchased the April set - new buyers and veterans, too! It gives me a thrill to see a number higher than 1 behind your TpT user name when you've made a purchase because that means you are a repeat customer. 

I'm SO honored by your repeat business I can hardly stand it! Yet another reason I LOVE to give things away!

Speaking of giving away...how about this...make sure you're a blog follower and leave a comment guessing my favorite Easter food OR activity. I'll give an April CCC away to the first person to guess my favorite food AND to the first person to guess my favorite Easter activity. Please leave one comment only, but you can guess a food and an activity in the comment.

Cheerio to Spring Break starting FINALLY on Thursday after school!!! Counting down. 


  1. Do Reese's peanut butter eggs count as Easter food? Love all your ideas!

    Kimberly Ann
    Live, Laugh, I love Kindergarten

  2. Is your favorite Easter food ham? I'm thinking your favorite activity is Easter egg hunting! :-)


  3. I'm going with peeps and hiding the eggs for the kids to find!

    1. You got it! I love hiding the eggs for the kids to find...especially for my son, who's older...LOVE making it hard. Buah-ha-ha. :) Check your inbox, Andrea!

  4. I love all your ideas about growing your firsties. I love learning new ideas about how to grow my firsties (and my kindlers). Your ideas are really interesting and I can't wait to use some of them in my classroom. Check out my new bog at: http://specialedmeetsgeneraled.blogspot.com


  5. HOw about Cadbury Creme Eggs (one will tide me over for a full year!) and going to church? Love your writing workshop ideas...going to make some changes for fourth quarter (and next year!)

    tokyoshoes (at) hotmail (dot) com

  6. Cadbury Eggs & going to church :0) Enjoyed reading your blog about writer's notebooks. I too enjoy using writing journals in my class. Looking forward to getting more great ideas as others link up.


  7. Oh my gosh, I LOVE your writer's notebooks! You've given me so many ideas and such inspiration to go in and improve what I do with writer's notebooks. Thank you for having this linky! I've just linked up too!
    Sarah's First Grade Snippets

    1. Sarah - I'm SO thrilled you linked up!!! Your post is AMAZING! I just downloaded the Monthly Tabs and the Snapshot Assessment freebies and am SO excited to use them!!! Thanks so much, sweet friend!

  8. You never cease to amaze me!!!! Love love love you!
    This month’s High/ Low Linky is up and running. I would love to have you join me again little lady! Click here to link up. I can’t wait to read how the month of March has been for you.
    Teacher to the Core

  9. Favorite food - peanut butter egg
    Favorite activity - going to church


  10. Deviled eggs and dying Easter eggs? Here's hoping!

    Ms. Cranfill's Class

  11. GREAT ideas! I especially love the idea of them having open up to a page and "edit" it right then for capitals and end marks!

    We started Daily 5 this year and I don't think I'm doing as good with the writing. Last year, I did a mini-lesson and then dismissed for writing workshop when I would roam or conference. Now they write during Daily 5 and I haven't been too impressed with how they "use" or not use the information from the mini-lessons. I think many of them forget by the time it is their turn to write again (the next day). Maybe I should be doing the mini-lesson first thing in the day...sorry, thinking out loud!

    Great ideas - thanks so much! Maybe Kristi and I can join in on the linky!

    Teaching Little Miracles

    1. Would LOVE for you to link up, Crystal!!

  12. We just linked up! Thanks for hosting this linky. Writer's Workshop is always something we can improve. We love your ideas, your kiddos have so many opportunities to write and that is great! Your favorite food...pizza? Your favorite Easter activity...egg hunts?
    Tamra and Sarah
    First Grade Buddies

  13. I am going with chocolate eggs and sunrise service. Love your detailed blog. Happy Easter!
    cbartram@kitcarsonschool. com

  14. Jelly beans! Jelly Bellies are my favorites! Very inspiring writer's notebooks! dkeller@ci.stamford.ct.us

    1. You got it, girl! I'm a jelly bean fiend...especially the Starburst jelly beans!!! :) Check your inbox!

  15. I think your favorite food is green bean casserole and your favorite activity is dying Easter eggs.


  16. Hunting Easter Eggs! :-) Thanks for sharing your writer's notebook! Great ideas.


  17. This is such a great idea! Thanks for sharing!! Easter activity: crafts (bunnies)? Food: Jello?? I love layered jello!!

    A Frenzy of Fun in 1st Grade

  18. Great post! I will say your favorite Easter Food is a chocolate bunny and your favorite activity is decorating Easter Baskets!


  19. Thanks for the great idea! I will say your favorite Easter food is

  20. Opps sorry, peeps and favorite thing to do is decorating eggs lkgirl24@aol.com

  21. reece peanut butter eggs and hiding easter eggs

  22. Is your favorite food Cadbury mini eggs? Is the activity an egg and spoon race? I know that is what my daughter is looking forward to. Lol.


    Live Love Laugh and Teach!

  23. Hmmm- favorite Easter food- ham? Favorite Easter activity- hading & doing an Easter egg hunt. Love your ideas! Carol cpolston3@yahoo.com

  24. I am going to guess favorite food as deviled eggs and activity hunting eggs :)

  25. So I am loving the writing linky! I will definitely have to link up sometime!

    My guesses are that your favorite Easter food is Sweet Tart jelly beans. Just because we have been talking about those at work, and somebody already took Reese eggs! :-( I think your favorite activity is eating the candy out of your kids Easter eggs! (I know that would be mine!)

    butler . erica @ gmail . com

    Blooming In First

    1. Erica - you're so close with the jelly beans....I'm sending it to you, too! I really love Starburst jelly beans, but I'm super excited to try the Sweet Tart kind now!

  26. Very neat linky! I plan to start a blog this summer and I can't wait to participate in the linky's. As for guesses about Easter:

    Food: Jello Salad?
    Activity: Egg toss?


  27. Hmmmm... Fave Easter food: ham & potato casserole? And Activity: big family diner?

  28. I love everything about Easter. I love peeps and malt ball eggs....

  29. Thanks for sharing your writers notebooks. I think that I will incorporate many of your ideas. I think that the students will become more invested in becoming better writers.

    favorite food: ham
    favorite activity: hiding eggs and making Easter baskets.

    Jeanne J28ber@gmail.com

  30. Thanks for the writer's notebook tips. My kids reminded me that we brought those notebooks and hardly every have used them:( Never too late to start, right? I think you love hiding eggs and your favorite food is deviled eggs. cooney.doublec.laura192@gmail.com

  31. WOW! I keep learning new things EVERY DAY! (I've been teaching for more than 20 years!) THANKS! I think PEEPS & dying Easter Eggs with kids! (Love it when they color their fingers...heehee) wendy 1stgradefireworks@gmail.com

  32. I am going to guess your favorite food is carrot cake and your favorite activity is making Easter baskets since all the "normal" Easter choices were taken haha.


  33. Thanks for hosting, I just linked up! My kiddos notebooks have many of the same similarities. I can't wait to use the idea of putting in mini anchor charts and using the "Weekend News" as a way for them to not bombard me on Monday's with everything that happened over the weekend! :) I might actually start that after our spring break!

    Primary Teacherhood

    1. Thanks so much for linking up!!! Can't wait to head over and check out your post!

  34. Okay....I'm going to guess Starburst jelly beans & going to Sunrise Service on Easter Morning. Am I even close??

    (Oh...& I'm working on a post to link up!)
    Primary Inspired

  35. I am SOOOO looking forward to this series Lisa!! My goal is to gain all of these ideas and FULLY implement Writer's Workshop into my routine next year. Can't wait to read and learn more!!!!

    For the Love of First Grade

  36. I see that I am late to this party to win. But jelly beans are the best!!! I like the fancy ones but I love the regular ones too. I found a brand that I L-O-V-E. I bought so many that my husband ask what kind of project I was doing with the kiddos. I told him, "no project, just enough to last until the new year!"

    Happy to follow you!

  37. Thanks for this LINKY! I just linked up a blog post I did a few months back about my Writer's Notebooks. This gives me a good reason to post about Writer's Notebooks AGAIN though! :)
    Melissa Leach