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The Writer's Notebook


 eading &
                                                  The Writer’s Notebook
The writer’s notebook will be an essential tool for you as a writer. When used effectively, the
writer’s notebook will support you throughout the writing process.

Think of your writer’s notebook as a life net. It is a place for you to collect thoughts, ideas, and
experiences in your life. Great and tragic things need not be the only types of experiences you
record – the lightest thoughts can sometimes be the most weighty. Your writer’s notebook will
help you take some of these ‘seed’ ideas and craft them into polished pieces of writing.
Remember, diamonds look like ordinary rocks before they are cut – but with hard work and care
they become the precious stones we admire.

You are expected to write in your writer’s notebook every day – in and out of class. Keep your
journal with you at all times so that you have it when you want to write in it.

Some other points to consider
    I recommend you use a spiral bound notebook. There will be times when you do not
      have your notebook and you may want to record a thought. You will find yourself
      jotting ideas down on napkins, shopping receipts, or an old test. It’s good to have a
      place, like a shoebox or a clip attached to your notebook, to put loose material.
    The notebook is NOT a diary. Diaries are a type of memoir writing where you record
      your life as it unfolds. The writer’s notebook is for you to collect material that you may
      write about later.
    I will collect your writer’s notebook randomly. I will not give you any advanced notice.
      Always keep it with you.
    I will read your writer’ notebook thoughtfully. If you do not want me to read an entry,
        fold the page. When I see a folded page, I will skip over it.
     Your notebook will be graded according to the rubric below.

See the other side of this sheet for the Writer’s Notebook rubric.
  eading &                                                                                   The Writer’s Notebook
     Workshop                                                                                       Rubric

In reviewing you writer’s notebook, your teacher will look for the following kinds of entries:
                    1.                   Seed Idea Entries - Your WN should have many entries where you gather ideas for possible topics of
                                         writing. These are called seed ideas. These entries should be heavier at the beginning of your WN.
                    2.                   Making Meaning Entries – Once you have collected a variety of seed ideas, you should pick one seed idea
                                         and write multiple entries to find out what is meaningful about the topic.
                    3.                   Writing Process – Overtime your entries should go back and forth between entries that gather ideas, entries
                                         that develop a specific idea, and entries that begin to draft early stages of writing.

                                             Distinguished                Advanced                         Meets                         Not Yet
                                                                                                                                  A writer’s notebook
                                                                                                 At least half of the
                                                                                                                                  that does not meet
                                                                                                 entries in a writer’s
                                                                                                                                  expectations is written

                                          A distinguished          An advanced writer’s          notebook that meets
                                                                                                                                  like a diary or journal.

                                          writer’s notebook        notebook is one where         expectations can be
                                                                                                                                  You record things that
                                          is one where all         most entries can be           used as models for
                                                                                                                                  happen in your life but
                                          entries can be           used as a model for           other writers. Such
                                                                                                                                  very few entries
                                          used as models for       other writers.                notebooks go beyond
                                                                                                                                  attempt to understand
                                          other writers.                                         typical journal/diary
                                                                                                                                  why any of these
                                                                                                 like writing.
                                                                                                                                  events are meaningful.

                                          Develops and uses
                            Seed Ideas

                                                                   Uses a wide range of

                                          own creative                                           Uses various                     Limited use of
                                                                   creative strategies to
                                          strategies to                                          strategies to collect            strategies to collect
                                                                   collect and gather
                                          collect and gather                                     and gather seed ideas.           and gather seed ideas.
                                                                   seed ideas.
                                          seed ideas.
  Making Meaning of

                                          Entries go beyond                                      The writer’s notebook        Most entries focus on
                            Seed Ideas

                                                                   Entries consistently
                                          exploration to offer                                   contains a balance of        gathering seed ideas.
                                                                   explore the meaning
                                          discoveries of                                         entries that 1) gather       Very few entries
                                                                   and importance of
                                          meaning and new                                        ideas and 2) those that      attempt to develop the
                                                                   seed ideas.
                                          knowledge.                                             develop them.                meaning of seed ideas.

                                                                                                 Awareness of how your        Entries show little
  Evidence of the Writing

                                                                                                 writing process works        awareness of how the
                                          Consistent and
                                                                                                 – particularly in the        writing process works
                                          constant use of          Clear understanding of
                                                                                                 stages of gathering          – particularly in the
                                          your writing             how your writing

                                                                                                 and pre-writing. In          stages of gathering
                                          process works            process works –
                                                                                                 other words, you can         and pre-writing. It is
                                          through the stages       particularly in the
                                                                                                 trace the development        difficult to trace the
                                          of gathering, pre-       stages of gathering
                                                                                                 of multiple seed ideas       development of
                                          writing and              and pre-writing.
                                                                                                 from seed stage to the       multiple seed ideas
                                                                                                 beginnings of an early       from seed stage early
                                                                                                 draft.                       draft stages.

 Revised - August 27, 2011

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