Relaunching Our Writer’s Notebooks

This week in class, we re-launched our Writer’s Notebooks!

A Writer’s Notebook is a tool used to develop ideas for writing. We decorated our Writer’s Notebooks earlier in the year to make them special and personalised books.

As a school, we are currently changing the way we collect ideas in our Writer’s Notebooks. We use a double page in our Writer’s Notebooks and follow this structure:

PART ONE

Left hand side page:

We generate ideas about a specific topic using a particular tool.

For example, this week in 3/4C students thought of a place or location they had been and they brainstormed the sensory details they associated with that place or location. The tool we used was a ‘sensory hand’.

Miss Jordan brainstormed sensory details about Times Square in New York City.

PART TWO

Top of the right hand side page:

We take one of the ideas listed on the left hand side and develop that idea into a brief text – an entry. We elaborate on the initial idea by adding extra details and descriptive language.

For example, Miss Jordan selected the “it’s never quiet” idea about Times Square and developed an entry to explain how busy, noisy and energetic Times Square is.

PART THREE

Bottom of the right hand side page:

We list a variety of fiction and non-fiction ideas in different genres we could write about based on our initial ideas on the left hand side.

For example, Miss Jordan listed the following ideas:

  • Fiction: Narrative – a young girl gets lost in Times Square.
  • Non-Fiction: Information Report – the Rockefeller Centre.
  • Non-Fiction: Persuasive – New York City is the best city in the world.
  • Non-Fiction: Personal Narrative – Shopping for souvenirs.

In future writing sessions, students will then use these ideas from their Writer’s Notebooks to draft pieces of writing in different genres.

We are looking forward to collecting many ideas in our Writer’s Notebooks to inspire us to write all kinds of different texts!

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Everyone enjoyed re-launching their Writer’s Notebooks in class this week!

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What place or location did you select to generate ideas this week?

What writing ideas did you come up with?

What is your favourite writing genre?

What do you enjoy about Writer’s Notebooks?

Writing From A Photo

Good writers can create a picture in their readers’ minds.

They can do this by:

  • using interesting vocabulary
  • elaborating on details
  • showing, rather than telling, some of the details
  • describing all five senses (what can be seen, heard, tasted, felt and smelt)
  • using lots of adjectives (describing words) and verbs (doing words)
  • using synonyms (words with similar meanings) to make interesting word choices.

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During our writing sessions over the past two weeks, students have been writing entries in their Writer’s Notebooks. Our lessons included:

  • Writing “free choice” entries from the Ideas Page in the Writer’s Notebooks
  • Using sensory details in writing
  • Writing about the environment around us
  • Writing from a photo
  • Using the “show me, don’t tell me” technique to enhance writing.

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 All students brought in a photo from home to use as inspiration for a piece of writing. We focussed on including sensory details and adjectives. Everyone did a great job! Below is the writing by the 3/4C students. Enjoy!

Tip – Open in full screen to view in a larger format.

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Were there any particular words or sentences you enjoyed from the students’ writing?

How has your writing improved?

What writing activity have you enjoyed so far this year?

Do you have a writing goal for this year?

Launching Our Writer’s Notebooks

This week we have started using our Writer’s Notebooks in class!

A Writer’s Notebook is a tool that is used to help students develop their writing skills.

This is how our Writer’s Notebooks work at Barwon Heads Primary School:

1. We generate ideas for writing on an Ideas Page. Ideas can be recorded at any opportunity.

2. We write short entries in our Writer’s Notebook to expand on our ideas.

3. Our entries can be about personal experiences, opinions and reactions.

4. We use our entries as a starting point to form the basis for our different writing pieces throughout the year.

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All of the 3/4C students decorated their Writer’s Notebooks at home so they now represent the students’ individuality. They look fantastic!

Writer's Notebooks 1

Writer's Notebooks 2

Writer's Notebooks 3

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What do you like writing about?

What did you record on your Ideas Page?

Do you have a favourite writing genre?

Personal Narratives

Recently, we posted about our Writer’s Workshop sessions.

For the past couple of weeks, our Writer’s Workshop sessions have been devoted to working on our personal narrative drafts. A personal narrative is a text written about a personal experience. All students chose an entry from their Writer’s Notebooks as inspiration for their personal narrative. Students then worked through the writing process to draft, revise, edit and publish their work.

Drafting personal narratives

Drafting personal narratives

Publishing personal narratives on iPads

Publishing personal narratives on iPads

During this process, we spent time learning about the Six (+1) Traits of Writing. Learning about these traits helped the students to build their writing skills and focus on crafting their writing.

The Six Traits of Writing are:

  • Ideas
  • Organisation
  • Voice
  • Word Choice
  • Sentence Fluency
  • Conventions

The +1 trait is:

  • Presentation

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Throughout the writing process, Miss Jordan conferenced with students to give them feedback on their work. All of the 4B students did a terrific job and worked very hard on their personal narratives. Miss Jordan is very proud of the students’ finished products!

Some of our personal narratives are presented below. Enjoy!

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To celebrate this writing cycle, 4B interacted with Miss Campbell’s grade, 1B, and the students shared their writing with each other. It was wonderful to read the personal narratives written by the grade ones, and it was great to see the students giving each other feedback about their work.

 Here are some photos from our sharing session.

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What did you think of the personal narratives?

How does writing and drafting improve your writing?

Can you explain one of the Six (+1) Traits of Writing?

Did you enjoy sharing your work with the grade one students?

Writer’s Workshop

In 4B, we love our daily Writer’s Workshop sessions.

In our Writer’s Workshop, we use Writer’s Notebooks and then the Writing Process to produce pieces of published writing.

A Writer’s Notebook is a tool that is used to help students collect ideas for writing. To personalise the Writer’s Notebooks, students decorated their books with colourful collages. They look fantastic!

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Last week, we wrote entries in our Writer’s Notebooks. This week, we are working on writing personal narratives. A personal narrative is a text about a personal experience or memory.

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This is how the Writing Process in our Writer’s Workshop works:

1. We generate ideas for writing on an ideas page in our Writer’s Notebooks. Ideas can be recorded at any opportunity.

2. We write short entries in our Writer’s Notebook to expand on our ideas.

3. We read through our entries and select one entry to draft.

4. We complete a brief plan prior to drafting to map out our personal narrative.

5. We draft our personal narrative in our draft books. We capture the essence of the text from the entry but the draft is more detailed. It also zooms in on the key idea.

6. We revise our draft by making changes to the content to improve the writing. This stage is all about working on the craft of writing. We can draft as few or many times as necessary to achieve the best possible draft.

7. We edit the final draft by checking the punctuation, grammar, spelling and ensuring it makes sense.

8. We publish the draft to turn it into a complete, polished piece of writing.

Our first writing genre for the year is personal narratives. We will complete other cycles of writing focussing on different genres throughout the year.

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We brainstormed the key features of a personal narrative and made a class anchor chart.

To learn more about personal narratives, we read some mentor texts that are examples of personal narratives. In particular we analysed two great texts, Owl Moon by Jane Yolen and Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco.

We then discussed the importance of selecting a “small moment or memory”. We used the analogy of a watermelon to ensure our personal narratives would be focussed on a small “seed” idea, rather than a broad “watermelon” topic.

watermelon

 Here is our class watermelon with our small moment “seed” topics.

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What are the elements of a personal narrative?

Can you provide a tip for writing a quality personal narrative?

How have your writing skills developed so far this year?

Writer’s Notebooks

Every student at Barwon Heads Primary School has a Writer’s Notebook.

A Writer’s Notebook is a tool that is used to help students develop their writing skills. We are currently working on writing personal narratives. A personal narrative is a written text about a personal experience, opinion or reflection.

Last term, all 4A and 4B students decorated their Writer’s Notebooks at home so they represent the students’ individuality. They look fantastic!

Here are some of our Writer’s Notebooks…

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Here’s how our Writer’s Notebooks work:

1. We generate ideas for writing on an Ideas Page. Ideas can be recorded at any opportunity.

2. We write short entries in our Writer’s Notebook to expand on our ideas.

3. We read through their entries and select one entry to draft.

4. We draft our personal narrative in our draft books. We capture the essence of the text from the entry but the draft is more detailed. It also zooms in on the key idea.

5. We revise our draft by making changes to the content to improve the writing. This stage is all about working on the craft of writing. We can draft as few or many times as necessary to achieve the best possible draft.

6. We edit the final draft by checking the punctuation, grammar, spelling and ensuring it makes sense.

7. We publish the draft to form the completed personal narrative.

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Throughout the writing process, we will also focus on learning different writing traits and strategies that help bring our writing to life.

We are currently working at stage four and five. Very soon we will have our first published personal narrative! Throughout the year we will focus on different text types in our Writer’s Notebooks. We look forward to publishing many pieces of writing!

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It is great to see everyone thinking about their writing and working towards achieving their personal best! We are writers in 4A and 4B!

What do you enjoy about Writer’s Notebook?

How has the Writer’s Notebook improved your writing?

What writing skills do you want to improve at?