Teachers Write 6.27.16 Mini-Lesson Monday: What’s in Your Notebook?

Hi there! Happy Summer! And welcome to writing camp!

Teachers Write is a free virtual summer writing camp for teachers and librarians. Please click here to sign up if you’d like to join us and haven’t already registered. If you’re on Facebook & want to also join our group there – here’s the link. Then click “Join Group.” 

A quick note about blogging your Teachers Write experience: There will be daily opportunities for you to share and interact with one another in the comments section of each post. Often, our guest authors will stop by to be part of the conversation, too (though not always – some will be on deadline or traveling for book tours or research).  In addition to commenting, it’s great if you also want to set up a blog where you share all of your writing from this summer. One important request: Our guest authors have given permission for their lessons & prompts to be shared on the Teachers Write blog only. Please do not copy and paste any mini-lessons or writing prompts – publish only your own writing on your blog. If you’d like to reference the ideas shared here, providing a link is the best way to do that. Thanks!

Four quick things before we get started…

1. Teachers Write is an online summer writing camp with published author-mentors who donate their time to work with us. It’s free. There’s no charge to participate, but we do have a request. Kate, Jo, and Gae all have new books out or coming out this summer. Much of the time we’d normally spend on book promotion is going into Teachers Write instead, so we’d love it if you’d order or pre-order these: Kate’s THE SEVENTH WISH, Gae’s THE MEMORY OF THINGS, and Jo’s STILL A WORK IN PROGRESS.

The Seventh Wishmemorystillawork

That’ll run you about $45 total – which is the cheapest professional development around (and you get to keep the books!) We also ask that everyone try to buy at least one book written by one of our daily guest authors.  We don’t check on this – it’s all honor system – but if you can, we’d truly appreciate it if you’d support our books in this way. If you truly can’t swing the expense right now, we’d still love for you to participate and would ask that you support our books in other ways – by requesting them at your local library, borrowing them, and writing online reviews. Thanks!

2. Our weekly schedule will look like this:

Monday Mini-lesson, and a Monday Morning Warm-Up on Jo’s blog
Tuesday Quick-Write
Wednesday is Q and A day – authors will be here to answer your questions! We’ll have some other Wednesday features, too.
Thursday Quick-Write
Friday Feedback on Gae’s blog, and some great Friday features here, too.
Weekend free-for-all – Saturday & Sunday will feature great essays, writing prompts, and reflections from guest authors. They may or may not have an assignment attached, but you won’t want to miss them!
Sunday Check-In on Jen Vincent’s blog – a chance to check in with everyone, reflect on the week, and share encouragement.

3. I’ll be popping in to comment, and I know many of our guest authors will, too, but since this community has grown so much (we’re more than 2500 teacher-writers strong now!) you’ll also need to commit to supporting one another. When someone decides to be brave and share a bit of writing in the comments, or when someone asks for advice or feedback, please know that you are welcome (and encouraged!) to be mentors to one another as well. Watching this writing community grow is one of the best things about being part of Teachers Write.

4. The first time you comment, I will have to “approve” your comment before it appears. This is to prevent us all from being besieged by unpleasant rogue comments. So when you comment, it will not show up right away – sometimes, it may be later in the day when your comment appears. THIS IS OKAY. Please don’t post more than once. I’ll be on book tour or traveling for research much of June & July but promise to check in whenever I get wherever I’m going each night. Be patient with  me, okay? 🙂 

Now…let’s get started!

What’s in Your Notebook?

We talk a lot about writer’s notebooks with students, but sometimes, we don’t know quite what to tell them. What is a writer’s notebook anyway? What are you supposed to put in there? Sometimes, when kids struggle with this question, our first impulse is to give directions – assignments, even. And while it’s fine to provide “starter ideas,” a truly writer’s notebook should be more organic than that.

Writer’s notebooks are as unique as the people who own them, and there’s no one right way to use one. This can be an uncomfortable notion for writers of all ages who like to get things right. But with a little encouragement, a writer’s notebook really can become a great tool for experimenting, finding voice, collecting ideas, reflecting on one’s work, and a million other things. 


I have two notebooks with me as I write this blog post at Starbucks. Let’s take a look inside…

Here’s a page where I scribbled when I was out to dinner with a bunch of teachers & librarians in Dublin, Ohio and someone showed me a photo of a party her kid sent from college. Someone had blown up a large inflatable pool in the dorm room and filled it with water. I have no idea if I’ll ever use this in a book in any way, but I loved it and wanted to save it.


I often take research notes in my writer’s notebooks and then use other pages to organize. Here’s a timeline I made to help me organize historical details for RANGER IN TIME: ESCAPE FROM THE GREAT EARTHQUAKE, which comes out in June ’17. 


Sometimes I write questions at the top of a page in my notebook, so I can go back and scribble answers when I have the chance to interview an expert. Here’s one of those pages…


I keep a running list of ideas for future Ranger in Time books.

IMG_3176 (1)

Antarctic exploration is somewhere on that list, and that was the spark for the newest Ranger in Time book, RACE TO THE SOUTH POLE, which is about a Maori-Chinese boy who stows away on Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s ship, the Terra Nova, as the crew tries to be the first to reach the South Pole. It comes out tomorrow!! (6/28)

Ranger in Time -- Race to the South Pole

Sometimes, I don’t know quite why I’m adding something to my notebook, but it simply seems worth exploring. One day, I was checking on a historical quote that I wanted to use, only to find that it was misattributed to that person who supposedly said it. This happens a lot, and it got me wondering who else’s famous quotes aren’t real quotes. So I made a list. I think this relates to a character in my novel in progress, but I’m not sure yet…


I wrote this on an airplane while I was talking with my friend Linda Urban about my work-in-progress. We were brainstorming this one character, and I was lamenting how overwhelming and big this novel felt. Linda said, “It is big, but you will find all the footholds.” I knew I’d need to remember that later, so I wrote it down along with my other notes.


Want to see what some other writers do in their notebooks?

From Erin Dionne: “A research list of the strongest natural, man-made, and imaginary metals. (The 15/30 was keeping track of how many days in a row I was working on preparing for this manuscript)”


From Deborah Underwood: “Page where I quickly captured an idea for the upcoming HERE COMES TEACHER CAT. (Most of my notebooks are filled with illegible scribbles and idea snippets; this is uncommonly readable!)”


From Donalyn Miller: “Notes on our family reading autobiographies.”


From Katie Carroll: “A very messy list of events that need to occur in my WIP and brainstorming some other things (generally bad stuff) that could happen along the way.”


From Stacy McAnulty: “Using my journal/notebook to work out plot revisions on a rough draft of a MG novel.”


From Jo Knowles: “From a pop-up workshop I attended this winter. My notebook is filled with these sorts of exercises, as well as notes from workshops I attend. I also use it to jot down notes and ideas for a WIP, or ideas for new stories.”


From Kara LaReau: “Diagram of train compartments copied from Murder on the Orient Express, with my characters’ names penciled in.”


From Kimberly Pauley: “This page is a character sketch.”


From Kari Anne Holt: “This is a very, very first draft of a poem from HOUSE ARREST. I wrote a lot of it longhand in spiral notebooks, because it felt easier (and more satisfying) to revise this way.”


From Melanie Conklin: “This is a page from inside the notebook for Counting Thyme. I make a mess, but you can pick out lines that are still in the book here.”


And finally, from Madelyn Rosenberg: “I tend to let my writing notebooks double as scrapbooks. Here’s a page from a notebook from the 1990s, when the eyebrows fell off of my Winnie-the-Pooh.”


You get the idea, right? You understand the writer’s notebook rules now? There are none.

Sometimes that can be scary, especially for those of us who like to know which hoops we’re supposed to jump through to do things the right way. But try to embrace the idea of your notebook as a place to play this summer. A place to explore ideas and collect things. Remember when you were a kid and you came home with a pocket full of rocks and twigs and crickets? Treat it like that.

Your Assignment: Finish this beginning. “This summer in my notebook, I want to…” 

Or don’t. You can write something else instead, if you’d like. Because that’s how notebooks work.

In the comments today, feel free to share a snippet of what you wrote, but please also write a few lines introducing yourself.  Let’s get to know one another – we’re going to be writing together for six weeks, starting right now!

441 Replies on “Teachers Write 6.27.16 Mini-Lesson Monday: What’s in Your Notebook?

  1. I’ve kept notebooks and journals my entire life. They always seemed like a conglomeration of thoughts, ideas, and “stuff” that I was collecting. I’ve gotten away from that personally and with my students. So this summer in my writer’s notebook, I want to get back to that place where my notebook is a collection of musings, sketches, and writing that will help move me forward in my WIP.
    I would also love for my notebook to become a model that I use with my students this coming school year. When they see the messiness of it all, they hopefully won’t feel like they have to do something that is perfect all the time. I’d like them to feel more free to really explore and let their thoughts spill out on the page. It is also my hope for my own notebook and writing this summer.

    1. I love this response, but this, most of all: “When they see the messiness of it all, they hopefully won’t feel like they have to do something that is perfect all the time.” I think sharing our own IMPERFECT writing with kids can be so powerful and freeing for them – especially for your writers who worry that they’re not good enough. So glad you’re joining us this summer, Sue!

    2. Sue,
      I am with you all the way! It is what I tried to say in my response below. I love that Kate shared pictures of authors’ writer’s notebooks. They really help to get an idea that really there are no rules here. We invent them depending on our needs and purposes. Kate, is it OK to share these images with students?

      1. Elisa,
        Love the phrase that shows how we (students included) invent our notebooks “depending on our needs and purposes.” If we can get them to do that, our students will write for so many purposes in and OUTside of the classroom. And after all, that’s what we want to create–lifelong learners and writers!

        1. Agreed! My new group of 5th graders in the fall is coming to me having experienced writer’s notebook in 4th grade. However, I am not sure what that experience was like, so I’ve decided to ask them. Based on that I will decide how to proceed this year with notebooks. I am hoping that my experience this summer will give me lots of fodder to support my students in September.

  2. This summer in my notebook, I want to get a start of the story thats been rattling around in my head for years down.

    1. Yes!! A writer’s notebook is the perfect place to do that. One of the things I do at school visits is show kids the notebook pages that inspired my novels, and they’re always surprised that those pages aren’t longer or fancier somehow. But so often, it takes just a few words to grab an idea out of the air (or pull it out of our brains!) so we can keep it, to think about and write more about later on.

  3. I keep a nice notebook on my desk that I use to do “Thought Captures” on my desk in Room 407. Often these are visual notes taken while viewing TED talks with the students. For me, this particular journal allows me to take a quick-walk through talks I have seen. I can process again by way of review big ideas rendered in images and words that make sense to me but might not work for another person who might stumble upon the entries. Many times, too, there are references in the marginalia to other texts–“ladders” if you will–songs, films, poems. Anything that I might use to connect the talk to other texts should I use this one again in class. This is one example of journaling and notebooking. I have some others, binders full of poems written but not shared. . .yet.

    1. I love the idea of visual notes to represent big ideas and connections. For me, so often, it’s the act of scribbling and doodling that coaxes those connections to come out of hiding. Have you blogged about this, Paul? I’d love to see what it looks like… 🙂 And I bet that notebook would be a great mentor text for students, too.

  4. It’s funny, I was just dusting off one of the various “writer’s notebooks” I purchased in my stationary addiction – and never wrote in. After reading Kate’s post this morning, and then checking in here as well (I LOVE the video!) – I decided to put a blurb in, and more came out than I ever expected. That is what I hope for this summer!

    My goal for this summer is to write more consistently. To fill pages with quick writes, long writes, ideas, doodles – anything to get the creative waters flowing (whether that needs to be in trickles or in floods – I’ll take what I can get). I read SO much – I feel the need for more balance in my literary life. I love to write, but with the limited time between teaching, mothering, wife-ing, breathing, and staring at the wall in shell-shock after the house is finally quiet at night – it just doesn’t happen. When I do find some minutes to myself – I always choose reading. And it’s never enough. It’s my first love. I want to find a way to increase my writing confidence and the positive effects in can have on my life so I can make time for both. In short, I’m ready to have a writing affair. Here’s to a scandalous summer 🙂

    1. I’m all in for a “scandalous summer!” I love that way of thinking, and I also understand so well all the things that tug at you in the summer months. Even if you commit to fifteen minutes a day, that’s a wonderful start. I’m glad you’re writing with us!

    2. I’m in the same boat with reading occupying my leisure time more than writing. Somehow the urgency of reading all of the good books that are out there supercedes the urgency of having a regular time for writing. This summer I want to firmly establish at least a few minutes of writing as a regular habit. Early morning works best for me and I\\\’m at the beach this week. What better time to start?!

      1. June,
        Ditto for me, too. I have been watching myself so far this summer (first week into the summer break) and I have been painfully aware of consuming others’ writing and spending very little time to work on my own. I’m hoping that Teachers Write will shift this for me in a big way!

      2. It’s so addicting!! Urgency is a great word. I want to read ALL. THE. BOOKS 🙂 I like the idea of starting with a time commitment. That might just work for me 🙂

      3. I agree on reading more than writing during my free time. I like the idea of writing a bit every day. Now I have to figure out where I’m going to write…

    3. Jenn that is almost exactly what I want to do! I read all the things but barely write at all. Here’s to a summer of writing (and maybe still reading).

    4. I totally connected with this. I feel the same way–I always choose reading when I have moments to myself. I love reading! However, I also want to make more time for writing. Let the affair begin! 🙂

    5. I appreciate the way you describe limited time. I’m so far off that I don’t even know where any of my nite Iola are. I’d be delighted to start one again. I spend so much time typing yhatbitvfeels really goods to put thoughts on paper.

      1. Ugh, it’s hard to type in this box from a phone. So sorry. I was trying to say that I don’t know where my notebooks are. And after this typing debacle, it will be a welcome relief to use a pen on paper!

  5. In looking through my notebooks (in addition to keeping a writer’s NB, I carry a pocket-sized one at all times) I realized that while, like Kate, I enjoy it being open for anything and everything, I could use a little organization to be sure each snippet is available to use when ready. So my first action is to make some marginal notes, designate highlighter colors for different projects and potential uses (dialogue, interesting facts, character attributes, etc.). That and transferring the useful nuggets from my pocket notebooks. Thanks for the ideas and motivation.

    1. I love this thought on keeping things organized, even when a notebook is a catch-all. I have a table of contents in mine so that I can find things I’m likely to want again, like idea lists.

      1. That’s a great idea! I love that concept, too. Never thought of it in conjunction with a writer’s notebook — I’m in!

    2. I really like the idea about color coding the pages. I have a ton of notebooks but get frustrated by not being able to find things when I want them.

  6. My goal this summer is to grab ONE notebook and fill it up. My problem is that I have too many scattered at home/work. While it’s fun to stumble upon one and become reacquainted with what’s inside, this scattered lifestyle that I lead needs some organization.

    1. But isn’t it lovely to find those surprises, too? I don’t know…I’m a fan of balancing organization with a bit of chaos, I think, to keep things interesting. 🙂

    2. Hahaha, Kelly! Me, too! I start a notebook and get really excited about it and then it gets buried under a pile of other stuff that I get really excited about. Time to change that this summer!

  7. This summer in my notebook I want to actually get started collecting whatever suits my fancy. I have only written articles and newsletters in the past several years for organizations I volunteer for. It has been years since I tapped into creative types of writing. Starting a notebook will be a welcome challenge.

  8. Thanks, Kate, for gathering all the images of writers’ notebooks – and thanks to all the brave souls who shared. ** This is my 2nd active year in TW, though I lurked in the year before that. After finishing my dissertation, I wanted to switch from academic writing to children’s writing. As an ENL teacher, I routinely share early chapter books with my students, so that’s what I’m working on writing myself. Ultimately, I’d like to be agented and published. ** I actually keep 3 notebooks right now. One is life and teaching related. I also have two separate writing notebooks for two WIPs. This summer I want to focus on the writing notebook for the active WIP with several types of entries. 1) Entries about the characters’ wants/needs/motives so I can make them feel more real. 2) Notes about published early chapter books – what makes them work (or not). 3) Outlines of major events in the plot, so that I can solve some sequence issues.

    1. I admire your organization – I have multiple notebooks, too, but no matter how hard I try, they all end up being about everything. I’ve made peace with that and accepted it’s just the way my brain works. Glad you’re joining us again (and no longer lurking!).

      1. But I had reason to lurk – I was focused on finishing a dissertation and feared that being a full participant would be too much of a distraction! 🙂 But yes, I’m so glad that I can focus on children’s books now. Thanks.

    2. Margaret,
      Great organization. Unfortunately, I’m not that organized, but I’ll be thinking about these ideas and those of others in the hope that I can get more organized!

    3. Hi Margaret!

      You seem to have a plan for making your dream for making that early chapter book a reality! I find it super cool that you’ve given it a lot of thought and have worked out a system to work on your story.

      Can I draw on your past experiences in TW?

      – How does Wednesday Q&A Work?
      – Do we share our quick writes?
      – What happens during Friday’s Feedback?
      – Is there a best time during the day to check in, or whenever is fine?

      Thanks and I look forward to reading some of your work!


  9. This summer in my writer’s notebook I hope to finally draft my seed of a story that I’ve been talking about for longer than I care to admit. I’d also like to make sure I have it with me more often so I can use it more. I’d like to work on including more sketches in my observations, which would be a better tie-in to share with my students in my science class.

    1. I love that one of your goals is to have your notebook with you more often. It’s amazing how many little “found moments” we have to write when we make sure we’re always ready. I’ve done some great writing waiting in my car to pick up the kids from track carpool. 🙂

      1. I’ve also been using my cell phone to note interesting or funny quotes that I’d like to remember for later. It also seems a bit less intrusive when someone is speaking to pull out my cell instead of a notebook. But either way, it gets recorded. 🙂

  10. I am going to try using a smaller writer’s notebook this year (5X7) so I can carry it in my purse all summer. I want to focus on asking questions–questions about my character, questions about situations, and questions what I am reading.

    1. Gloria, I think that’s smart – I have different sized notebooks because the large ones I prefer just aren’t practical to take along when I’m climbing a mountain or something. Glad you’re joining us this summer!

    2. Gloria,
      Oh what a great idea! I wish I had considered that this summer. I usually keep a small notebook in whatever bag I happen to be carrying. But I chose a very (normal size) glitzy notebook this year, to get my attention every day! The notebook sometimes makes a big difference. I need to keep that in mind when school returns and I order writer’s notebooks for my students.

      1. It’s funny, “glitzy” notebooks often don’t work for me. They’re so nice… I don’t want to ruin them w my horrible messy writing.
        Now I mostly use regular old composition notebooks I buy at Staples or whatever. Sometimes I decorate the covers, but never too much.

        One difference: when I travel I like to choose just the right journal, often with blank pages for sketching and plenty of room for writing, too.

  11. I appreciate the “permission” for keeping messy writer’s notebooks. I have about 7 that I’ve been working in over the years. The inner control freak in me wants them to all be in chronological/topical order – but they’re not. I’ve been hesitant to pick one up and get started again, because of this crazy notion that it won’t be in the right book. I’m discarding that thought and will begin again. There’s no time like the present! This summer, my 85 year old mother is staying with me. I’ve been noticing lots of changes in her, lots of mannerisms that she has developed, and she’s been sharing her inner thoughts with me. I want to write them down so I can remember. I want to write down my thoughts and responses as well. I am coming to terms with her aging and it isn’t always pretty.

    1. I’m so glad you’re writing with us this summer, Wendy. And I love that you’re using your notebook to hold on to all these memories about your mom. It may not always be pretty, but it will be True. Writing preserves moments for us in a way that even photos can’t, sometimes, I think.

    2. I love the idea of writing down things from others. I have parents, but I also have a 5 yo and some of the things she says are precious and I never even thought that those could be a story seed. Thanks for the idea!

    3. Those hard, messy things that we write are challenging, but they may be the very thing someone needs to read to help them through a challenging time. I’m writing something like that now, and keep getting more and more pictures of how it might actually come together. Praying for you and your mom and your writing this summer!

  12. I’m a literacy coach for grades 5-12. I’ve wanted to do Teacher’s Write for several years, but my young children and my own skepticism had me as a bystander. I’m leaping in this year. I love to write poems. I’ve always said I wanted to write a children’s book, and my daughter is always writing. Why don’t I? I guess the skepticism is tougher to break than I thought. I won’t know how to write what people want to read; I would never get anything published. But here I sit on one of my first free summer mornings with nothing in my way this year. I’m going to dive in—scared a bit, needing encouragement from others to keep up. This summer in my notebook, I want to explore who I am as a writer. I want all inhibitions to exit and let my ideas and memories flow. I have so much I want to recount, remember, and share. In my summer notebook, I want to grow as an individual. Thank you for this opportunity to take a flying leap into something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.
    Summer notebook
    Empty pages
    but full hearts–summer is about
    bare feet
    no alarm clock
    bonding with family
    Oh summer notebook,
    Full pages
    Start of fall–I did it
    Summer notebook

    1. Flying leap indeed! I love the joy in this post and the feeling of letting go. Thanks for being brave enough to share on the very first day!

    2. Kathleen, you have captured summer very well in your poem! Thanks for sharing! Sharing your heart through writing allows you to be an inspiration to others. I’m so glad you are taking a chance to explore who you are as a writer. I know you will discover even more than you expect! 🙂

    3. I love this! Here’s to no boundaries and not worrying about what others think. I hope I get to read more of your writing this summer. I love your style!

  13. I have never kept a writer’s notebook before. I have story ideas floating in my head often and sometimes lose them as I let the everyday things force those out of the way. I am so excited to actually start using one. Just to start jotting, doodling and researching and keeping it all in one place is going to be my starting place! Thanks for this opportunity… Looking forward to seeing what’s inside my brain. 🙂

    1. I’m glad you’re writing with us, Lisa! And boy can I relate to things getting lost if they’re not written down. I always tell young writers that once I have a story idea, its life expectancy is about five minutes unless I have my notebook handy.

    2. Wishing you lots of lots and doodles by summer’s end. I always tell students that when they have ideas, it’s important to catch them. A writer’s notebook is like a big butterfly net. =)

  14. I notice these are paper notebooks. There are so many digital ways to keep information like Evernote, Binders, etc. I am still drawn to paper. I attribute this to my age–generational preference? Curious if anyone out there uses digital.

    1. I suspect that some of the authors whose paper notebooks are represented here will tell you that they also have digital ways of exploring ideas – via Word documents, Scrivener outlines, Pinterest boards, etc. But I agree that there is something about paper and a pen. That’s where most of my best brainstorming and idea pondering happens.

      1. My default is paper, too. My first drafts are nearly always done on paper. But I am using digital tools more often to organize my research: Scannable, Evernote, and Pinterest (I have a hidden board just for ideas!)

    2. I have tried writing in Evernote, Livebinder, Google Docs, and Word. I have loved using Scrivener for my most recent WIP. I do have to start by hand with a quick write before I dig in. But, it has taken me years to balance and find out how to keep all my thoughts flowing and organized at the same time!

    3. Hi, Jen! I do most of my formal drafting digitally–usually just with Word. When I switch from pen to keyboard, I’m acknowledging that I’m writing something that I want to be able to save and revise. Notes scribbled to myself in my writer’s notebook (or very often in the notepad that I keep by my bed for ideas in the night) are not ready to be part of my text yet. Once I do get going in Word, though, I save everything in Dropbox. I love that I can go back to earlier versions of a particular document via Dropbox. Then if a revision turns out to be more rabbit hole than productive change, I can start again from an earlier version pretty easily.

    4. I use paper, but I also have a few Pinterest boards that relate to writing and catching ideas. I use my notes page on my phone/iPad if my notebook isn’t handy, and when a song strikes, I use the voice recording function on my phone to capture the melody in the moment, too. When I have a continuous idea, I’ll keep transferring them to a travel drive or a file on my computer, too.

  15. Hello! I am a middle school English teacher in Indianapolis. I am excited to work on writing true essays about anything. I want to be true to the practice what you preach by really taking the time to use my writer’s notebook and create my own pieces of writing not only for me but for my students. I started a new notebook earlier this month at a workshop with Katherine Bomer and using it daily has really sparked and ignited my passion for writing.

    1. Hi, Margo! I’m glad you’re writing with us this summer. Katherine’s Hidden Gems sounds like a great resource. I love that you were inspired by her session and plan to continue with us in the coming weeks.

  16. This summer in my Writer’s Notebook I hope to develop my writer’s eye and writing habit. In today’s world, it’s so easy to snap a pic, post, and share, that I worry I am losing the art of noticing. As a 7th grade ELA teacher and lifelong reader/people-watcher/introvert, I maintain several notebooks: teaching reflections, classroom ideas, travelogues, my son’s sayings and growth stories, a gratitude journal, among others. I look forward to honing my writer’s eye and cementing a daily writing habit. I am so excited for this opportunity! Thank you!

    1. I love the phrase “the art of noticing” and am intrigued by your thoughtful comment on our “post a picture” culture. It seems to me that this would be a great conversation to have with students, too. What would we have written about a moment if we hadn’t had the option to post a quick photo? So glad you’re writing with us this summer!

  17. Hello Kate, hello fellow TW campers,

    My name is Tanja and I am the primary school librarian at an international school in Hong Kong. This is my second participation in TW and I am very much looking forward to it. I am keeping a reader’s notebook since reading Donalyn Miller’s The Book Whisperer a couple of years ago. It has become a great tool to keep track of what I am reading and to model and share my reading life with my students. During the summer, I want my (brand new summer) notebook to be a combination of both reader’s and writer’s notebook. I want to keep track of the books I read, write down favorite quotes I come across, record what I am learning from the TW lessons, jot down ideas, lists and questions, and add any writing I produce as part of the camp. I would love for it to double as well as a scrapbook, adding photos and other bits and pieces of the books I read, people I meet, places I visit and more.


    1. Hi Tanja,
      I’m an international teacher, too. So glad there are some of us here. I teach in Quito, Ecuador.

    2. I love the idea of a combination readers and writers notebook. I read a lot. Many times it drives my husband crazy, but I love to get lost in a book. It is my true passion. I am doing better about keeping track of what I am reading using Goodreads, but I often lose those specific words that resonate with me. I may have to do that with my brand new summer notebook as well. Have fun writing (and reading)!

  18. Okay, here goes. This is will be my first summer with TW and I am a bit nervous. I am a 5th grade teacher. This summer in my notebook, I want to reflect on the world around me, collect snippets that catch my eye that could be turned into something else. I want to gain confidence in my writing, so that I can take the risk of sharing it beyond my classroom. In my notebook, I will keep lists, quick writes, new learning from conferences, mini-lessons, and professional readings. I am looking forward to getting back into the writing as a part of my every day life and taking the time to let it flow. I am excited to create! Thank you for the opportunity.

    1. Collecting snippets is such a great way to describe the bits of writing that we do in our notebooks, Heather. I love that and find that it applies to much of what I jot down in a day, too. Glad you’re joining us this summer!

  19. Since last year’s Teachers Write, my notebooks have proliferated! I have different notebooks for different purposes, and I always have a pocket-size notebook with me, along with a collection of favorite colored pens. My writing has expanded to include sketching, a reclaimed love from childhood. This summer in my notebook, I will do some planning for a new book idea. I will continue working on a book I’ve been writing. I will collect observations and thoughts, and experiment. The last is the one I am most excited about. I learned so much last summer through experimenting with different exercises, and it changed my teaching. Thank you for this fantastic opportunity to connect with other teachers and writers, and to learn!

  20. And, I have begun notebooks, but only with my students. I need to stop being fearful and just go for it. Think deeply and write. No judgments. Thank you for sharing this.

      1. Liz Gilbert has a great section on fear in her book BIG MAGIC. I highly recommend it. I facilitated an on-line book discussion for Picture Book 12×12 on this book and we had a lively discussion. Her way of handling fear is both funny and inspiring.

  21. This summer I want to use my writer’s notebook to help me do some thinking about my dissertation that I’m not ready to commit to my computer. I’m a doc candidate in the School of Ed at Indiana University in Bloomington (hi, Margo! You’re real close by!), and I teach undergrads who are going to be both elementary and secondary teachers. I’ve lurked on Teachers Write before, but I’m trying to find ways to structure my writing more explicitly while I dissertate.

  22. Good morning!

    I am a middle school teacher (6th grade) at a school that is 5-10 minutes east of Syracuse, NY. I am a Teachers Write “lifer”.:)

    I keep my notebook(s) with me everywhere I go. I have four children that are very involved in community activities, so I am often waiting for them in the car or watching them practice – the perfect time to write. Over the years, I have drifted away from using only one notebook. Now, I have a poetry notebook, a notebook of favorite (and fun) quotes, and a notebook with miscellaneous ideas (i.e. – at a recent DMB concert, I watched an older woman throw an empty beer can in a Can-Jam bucket, which she thought was a recycling bin – that will make it into a story). I will write that my wife despises my new method – finding all of my notebooks around the house.

    I look forward to reading what others are writing today. It’s good to be back with Teachers Write.:)

  23. I am actually a science teacher so I’m feeling really out of place right now. I love reading and try to incorporate books in my teaching all the time. I want to do a writers notebook because I always have all of these ideas in my head about stories that I think would be fun if someone wrote, but I always tell myself I’m not a writer so I let it go. This summer I would like to take a chance and try!

    1. Well, you’re here…so you ARE a writer, it turns out! Glad you’re joining us – and from looking at the registrations, I know you’re not our only brave science teacher this year.

    2. Julie, I think it’s amazing that you’re here! I’m a newbie, too, so “sisters in arms.” I love that you are so committed to using great books as you teach science. I bet you have a whole lot of stories in your head, ready to come flying out onto the pages of your notebook!

    3. If you write, you ARE a writer, Julie. Welcome!

      Science is one of my passions. My debut PB is about piloting Alvin, the deep-sea submersible that discovered hydrothermal vents.

    4. Julie! Science is exciting, it invites reflection, it is magical, it answers questions while creating even more questions! You shouldn’t feel out of place, you are a scientist, and I’m sure you keep a science JOURNAL! Get it? You’re already a writer! Looking forward to reading some of your stories! – Ro

  24. Kate, every summer, it is so inspiring to read the comments from aspiring and published authors! Yes, I have three notebooks, too, and I haul one of them along wherever I go, with stutter-steps of stories in them. As some have said, it’s fun to go back and revisit — and maybe, with fresh eyes, the scribbles will spark the rest of the story. Conquer the fear and set yourself free, I remind myself. 🙂 Happy writing and aloha to all!

  25. I am an assistant children’s librarian and am on staycation this week so have time to read and write and begin a better writing practice. I am going to begin with a fresh notebook to celebrate. I look forward to being inspired by all of you.

  26. This summer in my writer’s notebook I will not down book ideas, inspirational quotes and writing ideas for my new 8th grade ELAR assignment in the fall. I have been teaching for 14 years, but I haven’t taught this grade/subject before! I am a little nervous!

    1. A new adventure is a great reason to explore new ideas in your notebook. So glad you’ll be writing with us this summer, Tanya!

  27. I just discovered Teachers Write this morning! Thank you twitter-sphere. I have been a middle grade teacher for years but I am moving to kindergarten in the fall and looking forward to it.
    I’ve kept a journal of some sort since 3rd grade. I’m traveling some this summer so I am hoping to fill my notebook with inspiration I find in my travels. Someone above mentioned trying to capture the story that has been “rattling” in her head for years. I am attempting the same. I am also using my journals and writing to ease my way through recent tragedies. Writing has always been my haven. Hoping to channel some of that grief as well.

    1. I’m so glad you’re writing with us, Meg. It’s always amazing to me how much we can sort out by writing. I hope you find not only inspiration this summer but comfort in words, too.

    2. Hey Meg–I taught K for sixteen years and loved it with all my heart! I hope it’s a wonderful change for you. I bet your journal will be full of happy anecdotes about those little cherubs!

    3. Meg,
      Have you read The Way of the Traveler? http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781566914499
      It’s not for everyone, but you might find it helpful as you venture out on your travels. The focus is on making meaning out of your travel, but it may also help you as you work through your grief. Not that it focuses on that at all. The book helps you think more deeply about your relationship to the place and your travel may help you process your grief.

      I hope this is making sense. It’s hard to write something thoughtful in this tiny little comment box.

  28. I’ve written in notebooks for my whole life, in a million different ways, and I love seeing how other people use theirs! I’ve finally found a way to use my notebook that really works for me, but it’s constantly evolving, and I love that flexibility. This summer I want to write whatever I want, no judging–about my life, my thoughts, and my ideas.

    I’m a high school teacher in southern Kentucky, and I love Teachers Write! It’s good to be back!

  29. I’m Rose from PA. I write professionally as well as for fun. This summer my goal is to free myself of the thinking that – is this the right way to keep a notebook? Thanks for the reminder, Kate, that there are no rules. I have an index in my notebook that I plan to use more because my notebook is filled with blog posts, revision ideas, story ideas, notes from workshops, and daily schedules. It definitely is messy!

    1. It’s sticky trying to keep track of everything, isn’t it? I keep a table of contents for my biggest notebook but end up flipping through all the others. Let us know if you come up with something that works better!

    2. Yay! I saw you speak during a Writing Institute at Millersville University a few years ago. Your session and your books are tried and true resources in my teaching! So glad to see you here!!

  30. Arrrrggggghhhh!!! Journals! I know I should, I know I should, I know I should! I hear that mantra from every writing class I take, and every conference I attend. And I do, and then I don’t, and then I do again, and then it lays neglected for days…weeks…months…eventually getting misplaced, so I start another, and then months later another, and another.

    One conference I go to almost every year (a shout out to Kylene Beers and Bob Probst and their wonderful Boothbay Literacy Retreat) even offers a huge selection of journals to choose from so you’re sure to get exactly what you’re comfortable with – big, small, medium-sized, lined, unlined, magnetic clasps, tie closures, snap closures, no closures, leather bound, spiral bound, colorful bombastic covers, scenic covers, nature covers, plain covers, super-psychedelic covers. Ok, you get the idea. Every year I make my choice carefully, promising myself that this will be the year, this will be the year.

    Now, even my nutritionist has encouraged me to keep a food journal. Did you know it is one of the leading contributions for those who have been most successful at losing weight and then maintaining a healthy lifestyle? Yes, I know! I get it! I’ve even seen how my students respond when they see mine, one third grade boy, holding it and caressing it gently with such yearning in his eyes to have one of his own (I made sure he did before the school day was out). So why can’t I make this a habit in my life?

    Well, as a version of the old saying goes, “If at first you don’t succeed, call it version 1.0,” So, here goes version 23.0. On this day, June 27, 2016 (my 56th birthday) I will, once more, pick up my pens (a 20 piece Staedtler fiber tip set, bought last year when I was really determined “this was the year”), one of my partially used journals, and begin again. Heck, maybe I’ll even give myself a fresh start and head to a local bookstore and buy myself a new journal as a birthday present. And, as I say, every time I face the treadmill these days. “I got this!”

    1. Happy birthday! Go for your goal! I am trying to be consistent this summer. I have plenty of unfinished notebooks.

    2. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who has a hard time sticking with this. It always seems that something is more important, more pressing, more …! Congrats on resolving again to pick up that journal. I hope it goes well this time. And Happy Birthday as well! 🙂

  31. My writers notebook this summer will help me organize my thoughts on the challenges that my family is going through, and my take on it so that in a few years, I can make sense of it for others. I am going to go for the paper journal, which has worked for me in the past. Though I have tried to convince myself that digital is more efficient, it has proven so because I have not written much at all, so it has saved me both time and words! I look forward to this opportunity, and I hope to develop this into my summer spiritual practice.

    1. Thanks for sharing your plans, Jackie – I use my notebooks to sort things out and save feelings, too. Sometimes, I end up using those ideas in future writing and sometimes not, but it’s never wasted.

  32. Hi All –
    This is my 4th summer hanging out at camp. Though years two and three were kind of sit back and lurk years, I’m hoping I can be more of an active participant this summer. I’m 30,000 words into an upper-middle-grade novel that I am hoping to get to the first draft finish line this summer.
    I completed a short story along with my middle school students this past spring, and it was amazing to be able to write along with them, sharing my actual drafts and revisions as I (and they) went. It was definitely all of you at Teacher’s Write who gave me the push to do this.
    I’ve been keeping a writer’s notebook for about eight years. I start a new one every January. I use them for everything from capturing ideas for stories or songs before they fly out of my head, to research notes, to shopping lists. This summer, I’d like to get a little more “disciplined” with my notebook . I want to take the time to sit with it and actually write whatever it is I feel like writing that day, including inspiration from TW.
    Welcome to all of you new folks. You’re going to love it here!

    1. David, I love hearing how TW has changed the way you interact with your student writers. How powerful it must have been for them to see you working through your revisions! Glad you’re joining us again!

  33. I love these glimpses into other writers’ notebooks, Kate. My own notebook is a mishmash of research, interview notes, new ideas, grocery shopping, and boring to-do lists. And if an idea pops into my head while I’m driving, I often use my recorder on my phone to capture it so I can write it down later.
    So nice to virtually meet you all, Teachers!

    1. Thanks for joining us again, Sarah! I’d love to hear more about the phone recorder you use. Is it an app? I sometimes just videotape but feel like there must be something more efficient.

      1. Hey Kate–it’s the no-frills built-in app that came with my iPhone: Utilities/voice memos. I’ve learned you can record at least an hour’s worth (after my digital tape recorder broke on me one day right before an interview!)

    2. Hi Sarah! I’m honored (and a little giddy) to be in the company of you, Kate, Jo, Gae and so many other published authors I admire. Thanks for giving your time to help us grow as writers, just as we want to support our students.

  34. I have always kept journals and have used notebooks for everything from shopping lists, to to-dos to vacation plans – for generally everything that was happening. I am so excited to get a new notebook just for my creative thoughts and ideas for my stories and see where it leads me this summer. This is my first time with Teachers Write and I’m thrilled to be a part of it!

    1. Glad you’re writing with us, Penny! By the way, while it’s totally fine to have a separate, special notebook for creative things, it’s also fine to keep that part of your writing world right alongside your to-do lists and grocery lists. I’ve done both and don’t really have a preference, though I know some people do. Let us know how it goes!

  35. I teach 6th grade Language Arts, and dabble in writing here and there in the form of book reviews, blog posts, and a long distance collaborative project with a friend, but haven’t really committed to any sort of concrete writing schedule for myself.

    Being very much from a technology obsessed generation, the idea of keeping a formal notebook has been a real struggle for me. I start them or make a vow to myself that I’m going to start carrying one around and actually write in it, but I never do.

    I’ve found the notes on my phone are much more accessible to me, and much more readily used. This summer, in my notes, I would like to explore some of the jotted down ideas I have and work on turning them into longer pieces or at least see where it takes me.

    1. There’s nothing wrong with a digital notebook if that works best for you – and I was remiss in not saying so in the initial post. Beause I love my paper, I lean that way when I share posts, but I know that for many people, that phone IS the thing that’s always with you and most convenient now. Do whatever works best for you!

    2. Ted I am so happy to see you here! We crossed paths at CB but never had the opportunity to work together. I also have a collection of voice memos that I hope to turn into journal entries this summer! Happy writing!

  36. This summer in my notebook I hope to actually write. I have had an idea that my husband gave me and I want to write it this year. I have started it as a digital write but I don’t like it. I can’t seem to get motivated to type it. I hope that I can use a notebook to get me to write more and enjoy it.

    This is the 3rd time I have been part of TW and I am excited and motivated to participate more this year.

  37. It’s so interesting to peek into other writers’ notebooks! Thank you for sharing these. This summer, I am hoping to start an new middle grade novel in my notebook, as well as to continue generating ideas and thoughts for new picture books. I also want to start doing more drawing, which I love and never have time for. So, right now, I’m deciding to make one small sketch every day. My notebooks tend to be a hodgepodge of everything — thoughts on revisions, new ideas, quotes that inspire me, notes on workshops. If there’s something I need to find again, I add tabs to make it easier. I like the idea of a table of contents, though! Inside the back cover, I also list books that I hear about and want to read. So excited for teacher’s write — this will be my third year and it’s very inspiring

    1. I love the idea of adding tabs to keep track of things – I do that often in books I’m reading but haven’t tried it in my own notebooks. I think I need some little Post-Its!

  38. Hello! This is my first summer doing Teachers Write. I am so excited! I have been taking some writing classes just for fun, and I am eager to keep my creative juices flowing. I will be keeping a blog going for my responses this year. Please feel free to visit and follow it. Here is an excerpt from todays post on writingwithmrsburgy.wordpress.com
    I seem to be able to be more creative when writing with a pen in a notebook as opposed to typing on my computer in a google doc. There is something magical in that pen, and I like some pens more than others. My current favorite is my Mickey pen I got from my husband for Christmas.

    I also like to have nice notebooks. I find that a nice hard cover notebook is easier to write in. My current notebook is a hard cover journal with the Stark emblem, from Game of Thrones, on the cover. Yah, Mickey pen and Stark notebook, that’s what I said.

    To me the tools matter. Good tools help me produce better work. I have no idea why. Even my Mickey pen and Stark notebook make feel better about my writing. I think that’s all that matters. Feel good about your writing and use the tools that make you feel good about it.

    1. Glad you’re joining us this summer, Allison. I’m a sucker for nice notebooks, too – it’s a total weakness. Hope you and Mickey find lots of inspiration here!

  39. Hi Kate and thanks for organizing Teachers Write again this summer. I teach 6th grade in Downers Grove, a suburb of Chicago. This summer I’m not doing any formal professional development, so I really want to engage in Teachers Write. And now my writer’s notebook response:

    “This summer in my notebook, I want to…” record experiences. Early in July, my teenage niece and nephews are visiting Chicago for the first time, so my son and I are going to “show them the city”. We’ll be visiting Navy Pier, the Shedd Aquarium, Geno’s East for Chicago-style pizza, etc. My notebook will be a record of their visit and reactions to Chicago. It’s a city I fell in love with almost 30 years ago and I’m anxious to observe their reactions to Chicago. Nexxt, after flying my niece and nephews back to their home in Boston, I fly on to Pittsburgh and begin a 2-week road trip with my sister and her children – 17-year old triplets. We’ll be winding our way from Pittsburgh through the mountains of West Virginia to Annapolis (a visit to the Naval Academy), Laurel, DE to visit my daughter, then to Chincoteague, VA for two nights to see the wild horses and wildlife sanctuary on the pristine, undeveloped coastline of Assateague Island. Then we travel back home to Pennsylvania to visit historical sites in Philadelphia, Valley Forge (because I have to record footage to show my students when we read Jerry Spinelli’s Maniac Magee), and finally Gettysburg. Traveling with teens through the hot and muggy South, viewing nature’s beauty and remnants of history, sharing precious time with my sister – these experiences I’ll record in my writer’s notebook to stimulate my future writing.

    1. I so love the idea of using a notebook to look at your home through someone else’s eyes. What a wonderful way to re-explore your city! Glad you’re joining us again, Deb!

  40. My name is Dawn Fulton. I live along the coast in Southern California with my husband, and 3 daughters. I teach third grade in Manhattan Beach, California.
    I plan to fill my summer notebook with musings on the mundane and magnificent.

  41. Hello everyone! My name is Abigail Branon. I am about to enter my final year student teaching. I have three children ages 4,5, and 11. I find a lot of peace writing and I hope to share that joy with them. This summer in my notebook, I want to write about new and old ideas that have been festering in me and got lost in time constraints. Happy summer writing!

    1. Hi, Abigail! When you’re juggling student teaching and kids, a writer’s notebook is actually a great way to keep writing, even if you may not have big chunks of time to devote to longer projects. I’m glad you’re here!

  42. I need a Writer’s Notebook to keep everything that I have saved, pinned, and running around in my head in one spot! I have fleeting moments of ideas and before I know it they are gone…or I can’t remember where I wrote or saved it. Was it on Pinterest, my phone’s notepad, a Facebook page saved, in Evernote or Google Docs? Too many things! A Writer’s Notebook simplifies!

    I also like that it doesn’t have to follow a certain format. I hope to be better about that with my students and let them take ownership. It’s about them and their ideas, not about the format, how neat it is, and if it looks like my example.

    1. It does feel like there are SO many places we make little bookmarks of things to which we’d like to return. I know I forget about many of them, so my writer’s notebook is just what you’re describing – a place to hold the really important things.

  43. This summer in my notebook, I want to make a point to write every day. I usually carry it (or, one of them) with me, but too often it just sits in my bag and doesn’t get used. Even if I only write observations and notes from what’s going on around me when I’m out in public, I want to bring it out at least once a day and write *something* in it!

    1. What a great plan! I sometimes record bits of overheard conversations and am surprised by how often then lead to a character later on.

  44. I’m Crystal and have participated in Teachers Write a few times now. I enjoy having the encouragement to write. My writing journals are typically composition notebooks I buy during back to school sales. They’re filled with lists of ideas, quotations from books I am reading, drafts for blog posts, and journal entries about pretty much anything. In short, they’re messy collections of thoughts and words. They’re a jumble, but they’re my jumble. 🙂

  45. My goal is similar to one already up there, keep ONE notebook. While I agree it’s fun to find stuff you forgot about, I often find when I’m ready to actually write I can’t find the darn place I wrote that great idea in! Maybe I will venture out today and buy a really sturdy one like the one you have pictured at the top. Maybe something with some cool art work on it, or maybe one of my kids artwork, oh that would nice. Oh I’m so excited for my summer of writing!

  46. My name is Deb Day and I am a high school teacher from Iowa. I promised myself I was going to write more this summer and so far–nothing. So in my notebook this summer I want to play, have fun, and remember to capture moments. In my notebook I WILL try new things, not be perfect, and Write!

  47. Notebooks! I have notebooks. I have WNs for use in class, to document family history, to write fiction, to write my narrative. I have notebooks, but it looks like I will need a brand new one this summer because I need to write about something uncomfortable and deeply personal. This story needs it’s own place to exist. This summer I plan to write my truth about a difficult event that happened many summers ago, but it has only recently come to light. It impacts my entire family and many friends, so it needs a place to exist free of judgement and fear of repercussion. I am terrified, but I will push forward.

    1. Susan, I so admire the way you’re starting the summer with courage. And I love the idea of giving this difficult experience its own notebook – its own space. I’m wishing you a summer of brave exploration.

    2. Susan, Praying for you — hard to write some things! Praying that you stay courageous and don’t lose heart! Persevere, my friend, and let the truth come to the light! I have a feeling you’ll feel much lighter when you’ve done it 🙂 Cheering you on!

  48. Good morning campers. My name is Elisa and I am a grade 5 teacher at an American International School, Academia Cotopaxi, in Quito, Ecuador. Excited and nervous are how I’m feeling this morning, especially after seeing that there are 74 comments already and it isn’t even 9:00 am in my corner of the world! I have to admit that I am also a little intimidated.

    Here’s my response to Kate’s prompt above:

    This summer in my notebook I want to experience what it’s like to be a “real” writer. I want to let go of rules and pre-conceived notions about the writer’s notebook. This summer I want to make my writer’s notebook work for me. Therefore, I want to share my notebook at the beginning of the year my grade 5 students along with the wonderful ones Kate shared above. I want to expose myself as a writer to my students in the same way I liberally share myself as a reader. I am excited and nervous. Did I already say that? Well, it’s worth repeating. I’ve tried doing this before on numerous occasions and I have not been successful. What’s going to be different about this summer’s experience? I don’t know, but I’m determined to find out!


    1. I love this – “I want to expose myself as a writer to my students” – because it sounds so daring, and really, in many ways, it is. When we share our real writing selves with students, there’s a vulnerability that comes with that, and a powerful kind of empathy, too.

      1. Vulnerable is exactly how I feel, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Just another way to take risks and find out what I am capable of. It’s time I walked the talk with my students :-).

    2. What you said- me too! Trying to broaden my identity to include “writer”- super scary!

  49. Hi fellow writers! My name is Joy Olenick. I am a high school Special Education English & Reading teacher. I have participated in Teachers Write to some degree every summer. I have been hesitant to share my work but have commented on posts and encouraged others. Last summer I read Kate Messner’s 59 Reasons to Write. I completed each of the writing prompts and proudly carried around a full composition notebook with me. My goal this summer is to silence my inner critic and not only fill my writer’s notebook but also share my work with others!

    1. Here’s to silencing ALL of our inner critics during the exploration/brainstorming/drafting stages. (We can fetch them out of the basement when it’s time to revise & edit!)

  50. I have used notebooks all my life for writing stories and poems.. Until I began to get serious about my writing I never kept them. I share with my students my love of joining Teacher’s Write each summer. This year I had to leave school three weeks early to have my knees replaced. I was gifted with 3 writing journals from teachers and students to “help me get into writing” with Teachers Write. I started one of them while I was in rehab for PT which has become the basis for a new story. I carry a smaller notebook with me to jot down things that come up while I’m out and about. When I go to my therapy it isn’t feasible for me to carry a notebook so I do what my husband does. I take a pen and an index card and if something comes up, a bit of dialog, etc. I jot it down to jog my memory when I get home. I want to work on not feeling like everything has to be so neat and orderly in my notebooks because I know that writing is not neat and orderly. I have been a part of Teachers Write since it began I every year I learn more. So glad to have the opportunity to be a part of it once again.

  51. This summer in my notebook, I just want to write more.  I have never been much of a journaler, though I did occasionally write in a notebook in middle school (so embarrassing!).  I didn’t really like writing at all until I lived abroad for a year and kept a blog.  It was fun to share my experiences with my family and friends back home, and I found myself crafting blog entries in my head whenever something funny or shocking happened.

    I love teaching writing, and I want to get more comfortable with writing on my own.  I keep a professional journal where I write about things going on in the classroom and ideas I have for upcoming units.  I have been doing this for two years, and it is really helpful for me as a teacher.  But that’s work.  I want to enjoy writing just for me.  That’s my goal for this summer.

    1. I wonder if it was the newness of living abroad that made writing feel important to you then, Andrea. I love the idea of trying to look at every day that way – looking for what delights or surprises us at home, too. 🙂

    2. Agreed, Andrea. I hate all the angst and drama of my middle/high school writings — geez. but they were part of our journey, too 😉 Good luck with your writing this summer!

  52. This summer in my notebook, I want to BE BRAVE! I believe there is a writer in everyone, because we all have a story to tell. I have been feeling this overwhelming feeling that I am a fraud. I am a reader and I love reading. The passion is obvious to all I meet. My passion for writing has been bubbling up for years, waiting to spill over the sides. The problem is I never practice. I don’t intentionally carve out time for what I preach in my classroom. I say “yes, writing is hard, but the hard work is worth it! It pays off with lots of practice.” I want my kids to practice but I don’t. Not anymore, at least. So, here’s to a summer of practicing what I preach. To falling back in love with writing and telling my own story. To growing as a writer, so I get some of this out AND become better.

    1. That feeling of being a fraud is a familiar one to every writer I know, Stacey – including those of us with multiple books on the shelves. Have you read Elizabeth Gilbert’s book BIG MAGIC? I think it’s brilliant and hopeful and I highly recommend it as a way to get past that imposter feeling, to give yourself permission to create.

    2. Stacey, often when I read what you write I think “me too” and that is for sure true with what you have written here Here’s to being brave! Will you be at NerdCamp next week? I will again.

  53. I’m Brian. I teach middle-school students English in Colorado. I’d label myself notebook agnostic: I lean digital for its flexibility and share-ability, and paper for its familiar comfort. (Plus, my current old-school writing home has a squirrel on one cover with the words ‘Aww nuts’ and a hedgehog on the flip-side with the words, ‘Roll with it’ — sentiments that nicely encapsulate me writing.) This summer in my notebook, I want to… stick with a work in progress longer than my typical one-off dabbling. I expect I’ll still dabble plenty because that’s its own fun.

    p.s. I’ve gotten in the habit of sharing in my first Teachers Write post each summer a tip that changed my life years ago… In the lower right corner of the comment box, there are tiny diagonal lines you can drag to enlarge the space.

    1. Thanks for that tip, Brian! And thanks for sharing your flexibility with how you write. As a mostly-paper-for-brainstorming person, I sometimes forget that there are great digital writer’s notebook tools out there, too, and I appreciate that perspective.

  54. Last year was my first year back in a classroom after many years in the administration building. It was also my first year without accountability and meetings dominating my life. It was more fun than any one person should expect to have. My students were not used to a writing workshop model, so I encouraged the notebook. Most preferred to start a piece and finish that piece without a notebook. I will take a different path in the upcoming year.

    I plan to reignite my writing life this summer through the notebook.

    First Thoughts: I have forgotten how scary the blank page can be–an entire notebook of blankness feels quite scary. This feeling helps me to realize what my students might feel.

    List of topics:
    camping–and the frustrations of it
    picture book for Bailey–adventures she has even though she cannot walk

    1. What great starter ideas! I think you’ll find a lot of inspiration in the upcoming posts from our guest authors, too. Glad you’re writing with us again!

  55. Hi! My name is Micki Uppena. I am a library media specialist in Wisconsin. There is no balance in my literary life. I read Like there is no tomorrow. If truth be told, my writing notebook is empty. I carry two notebooks with me at all times. My professional musings and ideas come out quickly and fill notebook after notebook. The notebook reserved for writing is empty out of fear. Perhaps I am meant to share my educational world first in order to build confidence so that I can share the stories deep in my heart. I’m looking for courage through this platform to begin.

    1. Fear and writing so often go hand in hand, and that goes for those of us who write for publication, too. Have you read ART AND FEAR or BIG MAGIC yet? Both have a lot to say about this…

  56. I have a few writers notebooks and one frustration has always been finding that idea or quote I know I wrote down somewhere. Therefore, to kick off #teacherswrite I am going to put a table of contents in my two main ones. I think this will also help me process some of my writing, remember what I have there and look for some pieces to focus on over the next few weeks.

    1. I’m excited to see what you’ll find! I always unearth some interesting ideas when I look back (though sometimes, I have no idea what I meant when I wrote them!)

    2. Ack- what a good idea. I have so many notebooks on the go this summer (and hope that by trying to have different purposes for each I will be able to find ideas when I am looking, but your idea sounds better!).

  57. I have never been a consistent notebook user, and my goal this summer is to change that, starting now! I write in notebooks and in my blog, but not consistently or in any sort of routine. I want to create that routine this summer. One of my goals for the upcoming school year is to have my 9th graders use their notebooks on a regular basis, so I need to set a stellar example for them. I’ve always been a great reading model, so time to become a great writing model too!

  58. I’m going into my third year teaching 7th grade ELA. Before teaching, before college, back in middle and high school writing was my passion. I fell in love with a story idea in 7th grade, and by junior year I had re-worked it into a complete novel that I was proud of. I spent junior and senior year learning everything I could about the publishing industry and attempting to get it published. It has always been my dream to become a published author, and I was convinced I was going to do it while I was still in high school…of course that did not happen.

    In these past 6 years I have had one-night stands with writing, but nothing like the committed relationship I had while I was a teenager. I miss that, a lot. But I have been pretty afraid to get back into it. I know and I tell my students that first drafts are for mistakes, but for some reason I hold myself to a higher standard. So, I have been afraid.

    This summer I don’t want to be afraid. I want to get back into writing regularly, to feel that old excitement I had with a story. I want to make writing a priority again.

    1. You know, writing a novel is really just a series of one-night stands. Over and over… 🙂 I hope you’ll find yourself moving forward – it sounds like you’re off to a brave start!

  59. Hi, I’m a librarian at a 5th/6th grade school. I love reading middle grade books and have a large pile I brought home this summer to read. This is my first year for this writing camp. I like reading everyone’s responses but it has already taken up almost an hour of my time. So I think I will have to limit my participation to reading the blog post and doing the activities.
    Over the years I have purchased a few notebooks. I am drawn to the different papers and beautiful colors. But after I write one or two things they end up in a drawer. This summer I want to challenge myself to write. I give myself permission to even write nonsense if so inspired. Let’s see what happens.

    1. That’s totally fine, Sharyl – and just so you know, the first days are always the busiest as far as responses. Feel free to dip in whenever you can; we offer a lot, so there’s room to pick and choose what works best for you.

  60. Hi. I am a literacy specialist and joining in Teachers Write for the first time. I always say I am going to do more writing so I hope this helps me actually do it. This is what I wrote today:
    This summer in my notebook, I want to collect thoughts and ideas. I want my thoughts and ideas to percolate on the page and in my mind. I will write so I can think and then I will write some more. I will give myself permission to write freely. Thoughts and ideas may develop and grow. Others won’t. My words may feel strong so I’ll revise them. Others won’t, so I’ll just leave them for another time or another day or maybe I’ll never return to them again. I may share some of the words I write, but others will just remain for me, in between the covers of my notebook. Some of my words will make sense, others won’t. I’ll keep writing or I’ll scribble out the words on my page again and again. I will write in my notebook this summer, thoughts and ideas that go somewhere or nowhere at all.

  61. Hi all! I work with middle school English learners in Minnesota. This summer I want to fill my notebooks (one big, pretty and spiral bound and the other small and in-my-purse-at-all-times) with words, then play with those words until they morph into poetry, flash fiction, creative non-fiction. Writing is how I fill my well. I do this for me more than for any kind of professional development. That said, I can’t help but think that in the fall my students will benefit from having a more centered teacher with a writing notebook full of new ideas. This is my 2nd active summer with TW. I’m grateful for the TW community and excited to get started!

    1. I think I have 5 writing notebooks going this summer- trying to keep them for different purposes, but it is getting ridiculous! I agree, your students will benefit, even if that is not your primary purpose.

  62. Hi everyone!

    My name is Jennifer and I am a K-5 reading specialist in Virginia. I first participated in Teacher\’s
    Write two years ago and that experience empowered me as a writer because I realized that I had
    a voice as a writer. Last year, I wasn\’t able to participate as much as I wanted, and even though I\’m
    in the final stages of writing my dissertation this summer, there\’s so much that I want to accomplish
    as a writer and I need Teacher\’s Write to help me with that. I\’m so excited to be a part of this

    With regards to my writer\’s notebook, this summer I want to be more purposeful. I also want to focus
    on following through with the ideas that are born in my writer\’s notebook. Too often, I lose focus
    or lose faith in an idea. I need to use the writer’s notebook to stick with an idea and not give up on
    that idea without giving it an honest chance to grow into something meaningful.

    1. These sound like great plans – and you may even find some inspiration for your dissertation here, too. I know you’re not alone on that front.

  63. I do a writer’s circle with my fifth graders. I find it very powerful to sit quietly with my students and write in my own writers notebook while they write in theirs and then share. Very powerful indeed.

  64. Happy First Day of TeachersWrite! I love reading these posts–and Kate, your responses are wonderful. Not on faculty this year but plan to pop in–and follow the lessons in between my weeks at Fine Arts Camp.
    YES to jumbles,
    Silencing inner critics
    and the many ways we create–
    not what writing is supposed to look like;
    YES to being role models–
    not just our notebooks
    but for taking the LEAP

    1. You are always inspirational, Erin! Glad you will be around this summer. I just read Big Magic and am on the lookout for it everywhere:)

  65. This summer in my notebook, I want to find freedom. I want my notebook to be a playground of words and ideas. I want to find all the pieces of me that have gone missing in the business of care taking and teaching. I want to find my voice and rediscover my imagination.

    A few lines of introduction: I am a high school humanities teacher in Maine. I love to read and keep meaning to get more intentional and disciplined in my writing.

    1. So good to see you here, Natalee. I was struck by this line in your post: “I want to find all the pieces of me that have gone missing in the business of care taking and teaching.” This happens so often with caregivers of all kinds – moms and dads and teachers – and I think writing is a wonderful way to go searching. So glad you’re here!

  66. This summer I want my notebook to be more consistent! Last week at TC I wrote quite a lot (and revised more than I can ever remember doing). Then, this weekend I was quite busy at a family memorial service catching up with extended family I have not seen in years, so I wrote nothing. Today I am grateful for the start of Teachers Write for a reboot. It is hard to believe that three weeks of my break are already gone!
    I am going to spend time this summer writing mentor texts to use in my third grade class. I also want to spend time creating tools for my students (and will be doing lots of professional reading to help me do this). I will also spend time writing for me.
    At the Teachers College Writing Celebration I was amazed at the high quality of the writing shared by the five brave writers. I want to grow as a writer and I know to do this I need to spend more time writing (and reading).
    I teach third grade at an international school in Kuala Lumpur and look forward to sharing some of my writing with my new students in August. I have participated in Teachers Write every summer, although this summer my goal, as I said, is to be consistent.
    Looking forward to reading and writing and learning with you!

  67. This summer in my notebook I hope to get some genuine ideas down and out on paper. I want to go through thia process to make myself a better writer, so that I can teach my students to be the best writers they can be. I want to be a true model for them. I hope to get frustrated, struggle, and then succeed. Most of all I want to soak up everything I can from some of my literary idols. I’m in such awe and disbelief that I am a part of this. My name is Rachel McRoberts and I am a 4th grade ELA and Social Studies teacher from SC.

    1. I love your thoughts on writing, Rachel – the struggling and frustration are actually an important part of mentoring students, too. We have more empathy for our struggling writers when we’re struggling sometimes, too.

  68. My writer’s notebook is more of a writer’s folder because I like to be able to move pages/ideas easily. It’s more accessible for me because then I can pull out certain thoughts and arrange them in a particular order. This summer I want to be more intentional about filling it with anything that comes to mind.

    Before having kids, I was a Title I reading teacher, but I’m taking some time off from teaching to raise my young daughters. I have a passion for children’s lit, and I’ve been writing ever since I can remember. Most recently, my focus has been on poetry.

    1. I’m loving the variety of notebooks people are describing today – and the idea of a folder is great. My big notebook has a little pocket in the back and I’m forever shoving little scraps of ideas in there.

  69. Hi! I am a 2nd grade-moving to 4th grade teacher in rural Minnesota. I have been an avid journal writer until my children came along and swept me into new currents. I would like to return to writing the swirling thoughts down in my notebook, which is personal and MESSY. I like to record life events, aha moments, quotes, doodles, and random happenings I observe that strike my fancy. I want to nurture and model for my students this year!

  70. Hi All, I am a K-5 public librarian who has a passion for reading and writing and connecting students to great books.

    ideas are like dreams…
    seem so vivid when born…
    fleeting and hard to sustain…
    just want to nail them down…
    Ah, the writer’s notebook!

    Silly, but I haven’t really kept a writer’s notebook. I always have a book with me where ever I go. Now, I have added a small notebook that is easy to carry in my handbag. I plan to capture my writing ideas in my writer’s notebook instead of letting the slip away.

  71. I hope to establish a routine this summer that will keep me on track for writing when school starts.

  72. My goal right now is to find the kind of notebook my sons gifted me the last couple years. It is small and hardback, with band that keeps the pages closed. At the time, I balked because they had bought me “something pretty.” Over the years, I usually used composition notebooks, specifically as a way of breaking down the “preciousness” of a notebook — nothing had to be perfect or pretty. But I’ve gotten where I do most of my drafting and even notebooking with a laptop (which is almost always at hand), so the notebook floats there in my purse or briefcase to collect ideas when I’m on the run (restaurant, car, in a meeting, waiting in a lobby). The small hardcover is hardy, and that elastic keeps it closed and not beat up. Unfortunately, I am only finding Moleskins – their lines are too close for me.

    My last notebook was full of bits of scene and dialogue. While I was at the beach last summer, I started a series of lists, just a random exercise, listing all the species of plants and animals in the regions where I write. I had been focusing on adding layers of setting beneath a story I was working on. I also had created these “studio” documents in Word where I had been collecting things like that: bits of description of setting, character, gesture, names, etc., at a point when I was particularly focused on word choice. My favorite pages in the notebook were on a day I was rethinking the stakes and storyline of my novel draft. At a point, I left words and sketched ideas, which again freed the words.

    Thanks for this activity today! This will be at least my 3rd TeachersWrite — I love this time to connect with and support each other each summer. Thanks for all you, Gae, Jo and the guests do to make this happen!

    1. Isn’t it funny how much the right notebook matters? I’ve had good luck with the kind you’re describing at stationery stores, and sometimes independent bookstores, too. So happy to see you back!

  73. My name is Jennifer and I am a teacher librarian from Oklahoma. This summer in my notebook, I want to start ideas and feel this is possible. When I was a child, I wanted to be an author, but I was not encouraged and gradually fell out of the idea. I had a volunteer this year who told me I should write a book. I immediately discounted the idea and told her that I could never do that. But this year, I have accomplished things I never thought I could. Then TeachersWrite! came up and that thought entered my head (and my heart) again. For the first time in many years, I thought it was possible. I want to use my notebook to see if the ideas are there to make this happen.

  74. This summer in my notebook I want to…write without judgment and with abandon. I sometimes get hung up on organization or writing the “right” way, and even fear putting my thoughts into words because they may not come out “right”. Cerebrally, I know that everyone’s notebooks and writing are as unique as snowflakes, and whether my written thoughts are only for me or intended for an audience, it’s about capturing ideas, words, thoughts, epiphanies. I think I worry about compartmentalizing my writing that it hinders a flow. I have one beautiful notebook my husband ordered from Italy. That one is strictly for poetry I write. I have a Writer’s Notebook I use during school to create mentor texts and to write beside my students. I have a travel journal that I log every breath we take on our adventures. (You want to know what I had for breakfast on June 27, 2012 on my trip to France? I can look that up for you.) I need that catch-all, any purpose notebook. I’m going to buy a brand new, snazzy looking journal to kick off TW! as a fresh start to celebrate letting go, being messy, and writing whatever I want. Because I can. And I will.

    1. I so love hearing about everyone’s notebooks – sometimes, when I have a special notebook, I’m a little hesitant to mess it up, but I usually get over that pretty quickly once ideas show up. So glad you’re writing with us again, Aliza!

  75. Hello!
    I teach 9th grade English but wasn’t able to finish the year because I keep having these migraines that look like strokes. I spent 11 days in May as an inpatient at a fabulous Head Pain ward, but didn’t handle the transition home without the IV meds and such so well, so I didn’t get to go back to finish the year. I still have visual tracking issues so I get really nauseated when I read or write too much (I never thought there was such a thing!) As we’re working to get my medical stuff handled, the writer/reader/teacher in me is crying to get out and fighting against these limitations. I went to “my blog” and realized my last post was my first and only response to Teachers Write 2015 so I can’t attribute my lack of personal writing completely to my medical issues since they didn’t really start until November of 2015. Thank you for being here prompting me yet again.

    My writer’s notebook has been reduced to a list of things to do or people to contact or forms to fill out or…. not very writerly, so I will endeavor to actually write with you fabulous teachers this year, at my new and much slower pace. Thank you for sharing your notebooks and WIP with us.

  76. I am ashamed to say that it has been years since I’ve had my own writer’s notebook. Most of all, I want to get back on track with the notebook this summer. I want to make sure it is with me. Just like I would never leave home without my phone, need to do the same with my writer’s notebook. So many ideas are lost in the universe because I don’t record them. I look forward to creating a new habit over the next 6 weeks!

    1. I like the idea of treating your notebook like your phone – maybe even keeping the notebook near the phone charger when you’re at home. So glad you’re joining us this summer!

  77. I have been pondering doing this for two months and now finally the morning of, I am in! I’m a Gr. 1-2 teacher in a Title1, mostly ELL school and have been so frustrated teaching writing the 13 years I’ve been a teacher. Before teaching I was a newspaper reporter for 25 years, so writing was my life, my career – I keep thinking I ought to be better at teaching it to small people! I want to keep a notebook and hang out here this summer just to get myself enthused again about writing and teaching it to my kids. My notebook won’t be kernels of the next Great American novel because I’ve never been able to do fiction; instead, I will use it to keep ideas about teaching, revelations, encouragements, observations, things to remember, maybe even a few zen doodles when I can’t find the words. I am excited about finally doing this!

    1. We have nonfiction lessons & prompts, too, Diane, so I think you’ll feel right at home. I’m a former journalist, too, and find that there are always connections.

  78. Hi. My names is Martha Willey. I am a writer and library aide at a public school. I have tired notebooks before and don’t seem to stick with them, but after seeing how you did yours, I’m going to try again. I’m thinking too about introducing this idea in my library. Maybe hang up a big sheet of paper on the wall and as ideas come to the students we can write them down. Maybe it would be about a topic they would like to learn about or a story they would like to read. It will also help, I think, getting them over the fear of a blank paper. Thanks for sharing your notebooks.

    1. Oohhhh…I am in LOVE with the idea of a communal writer’s notebook on the library wall. If you try that, please be sure to report back and let us know how it goes, okay? What a fun idea!

    2. Martha that’s a fabulous idea! I’ll be teaching PBL in our K-5 library for the first time, and the shared chart could inspire project ideas and also journal entries or stories. The fact that the ideas would come primarily from the students makes it much more appealing and effective than it would coming from me. Thanks so much for sharing!

  79. Shopping List:

    elegant, easy to hold journal (perhaps leather-bound with deckle-edge pages)
    fine-tip felt pen (somehow makes my messy writing look artistic and important on the wide-open white spaces)
    fetching satchel (to carry said journal and pen everywhere I go)

    To Do List:

    gain confidence to carry the satchel
    search for inspiration to open the journal
    form habit of holding the pen in my hand

    Like many others in this class, I try to see myself as a writer along with my students. Yet, I still struggle with finding the right nuggets to write about and the confidence that my nuggets are worthy of an audience. Perhaps for my summer journal, I will be my own audience and allow myself to write for me: for therapy, for wisdom, for relaxation, for pride.

  80. Last summer I purchased 59 Reasons to Write, Ranger in Time books and whatever else was recommended that we do as members of teachers write. I purchased them all and I didn\’t write. I did read. This year I\’m going to write. I\’ve said that for the last two summers at least, but I feel hopeful that this is really the time for me to start.

    I work with grade 4-6 students who have learning disabilities–generally in reading, writing, and math. A summer of writing practice will help me to be a better teacher. And unleash the \’hidden writer\’ in me that has been slowly inching out over time. Thank you for this opportunity!

    1. Sometimes it takes a little while to get started. But you’ve been dipping your toe in the water, and I feel like this summer is your summer to jump in.

  81. Hello! My name is Lilla and I’m a 6th and 7th grade teacher in Charlotte, NC. I adore reading, and call myself a reader, and define myself as a reader, but as a teacher, I am also trying to define myself as a writer too. (I mean I write everyday, but don’t set aside nearly the amount of time to write as I do to read.) This summer in my notebook I want to dabble, be messy, and work through ideas. I want what’s in my head to be on my pages and I want to explore what good practices are for writers. I want to play with words, explore, and never erase!

    1. Hi, Lilla — I’m a Carolina Girl, too — from Columbus County 🙂 Happy to be here with you! Good luck this summer with your playing and dabbling!

  82. Hi I’m Eileen! My first time at Teachers Write (although I am a Children’s Librarian). I have a ton of notebooks and am one of the few people I know who uses a Filofax still instead of my cell phone! When I’m done with a writer’s notebook, I’ve started the habit of going back and putting sticky tabs in so I can find those awesome nuggets of wisdom and ideas from conferences, etc. Thanks for this great camp!

    1. Reading about your sticky tabs makes me want to try that – I have a table of contents in my main notebook but don’t keep track of things as well in my smaller notebooks and end up doing a lot of flipping through. Thanks!

  83. This summer in my notebook I want to be more creative and adventurous. I’ve kept a journal for years, but lately I sometimes don’t know what to write about…..it contains a lot of “to do” lists. I’ve never really included my creative musings, thinking they belong in a separate notebook which I say I’m going to make but never do. But this summer I’m giving myself permission to keep a messy notebook that includes everything – writing ideas, creative thoughts, to do lists, and anything else that comes to mind. My goal is to figure out what I want to write – I have lots of ideas but don’t write them down because I’m “not a writer.” I’m so happy I found this course so I can encourage the writer hiding inside of me.

    1. Glad you’re writing with us this summer, Sue – I think you’ll get lots of ideas for your notebook from the mini-lessons and quick-writes.

  84. This summer in my notebook, I want to write. I have too many notebooks getting musty that have only a few pages written on. I want to write noticings of things around me and fun memory stories from the people around me (old pet racoons and how bullies were dealt with, oh, my!). I want to write down my 6 year old’s logic and comebacks. They amaze me every time, seriously: You better leave me alone or you’re gonna need ALL your mama’s bandaids (he was 3 when he said that to his older cousin), I’m as hungry as a snowman, because snowmans can’t eat (duh, Mom). And just today: You’ve got to go to school and do well so you can go camping all by yourself someday … because you need to work to make money to be able to buy all the things you need to go camping (true).

    I just need to write these things somewhere so I NEVER forget, and bonus, maybe I can use them someday.

    1. This warning – “You better leave me alone or you’re gonna need ALL your mama’s bandaids” – needs to be saved and used in a story because that kid wants to be a character. 🙂

      1. Oh, yes. He is a character, and I definitely need to write he one liners, because I’m just not that quick.

    2. By the way, I am Laurel. I’m a middle school/high school ELA teacher in Michigan. Last year I has 8th, 10th, and 12th graders plus SAT prep and a creative writing class. I have a WIP that I’ve been working on for too long and yet not long enough. I hope to get more of it done this summer. I loved using 59 Reasons to Write in my creative writing class for my kids and for me.

  85. Hello, I am Leanna Morton and I am a first grade teacher in Wyoming. I have a strong ability to support young writers in developing their ideas, walking through the writing process and being proud of their work. Me personally, I enjoy to write poems and short stories. I love to have a writing prompt and spend the day writing to that prompt. However, now I have a story idea which has been floating in my head for the last couple of years and I am having the hardest time moving that idea out of my head. This summer in my journal I want to take the ideas in my head and give them life. Right now I dream of my character, the setting and plot. My goal is to write down those movies in my mind. I appreciated the pictures of the journals. My fear is the messiness of this book idea in my head being messy on paper and me not being able to bring this idea out of its infancy. It is the perfectionist in me! Observing the journals helped me see the beautiful process in the messiness of writing; the ability to move ideas on paper. Having the realization that just because an idea is now on paper, it is not set in stone. I want to give myself permission to accept the fluidness of writing a piece of work which cannot be done in one day.

    1. I start almost all of my books in a notebook before I begin writing on my computer. Sometimes, I think it feels less threatening that way – like you’re not making a big serious commitment but just exploring to see where things go, and I feel like that freedom is good for stories.

      1. I can’t remember where I read it (but I’ll look later today), but one author I was reading about starts every day by typing yesterday’s entries into his work in progress. That way, everyday begins with a running start and a reorientation to the work. I tend to write in episodes that don’t necessarily go in order and am still trying to figure out what works best for me. Sometimes, I’ll print out my drafts with wide margins and tape them onto the left side of my notebook, reserving the right side for revisions and new ideas. As a matter of fact, maybe that’s what I’ll do today with my notebook!

  86. The idea of play is what grabbed me. I have a notebook which has been dormant for too long. Time to wake it up! I know I will find and add to the treasures it holds. Having aged, they will be even more valuable (like wine)! Hooray for one thing in our lives in which messiness is acceptable. I also insert/glue words I like and cut out, or quotes I love. I also sketch, although I am not in any way that sort of artist. Especially in the summer, my childhood floats before me and I long for it. Being a child of the 50’s and 60’s that means simplicity, imagination, and creativity. I didn’t grow up with technology or “stuff.” Those blissful and long summer days were filled with reading (at least weekly trips to the library where I used a card catalog or just searched), carrying home more books than I could ever read before the next trip; lemonade stands, neighborhood backyard fairs, jacks and hopscotch, building things out of junk, catching lightening bugs (that’s what we called them in Indiana anyway), picnics with sandwiches wrapped in wax paper…oh man, going to get my notebook now! Off I go and thank you for the inspiration.

    1. I forgot to introduce myself. I am a first grade teacher with a Masters in the area of literacy. I live and work in Indiana. As a new teacher I had no idea how to go about teaching writing. Once I sought out the writing workshop approach, and received loads of professional development, and put things into practice, it became, as I knew it would, my favorite thing to teach.

  87. My summer writing notebook is a place I’d like to launch my creativity. When my kids were young I used to write poetry for them. Silly stuff that would make them laugh. I did this while pushing them in our double running stroller. I wrote about motorcycles, exploding toothpaste, anything that was happening at that particular time. I’d like to get back to that creative place in my life.

    1. I’m excited to see The Return of the Running Stroller Rhymes (or whatever else you decide to work on this summer – glad you’re here!)

  88. Hello, Fellow Campers! I am a first time TW camper and I’m anticipating a great summer of writing. I’m sending a shout out to my writing buddy Dalila for inviting me join in.

    This summer in my notebook I hope to capture all of the writing I usually do in my head. I often find myself thinking what I ‘would write’ if I had paper and pencil – descriptions of what I’m seeing and feeling. I have a big summer bag that will easily fit my notebook and pens so I have no excuse for holding back.
    I love knowing that having numerous notebooks scattered around the house and that writing in them in a jumbly-doodly-not-always-neat way is not my style alone. Here’s to organized chaos!

    Finally, this summer I’m hoping to capture the new perspective from which I’m viewing my life. I’m a brand new retiree from elementary education (day #5) and I’m finding my way in this world of writing without the focus of how it will inform and enrich my teaching.

    1. It’s funny how often we write in our heads, isn’t it? I find myself composing lines when I’m driving or hiking or any number of notebook-unfriendly places and just hoping that the thought doesn’t fade before I can pick up a pen. So glad you’re writing with us this summer!

  89. I am currently keeping a reading notebook, a quick write notebook, and a research notebook. But I’m working on historical fiction in Scrivener. I love having categories for my notebooks and relishing them in a stack like the stack of books I am currently working on. It’s inspiring!

    1. Historical fiction geeks unite! (Also…isn’t Scrivener great for keeping track of research, too? I love that program so much.)

  90. Hey everyone! I’m a K-12 school librarian in the Missouri Ozarks. I see my K-6 kids once a week in a 50 minute session. I do have 2 small groups, one of 5th and one of 6th that I see each day for literacy intervention. Those two groups are the ones that I can really dig in with for reading and writing instruction. Our goal with these two groups is to support their Communication Arts teacher with additional instruction. Having been a 4th grade teacher and HS Comm Arts teacher before I became a librarian, wiring instruction is just something that I can’t get away from. And, I don’t want to get away from it. And, I feel it’s really important to write with students. I’m so glad that I still get to do this, even it is in a reduced time frame. My writer’s notebooks usually end up being a lot of lists, doodles and some paragraphs. I’ll switch to a google doc when I’m ready to roll. I compose short stories. I usually base characters on people I have known. I would like to try to do something futuristic. That’s my goal this summer! Best wishes!

  91. My name is Katrina Briggins-Stanfill. I am a 7th grade Language Arts teacher and I love it.This summer in my notebook, I want to recognize the things I have missing as I have buried my head in daily living…teaching…coaching…learning…cojoling…counseling..understanding…and this is just at home. I approaching the half-century age and I want to make sure I don’t miss as much of my latter as I have of my former.

    1. I love this idea of writing as a way to be present. We do get so overwhelmed sometimes that we forget to notice things, and I love the way writing slows me down in that way.

  92. Hello Teachers Write participants! My name is Jennifer Howe. I\’m a reading, ELA 9, and German teacher in Lake Orion, Michigan. This is my third summer participating in Teachers Write. This year I\’m a faithful reader of all the posts each year and my goal each year is to write a bit more than last year! I usually start of pretty strong and then summer adventures with my two kids take over! I was pretty successful at keeping a notebook and writing with my ELA kids this year. In the past, I\’ve tried blogging my Teachers Write entries, but I\’m trying out a notebook I can take everywhere.

    1. I love that you said you blog your entries. I do much better with online notebooks. I use evernote. I wondered how many people do their thing online?

  93. I am a dyslexia/reading teacher in Levelland, Texas. I took a workshop this spring based off of Messner’s “59 Reasons to Write” and I was hooked like a fish. I am reading and working through the excercises and am happy to be writing again. By the end of the summer, I want to flesh out a few stories I’ve got rolling around my head, constantly tugging my brain for attention. I also want to publish a blog, because I do love to write and share with people. My notebook is filled with scribbles, ideas, doodles, zentangles based off of what I read–a passage, a quote, a poem, a headline–anything, really. Sometimes I cut things out and glue them in, and sometimes I add stickers. There is either a rainbow of color, or just a hint. Never an in-between. I am so excited to be a part of Teachers Write!

  94. Hi all! I’m Kate Kluegel. I teach 5th grade in a small town in Minnesota. This is my first year participating in Teachers Write and to say that I’m excited doesn’t even begin to cover it!

    Today kicks off something that I’ve been looking forward to, only now that it is here I have to admit that I’m feeling slightly intimidated and nervous about “keeping up” . . . despite Kate Messner’s post about Writer’s Notebooks having no rules and the general “You’ve totally got this” implications. The fact that I got to sneak a peek into so many incredible authors’ own notebooks is a treat in itself, one that reminds me that we all start somewhere, but one that also reminds me that my journey barely has a path laid down before it. The truth is, I have wanted to write a story longer than a chapter for all of my memory. As a young girl, I kept writer’s notebooks before I knew they were called Writer’s Notebooks. I jotted, sketched, wrote, and dreamed . . . and I wish I could get my hands on even one of them right now. I’m almost afraid to ask my mom if she knows where they ended up.

    So this begins what I hope to be a commitment bigger than a pipe dream, bigger than my childhood hopes, and bigger than my busy life can possibly contain. I want more, but that can be scary in itself. So as I begin today, I am keeping in mind the passion and drive for “what if,” “yet,” and “big dreams” that I spend all school year attempting to instill in my students and every day hoping to give to my own boys.

    When I shared a free write with my students this year and a girl {who has dreams bigger than our little town will ever hold) happily tilted her head the way she does, smiled larger than life, and declared, “Mrs. Kluegel! You should WRITE and keep sharing. It can be YOUR Genius Hour,” I knew. I knew I needed to let her inspire me and channel that little girl who so long ago kept pages and pages and notebook after notebook of ideas, characters, and adventures.

    This summer in my notebook, I want to write daily. I want to commit to putting my thoughts on a page whether they seem coherent at the time or not. I want to develop characters who feel like friends and who might push me to do more. I want to make it something I am proud of, but something I am also never afraid of. I want to write without confines, share without worry, and dream without roadblocks. I want to write.

    1. It’s so interesting to me that we keep writer’s notebooks as kids without even naming them – we collect things by nature and feel confident doing so. It’s strange that what once felt so organic feels intimidating sometimes now (it does for me, too) but I love that we’re all being brave together.

  95. This summer, in my notebook, I hope to make something of at least one of the entries. I often open up old notebooks where for years I have captured ideas, especially for modeling with students, but I seldom turn them into something. Be it a blog, a chapter in my work in progress (WIP) or something else entirely. My notebook tends to be a place where I write to make space for other kinds of writing to emerge. This year, I want the writing that makes space for other ideas to have a place of its own, too. So excited to be part of this TW journey again this year. This year, I also hope to complete the entire summer camp!

  96. This summer, I am going to take my notebook everywhere. I want my ideas/thoughts/feelings/experiences to be handwritten–started relying on the notes app on my phone too much!! I love doodling along with my writing. I am a reading specialist in an elementary school in the Boston area. I love the beach—where I also love to read and write.

  97. I have been on a writing hiatus for a very long time and have recently been trying to start back up again. I’m trying to convince myself that a little bit at a time is okay. I have always used my writing notebook as a personal journal or for rough drafts of poems.

    I want my summer notebook to be more like the examples that you have shown with lists and ideas. I want to give myself permission to use “writing time” for generating ideas even if they aren’t complete sentences. I’ve mostly written poetry, because I find plot intimidating, but I’m going to try to come at it maybe from a different angle – really working out a character or a setting and then see if the plot erupts from some of that work.

    I also want to be better about writing down quotes that I like from books that I’ve read. I might do that as a separate notebook, though.
    Thanks so much for this! I’m hoping to read through more of the comments. Lots of great ideas.

    1. These are such great ideas, Tricia! I always wish I collected more quotes from the books I read & loved. Maybe that will be one of my summer notebook goals, too.

  98. Using a notebook my son and I started last summer. We wrote 5 things for which we were grateful while I was reading Altruism:The Power of Compassion to Change Yourself and the World by Matthieu Ricard. These are fun to reread 🙂
    I’m planning to keep track of fun things I want to remember from this summer so I can share them with my first-graders and list things I’d like to get done.

  99. An invitation for a day at the beach (can’t turn that down!) interrupted my writing plans this morning, so I’m getting a late start. I’ve been so good at filling notebooks, but fail at getting to that finished piece. My goal this summer is to FINISH my WIP and use my notebook to explore the various twists and turns I’ll take to get there. My nam is Michele and I work as a Librarian at an elementary school where I have had the good fortune to be able to share my writing and get instant feedback. My students are the toughest critics and my loudest cheerleaders. I can’t let them down!

    1. Love that you’re already sharing your writing with your students. Do they know you’ve signed up for this camp? They’ll love hearing about it (and hopefully trying out some of the prompts!) in the fall.

  100. This summer I want my writer’s notebook to be a place where I can get my thoughts and ideas out of my head. This is a leap of faith for me to begin this journey. I’m looking forward to learning from everyone and beginning a new project!

  101. Hi, Kate and Summer Writers! I am a retired teacher/librarian who has filled a ton of notebooks for many of the reasons you all have indicated above. I think students’ confusion about a “writer”s” notebook is that they equate it w/a prescribed journal. My notebooks hold beginnings of stories, ideas for stories, quotes, scribbles, pictures, and even a fortune cookie slip. I have started to add dates now so they can act as a writer’s diary fro me, too.

  102. This summer in my notebook I want to write. I want to write as if I was seven years old and everything I did was amazing and wonderful. I want to write about experiences and people and life. Writing was so important to me and I have lost touch with it but feel the need to write again. I hope to have a great notebook to share with my 4th grade students and a writing habit that stays with me.

  103. I like to write, but often to my writing on the computer. Notes are often emails or texts to myself. I just started a traditional notebook this summer, and will useuse tech for drafting and etching ideas. I am new to this in a sense, as I write a lot for others, and am starting to develop my love for writing for myself.

    1. Welcome, Lara! I did focus on paper notebooks in this post, but digital versions are absolutely great, too – whatever works best for you!

  104. Kate and fellow writers. 
    As a school librarian I’ve always been a big reader and until last year not much of a writer. This is my 3rd year in TW and I ‘ve finally developed a habit of writing. I’ve been intensely focused on one project this year. In my summer notebook I hope the experiment, listen and develop new ideas. I also want to improve my descriptive writing. 

    1. That’s great to know, Jennifer – I know that we have at least a couple of guest authors focusing on descriptive writing this summer, so I think you’ll have opportunities. Glad you’re back!

  105. In my writing notebook this summer, I want to finish something! Lots of ideas, but need the follow through.
    I joined you all last summer and started several stories. I want to work on follow through to the end this year. So happy to be joining you again.

  106. This summer I hope to work on story ideas in my notebook. I usually write reflective essays and collect ideas and quotes I. My notebook for that. But I really want to develop more fiction ideas.

  107. This summer in my notebook I want to write ideas for future stories, write my thinking (which is everywhere), and most importantly I want to have a good example of a writing journal so that I can remember all of the feelings my students go through as they write in my class.

  108. I’m a media specialist and ELA teacher for fourth and fifth grade in Gainesville, FL. This is my second year doing Teachers Write, and my goal for this year is to stick with it – not just read the posts and occasionally write along as suggested, but write through them all!

    This summer in my writing notebook (of which I have many), I want to fill every page with ideas. I want to let them run rampant over the margins and not worry about if I’m doing it “right”. I want to give myself permission to play, to serve as a model for my students about what they can do – which is safely explore ideas. I want to meditate on paper and relax my mind by letting loose the bindings.

    1. So glad you’re back, Jennifer! We’re going to have more posts than ever this year because we had so many amazing guest author volunteers, and I think you’ll find lots to write about.

  109. Hi! A quick introduction about Bonnie. I am a wife and a mother to four. I work at a charter school in Salem, Oregon as a physical educator but have always loved reading and writing!
    I have missed opportunities to join Teacher’s Write in the past because I struggle on the daily with following through on projects I start. So this summer, this summer I plan to set this goal and complete it! Which means I must write. And so my writing notebook begins. I plan to explore ideas I have, introduce characters, create vivid images, make thousands of mistakes and have a ton of fun!

    1. Glad you’re joining us, Bonnie – and don’t forget that missing a day doesn’t mean you have to abandon Teachers Write! We’re flexible around here…

  110. I am in a writing group with three colleagues which we began several yers ago based on the idea that people who teach writing should also BE writing. We feel that we are so much better able to help students through the joy and pain of writing when we have experienced it ourselves. Thanks for providing a new means to stretch ourselves as writers this summer!

  111. Hey everyone! My name is Jennie and I am from South Carolina. I teach 6-8th grade reading and will have a creative writing class next year which I am SUPER excited about. I cannot wait to get these kids pumped about writing.

    This summer in my notebook, I want to completely flesh out the idea and begin writing a novel that has (literally) woken me up for the past few months. My phone has notes of all kinds on it because I grab it as soon as I wake up and jot down the idea that has come into my head. I want to stretch myself as far as I can go and be ready to tell my kiddos that if I can do it, they can too!

    Happy writing!!

  112. In my summer notebook, I want to catch and capture butterfly thoughts that land on my brain in surprising ways. Shannon…Always thinking….sometimes in circles.

    1. Wow! “butterfly thoughts . . .” that is so perfect. I can relate to thinking in circles, the problem for me is that I often think in circles like a goldfish and have forgotten my first great thought by the time I come back around ;( – I guess that is why it is handy to have a writer’s notebook nearby!

  113. I’m a teachers write newbie. This summer in my notebook I hope to keep at it! I start notebooks periodically with best intentions but never find the time or commitment to keep at it. With two boys under five and a full-time job teaching high school, I seem to always run out of gas.

    1. Welcome, Lindsey! My kids are older now, but I remember those days well…writing in the naps and margins. Glad you’re joining us!

  114. Hello, everyone. My name is Marilyn Yung and I teach ELA to grades 6-8 in Kirbyville, Mo. This summer I decided not to teach summer school and I’ve been really good about using that extra time to write more, read more, blog more. My two kids are college-aged and that’s huge! I now have the time to “get back” to me!
    Anyway, now for the prompt:
    I don’t have an actual paper writer’s notebook and I’m a big “paper and pencil” person (just ask my students), so I’m a little surprised at myself! However, it does seem to me that the drafts section of my blog is a writer’s notebook of sorts. I put a title on each draft to organize them. Some drafts are short little snippets of stories, some are just a photograph, and some are a just a sentence or phrase that I heard someone say. Also, I use my phone’s Notes app to jot down lines and ideas for writing. So here’s what I’m thinking: what would happen if I took these digital drafts and devoted 2-3 pages to them in a traditional paper writer’s notebook? How would that affect my thinking process? How would that ultimately affect the writing? That’s what I want to do with my writer’s notebook this summer.
    On another note… I would like to get some good ideas this summer about how teachers and students keep their writers’ notebooks fresh as the school year progresses. In the past, when I’ve had students keep writers’ notebooks, it seems they get stale somewhere around early December. The kids use them a lot in August-September, but then the enthusiasm just dwindles gradually. During the second semester, many students seem to just drag them out because I tell them to. Gone is the impetus to draw in them, play in them, or — of all things — write in them! Any ideas???

    1. Interesting ideas! Of course, a digital notebook is also absolutely fine. Whatever works best for you is the right way to go about this. 🙂

    2. I understand what you’re saying about student writers notebooks. I’ve never had students keep a writers notebook so I would be interested to hear from other teachers why they choose to use them, how them use them, etc.

  115. Hi everyone! This is a first for me. I am looking forward to using my writer’s notebook to jot down ideas, quotes and anything else interesting that comes to mind. I am a PreK-8 librarian at two separate schools. Next year our school division’s goal is writing so hoping to get a headstart!

  116. This summer I want to fill my writer’s notebook pages. I’ve purchased a couple of journals because I love the look and feel of them… but they are empty. I mostly write on penzu. But I want to catch more moments.

    This year I became a librarian after 13 years in the classroom. Every year, I do a little bit more on Teachers Write. The first year I followed for the first week and then got distracted. Last year, I finished almost every week! So commitment and follow through are my goals for this summer’s TW.

    1. I’d never heard of Penzu before but just looked it up – I’ll have to check that out. I do love my paper notebooks, but sometimes it helps to have multiple ways to catch ideas. Thanks!

    2. Hey Sheryl–I’m moving into the library after 22 years in the classroom. Technically I’m teaching PBL, but the job description is mine to create, so reading, writing, research, and digital citizenship are all in the mix! Are you on Twitter? I’d love to connect!

  117. Gosh, I want to fill my notebook with so many different things. I always love a good bulleted list. Lists of character descriptions, favorites, or things that might be found in their backpacks. Lists of chapter summaries, or lists of turning points. I mostly want to jot stuff down that will help me figure out my current WIP. And I love picturing my future self sharing pictures of my notebook at a conference or school visit. Dare to dream!

    1. I love the idea of writing down contents of a characters’ backpack. I do that with bedrooms sometimes – describe the room and then list everything that’s displayed on a wall or bulletin board vs. everything that’s hidden under the bed or in the back of a closet. I always learn something about my character under the bed.

  118. Hello!
    I teach AP Lit/Lang and Comp to high school juniors and seniors. Those courses call for quite a bit of focus on analytical and synthesis writing. I am going to try to be use writer’s notebooks with my students this year to help them develop their voices as writers beyond that academic stuff. For me, writing is thinking, hearing my own voice, figuring things out, and sometimes jut staying sane. That’s what I will be using my writer’s notebook for this summer. I keep small notebooks all over. And digital notes in my phone. I’d like to say I have separate notebooks for separate things, but that last for about 1 day.
    Looking forward to a writing summer.

    1. I can never keep my notebooks separate either, Kathy – my ideas are happiest as one big jumble, and I’ve finally made peace with that.

  119. Hi, my name’s Heather (Hi, Heather!) and I am addicted to composition books. There is nothing more inviting than that first page. I love contemplating the possibilities: lists, doodles, found thoughts, slivers of dialogue. In fact, the endless possibilities are also what makes them so…paralyzing. I have a hard enough time with decision making let alone all the decisions that creating a world involves. Aargh!!! That’s what I wrote about today.

  120. This summer in my notebook I want to write about the things that need to be written, that are calling to be let out. I need to make a conscious choice to leave writing a list of books I want to read alone, and instead list the ideas that keep re-surfacing and need to be expressed. It’s time to stretch and squirm as I put my own words and thoughts on paper. It’s so much easier to relax and be entertained, educated, and experience life through the words of others. It scares me to think I may be able to harness that power myself – in fact, it is quite daunting, quite a responsibility. I’m hoping to dig deep and find that courage to begin this journey.

    1. Stretching and squirming…I like that idea. Sometimes, I feel uncomfortable when I’m writing in that stretchy, squirmy place, but I think that discomfort is actually a great sign that we’re stretching and growing as writers. Thanks for this reminder, Kim!

  121. I am a mom of two kids under five and am currently taking a hiatus from teaching preK-K at a Montessori school.
    I’ve always had a diary (though now that I am older than 12, I like to call it a journal). In college, a writing professor shared his writing notebook, a small moleskin he kept in his shirt pocket. He wrote down everything in it, from grocery lists to ideas, to-do lists next to dialogue. At first I thought maybe that’s what I needed to do because I had so many different journals going, but I’ve found I like having my ‘daily grind’ stuff separate from my creative writing. My writer’s notebook is a blank sketchbook. When I write fast my handwriting gets really big and sloppy, so the lack of lines is nice.
    Today, my notebook was filled with quotes from Elizabeth Enright’s “Gone-Away Lake”. She is so descriptive in a simple and easily readable way.
    This summer, I hope to write everyday.

      1. It was one of my favorites growing up and I recently found it and “Return To Gone-Away Lake” at a library sale. Score! Reading it while on vacation at a lake is perfect!

  122. Hi everyone. I’m excited to be a first-time guest blogger here at Teachers Write: my debut non-fiction picture book, FLYING DEEP comes out in 2018. I’m working on my second round of edits now and should have the text finalized by August 1.

    I tend to have a new notebook for each project so I can keep my notes in one place, but I also carry a small notebook (roughly 5×8”) everywhere. I jot down whatever random things I need to remember in there. If necessary, I may transfer something from my general notebook to my project specific notebook, but this is new for me- until this year, everything went into one notebook. Once I began more research-heavy projects, I realized I needed project specific notebooks. (in addition to apps such as Scannable and Evernote.

    I also use a Bullet Journal, thanks to Kate, but I mostly use that to track progress, keep to-do lists, plot out my year-long projects, and record books I’ve read. I don’t really “write” in it.

    Kate: The comment box is super tiny. I’m certain I have typos here because I can only see about 7 words at a time. Is that normal?

  123. Hi! I’m Nicole from California. I am an administrator leading ELA in my school district, so no summer vacay for me–but it’s quieter in July! 🙂

    Here’s what I wrote:
    My writing notebook is full of stops and starts, so this summer in my notebook, I want to write daily. I want to be a collector of thoughts and ideas, and I want to remember to write them down. I also want to make sure to carry my writers notebook with me at all times. Sometimes, an idea will hit me when I’m in the car, at work, or wherever, and it fades away because I don’t capture it. I want to change that and make sure I always have my notebook with me so that I can write when I need to. I would like to eventually HAVE a work in progress, but I know that’s not going to happen out of thin air!

    1. Nicole, I’m so glad you’re writing with us this summer. Are some of your teachers joining us, too? What a great way to lead your ELA folks!

  124. Hi! My name is Tracey and I am a Teachers Write newbie. I teach first grade in the Austin area. I have 3 kids,who are 5, 7 and 10 years old. I love to read and I love to teach writing, but I must confess I don’t love to write. Writing has always seemed a little scary to me.

    This summer I want to write daily and stick with it. I’ve tried keeping a notebook before and I am great at carrying one around, but I don’t actually write in one very often. I am hoping to create a writing habit this summer. I also want to gain confidence as a writer.

    1. I think writing can be scary for everyone, Tracey – even those of us who have published multiple books. Maybe that’s because everything you write opens up a part of yourself, and every piece is different, too, with new challenges.

      1. I know there’s at least one of our teachers in this group. She’s a good friend of mine and one of my writing role models! Thank you for doing this. I love the opportunity!

  125. 6.27.16
    Hello all! My name is Miranda Lambourne, and I teach second grade at Wakefield School. Wakefield is an independent school perched on the top of a bucolic hill in The Plains, Virginia. When we admire the view from our classroom window, we see the Blue Ridge Mountains rising before us like dinosaurs emerging from a mist draped lake*. There really is no more beautiful place to teach in my opinion. This last year, I piloted Writer’s Workshop in my school for the first time, and I became inspired. There is nothing worse than sitting in front of your class with writer’s block because no one ever taught you how to be a writer! However, thanks to Lucy Caulkins and the Teachers’ College, I am growing along with my students, but I am super excited to get a head start for next year with this fabulous opportunity. Thank you SO much Kate, Jo, and Gae! Your selflessness in support of helping teachers become authentic writers is much appreciated. Here goes . . .
    This summer, I want to fill my notebook with inspiration: inspiration that will help me live a writer’s life. I want to model writing for my students using my own experiences (rather than stealing the ideas from Writer’s Workshop) because I took the time to notice the little details. . . because I paused to experience “the space in between” rather than rushing from one seemingly useful and essential task to the next. To grow my notebook, I vow to stop and notice the beauty in the ordinary all around me that I usually take for granted. Then, I will use the inspiration in my notebook to help me write so that my students and readers FEEL – the exhilaration, the mind-numbingness, the frustration and everything in between – the everyday moments that make up a life and the beauty of the ordinary. In fact, I am heading out to my deck, glass of Sancerre and notebook in hand, to be ordinary right now. Want to join me?

    * The dinosaurs quote is an embellishment of something one of my students said last year when exploring similes. It was so perfect that it lodged firmly in the writer’s notebook in my head. With continued encouragement, I am sure this student will become part of the next generation of writers. Thank you Winnie Renz for the inspiration and keep writing!

    1. As someone who also lives near dinosaurs (ours are the Adirondacks), I’m a fan of this comparison. I love that you’re feeling like you need to walk the walk more for your students and so happy TW will be a part of that this summer!

  126. Hi! My name is Gretchen and I teach 6th ELA in N.Y. This is my 3rd summer of Teacher’s Write. I love this post about notebooks because I tend to be a bit addicted to them. I cannot resist a sale at Barnes and Nobles of colorful journals and notebooks. But the perfect one for me has to feel right once I start writing in it. The right pen is also pretty important. I too, like many have already stated, have partially filled journals throughout my world. I think my focus this summer will be to capture the lovely words I hear around me and try to put them to good use in my journal. I’m off to find a notebook and pen!

    1. I have a great appreciation for the importance of the right notebook & pen – we’ll see you back here once you’re all set up & ready to write. Glad you’re joining us, Gretchen!

  127. Hi, my name is Carrie and I am certified as an elementary ELA teacher, who is currently teaching technology and library classes (which turn out to be primarily ELA topics). Next year I get to teach a “Publications” class to 6-8th graders. Since I am new to this, I don’t have a notebook yet, but am itching to get one started!

    1. That Publications class sounds wonderful – I’m guessing kids have opportunities to share their pieces somewhere along the way? So powerful!

  128. Hello fellow Teachers Write members! I’m so happy to be a part of this group. My goal for the summer is the same as many – consistency in writing. I’m thinking setting a time each day to take 15 minutes seems manageable with 2 small children. In terms of my notebook, I have to give a hat tip to Katie Carroll for inspiring me to start again. Grabbed a small notebook at the Dollar Tree (but a cute one!) and carry it with me. Honestly, it took a while to take the leap to actually write in it! But the first entry was some goals for the summer. My nine year old found it and saw that I referenced a story idea he had several years ago and was all smiles that I remembered, so he may be joining me on this journey too! Here’s to a great summer!

    1. Fifteen minutes a day is a great, reasonable goal – especially when you’re juggling kids. You can get whole books written that way if you just stick with it.

  129. This summer, in my notebook, I want to start fresh. I’ve been keeping three separate notebooks for teaching: one for narrative writing, one for opinion/argument, and one for informational writing, and that’s been working really well for me. The problem is that I created them each in a hurry one night, and I’m not happy with how they look or feel.

    When I start my fresh, new notebooks, I think I’ll begin with a new narrative notebook so that I can use it to help me plan out revisions to a book that I’ve been working on. I have about half a draft, and my original plans and outlines are all on the computer. Now that I’m “into” my draft things are starting to change and I need to do some rethinking! I really liked Stacy McAnulty’s storyboarding in one of the notebook examples and now I’m inspired to do some planning by hand instead of all on the computer.

  130. My name is Jaymie and I am an elementary school librarian (K-6). I am a notebook fanatic and always have several different notebooks going for different reasons at different times. I am hoping to be intentional about writing this summer. I have a writing assignment to complete before school starts but I would also like to work on personal projects this summer.

  131. Hi everyone! My name is Kelly. I am a mother of 4 and a teacher librarian in San Antonio, TX. I have loved reading everyone\’s comments and find a connection with so many. This summer in my notebook, I want to…write! I want to find quiet (which is very difficult in this house!), be quiet, observe, reflect, and write. I want to find time, any time, to just get words on paper. I am very reluctant because of my own insecurities and fears and I want to overcome them all. Big Magic is now on my list of \”must reads.\” 🙂 I am so excited to be a part of this amazing community of writers and mentors!
    I, too, LOVE to read but don\’t write. Yet, I long to tap into the writing side of me. So I really hope this next month with you all will help me explore, create, and celebrate with each mini-lesson, assignment, and post, etc. This really is unchartered territory for me and I am thrilled to be starting this adventure! Thank you!!!

    1. You’re approaching this in just the right spirit, Kelly – with that sense of exploration and curiosity and fun. So glad you’re writing with us this summer!

  132. My name is Kim. I’m a 9th grade English teacher in an inner city school in central NY. My love for English stemmed from my passion for creative writing.
    My goal for my notebook is to fill it with notes, ideas, and works in progress. I’m looking forward to being motivated and inspired throughout the summer!

  133. This summer in my notebook I just want to write. For several years now I have bought notebooks but I don’t write in them. I need to write more for me and not just for my job as and English teacher. I hope to carry my notebook around and write throughout the day. I also want to scale back some on my reading because I am a voracious reader and instead spend that time writing.

  134. This summer I hope to use my writer’s notebook in authentic writerly ways so that I can better understand how to help my students to do this. I teach middle school English and have been caught recently in the trap of assigning prompts to get students started, but it rarely progresses beyond that. I want for 2017 to be the year I promote inspired writers!

    1. We’ll have lots of prompts this summer, too, Holly – but we also encourage writers to veer away from those when inspiration strikes. Hope it’s a great experience for you!

  135. Wow! What a busy start! I am happy to join so many other teacher-writers this summer!
    The world is my notebook. That sounds awesome, but it’s not. I have bits and pieces of ideas and writing all over the place. Sticky notes, napkins, receipts, you name it, I’ve got notes, doodles, or writing on it. I’ve gotten better at kepping digital records of these things so they’re not gone forever when the kitchen drawers and counters get cleaned. I’ve also started to use the Rocket Book app to upload images of my work. It’s helping to organize my ideas, but I do enjoy finding an old idea buried in the drawer or in the pocket of last fall’s jacket!

    1. Thanks for sharing about Rocketbook! I love it and think this will be so useful both for writing and in my work.

  136. I want my notebook to be my starting point. I don’t feel very confident about myself as a writer, and I can’t wait to see how much I learn and grow as a writer. I am a K-4 Remedial Reading teacher. I feel confident in my reading life, and I’m able to share that with my students. I’m looking forward to learning more about myself and being able to share that with my kids. I’ve also started blogging as a way to be reflective about my teaching practices. I want to use my notebook to support my reflections.

  137. Hi! I’m Ro and I am a Teacher-Librarian for an elementary school in Texas. I incorporate writing in to many of the lessons and activities we do together in the library during and after school. I am excited to be part of Teachers Write! this year. I’ve kept journals my whole life! I keep writing journals for different stories I’ve written and also I am a quote HOARDER so I have many journals where I have transcribed those beautiful, sometimes painful, thoughts I’ve underlined in the books I read to keep them handy and revisit them. I get ideas, just like you all, at the most random of moments, but I’ve always believed that if it’s a good one, it will come back to me, and because of this I don’t worry about writing them down when they first come to me, and so far I have no regrets!

    This summer in my notebook, I want to write about the word tolerance. I don’t know what shape or form it will take; it might be an essay, it might be a story, it might be a poem, it might even be a list. I have this feeling that the word tolerance is not adequate enough for what we need to truly accept and live peacefully with one another. I want to explore its meaning, root, and history. I am fully prepared to accept that I might be wrong, but until I do the research and reflect on my findings, I won’t be able to feel satisfied that tolerance is the best word to use when talking to my students about world events, our differences, and diversity. This idea has taken root in my heart for some time now, and I hope that through Teachers Write, I might find some peace and confidence that when I explore issues with my students I am giving them the best possible word for the feelings and actions that will hopefully create a more understanding and peaceful world for them and us to enjoy.

  138. Oh the first post of TW! I can’t believe it’s here already….June is practically over! I teach ESL, history, and Language Arts–though this coming year will be just history in a middle school in rural Utah. This is my second year…and like many of you have said in the comments already, I look forward to participating more and doing less lurking.

    The funny thing about this post was that I was in Barnes and Noble last week and bought a new journal just for Teachers Write in mind. Writing has not grabbed me as an adult as it did as a kid. I loved to write stories as a kid, but I think as I wrote more academic writing that was pushed out of me. I started blogging a few years back so that started me writing again but it has languished the last two years. So my writers notebook starts with a clean first page today. I’m not sure what I will write in it. I don’t have any WIP waiting in the wings or anything, but if I just write a little bit even if it is “I don’t know what to write today”–I’m starting a habit and trying. Right? 😉

    1. That’s the first step! It’s always interesting to me how many of us wrote for fun as kids but slowed down or stopped when we grew older and got a sense that there might be a “right” way to do it…and that if we couldn’t write perfectly, then maybe we’d be better off not telling our stories at all. Hoping we all get away from that this summer!

  139. Hi! My name is Ona – I teach 6th grade. I signed up for Teachers Write last summer but got busy and didn’t make it a priority. I’m busy again this summer -but my brain is itching for more writing, and I’m hopeful that I can choose to write more this summer. This summer in my notebook, I hope to get some of my story ideas down on paper… Right now many ideas live in the notes app on my phone, and hidden in my brain files.

  140. I am a notebook addict who has trouble actually *starting* a notebook. I buy notebooks all the time and then I can’t convince myself to write in them! So my goal this summer is to actually break open one of those notebooks and write in it consistently!

    Sarah, a high school teacher in NJ who is very excited for Teachers Write!

    1. Me too! I have tons of pens and notebooks…..just sitting there waiting to be used. We CAN do this!

  141. Greetings! I have high hopes for my notebook this summer. Each school year, my WN has developed a bit further, and I’m excited at the inspiration from TW to continue to develop a WIP this summer. Feels great to be in the company of so many experimenting and learning together!

  142. Hi! I’m Olivia, a middle school Language Arts teacher in Brooks, Alberta. I’m on maternity leave right now and while my notebook got tons of use while I was at work, it hasn’t been updated since November. I do a bit of blogging, mostly letters to my kids, but I’d really like to get back into the habit of daily journal writing.

  143. I want to write down the amazing experiences I’m having this summer, traveling, teaching at summer camps, teaching professional development. It’s do easy to forget it I don’t write it down! I’ve participated in this program before and know what a great opportunity it is, thanks for hostin!

  144. Hi, I’m Tonnye Fletcher, and I’ll be starting year 19 of my teaching career in August. 16/17 years teaching 2nd grade, 1 year teaching 3rd, and this year I transitioned to music, which has been a blast, and a balm for my creative side. I have beaucoups of notebooks, and I scribble throughout whatever is handy. And like my grandmother’s recipes, I also tend to jot down ideas on anything else that is handy when I don’t have my notebook. My goal for my notebook this summer is to maybe be a bit more structured in the way of using ONE notebook instead of umpteen . . .even as I say that, it’s bothersome, though, as I have my songs in one notebook, random ideas in a few, along with some free writes that strike in the moment. How do you organize a bunch of randomness???

    1. There’s been a bit of talk about taming the randomness already – some (including me) have a table of contents, while a lot of people also mentioned using tabs to mark important ideas. Good luck!

  145. Better to join in late than not at all??? Hope so! Glad to see no set rule for notebooks! Ready to write!!!

  146. Hello! I am a 7th grade English teacher, and this is my first summer writing camp. I am so excited to start my first official notebook. My goal is to make writing in my notebook a habit this summer that will carry on throughout the school year!

  147. Hello Kate and fellow campers! I’m Katie, a 7th grade ELA teacher in St. Louis, MO. I am thrilled to be joining Teachers Write for the first time this summer! Like many of you, I want to write, and I know I need to write authentically to be the best possible teacher for my students. I am so excited for this opportunity this summer and hope to continue the work I’ve begun as a part of the Gateway Writing Project, a National Writing Project program. Looking forward to writing alongside all of you this summer!

    1. Hi, Katie! I think you’ll probably meet some other NWP folks here – Teachers Write seems to be a way many choose to keep the energy from that experience going.

  148. I’m delighted to be among so many talented writers! Like many who have already spoken, I also spend much more time reading than writing these days. I love reading with my book groups (one local and one via Twitter #bookrelays) and with my book study groups (currently reading The Kids Deserve It), but I miss regular writing time, so I am looking forward to (re)developing this practice over the course of the next few weeks.

    I plan to fill my writer’s notebook with notes, quotes, and daily musings to try to capture the joy of each day. Simple, meaningful, thoughtful writing as a way to chronicle my learning and often just my blessed life.

    1. The great thing about this is that reading feeds writing so beautifully. Maybe all that reading has been getting you ready for this summer to explore your own words!

  149. I want to have fun with writing and remember why I used to journal and write!

    Lindsey, an elementary teacher in Canada 🙂

  150. Hi, fellow writers. My name is Beth Hillerns and I am a Title I teacher and literacy coach at a small rural school in Minnesota. I tried Teachers Write two years ago, but stopped a week in because of a family emergency. This year I hope to make it all the way through. My key will be to find consistency. This is not a great start, writing so late, but at least I’m doing it. It should be better once summer school is done at the end of the week.
    Great post to start us off, Kate! I love seeing the variety of notebooks. I’m excited to show these to my students along WITH my notebook.

    1. I’m glad you came back, Beth! And truly…we have a LOT of posts scheduled for this summer with tons of opportunities, so if you miss a day or two, no worries. Come back…we’ll be here. 🙂

  151. This summer I would like to help find a voice for those who feel they are not heard. I wish to listen more than I talk & start writing instead of just thinking/observing.

    1. I love this nod to the way we write for ourselves but also to lend our voice to others. Excited to see where you take this, Mary!

  152. Notebooks scare me!
    Asking how serious is this “writing thing”.
    I love reading everyone’s comments you are all so inspiring!
    Thank you.
    Now off to buy a notebook…
    Carol- Head Start Teacher. S.L.C’ UT

  153. I am a retired elementary teacher and now I do professional development for a large technology company. I travel across the US working with teachers and students on integrating technology into the curriculum. This workshop will support my professional work, but it also is something that I personally am quite interested in. I have always thought about writing a book…..but that is as far as that idea went.

    It has taken me all day to get started. I was up early, joined the group, ordered books, read the posts and many comments, created my blog, picked out the “right” notebook and pens and…..then nothing. I have trouble putting the first words to paper because I want it to be perfect!

    I have been keeping a bullet journal this year which is helping me to realize that notebooks evolve and change. I loved the pics posted as it helps me to see that it is the journey, the process that is important, and not the notebook itself. So my first entry was about just that….I am letting go of the need for perfection. I am just going to write and see where it goes. It is a “practice” notebook and not “the one”. I feel freer now to explore.

    One of my favorite authors has shared that she learned how to write a novel by…writing a novel. You just need to dive in and do it. I am so looking forward to the journey this summer.

  154. I don’t consider myself a writer, but thanks to Donalyn Miller, I have to. My goal for this next school year is to have a reading/writing format in my room. I have to be able to model it. My writer’s notebook is currently mostly what I’ve done on vacation this past week. We flew into San Jose, drove to Watsonville through Santa Cruz, then went to Monterey and ended up on San Francisco. We head home on Wednesday, so I’ll be catching up on all my homework on Friday!

    1. Have a wonderful rest of your trip, Marsha! That’s the great thing about an online camp – all the posts will still be here when you get back.

    2. We can do this, Marsha! I’m blogging mine, and I’m excited to swap ideas on workshop with you over the summer.

      (p.s. Marsha and I teach at the same school! 🙂 )

  155. Hi, my name is Krista. I’ve taught all elementary grades and recently started dreaming of becoming a teacher librarian. Right now though, I’m a beginning teacher mentor/coach in Northern California. I signed up for Teachers Write last year, but got busy (& scared) and didn’t make it a priority…I just lurked a bit. Basically, the short answer to Day 1’s prompt is that this summer in my notebook, I hope to WRITE!! I hope to commit & risk & actually put my pen to the paper. Start up my notebook and let it take me wherever it may!

    1. Hi, Krista! Lots of people just kind of lurk in their first year of TW, so no worries there. We’re glad you’re back and participating!

  156. What Ona said! 🙂 I signed up last summer but didn’t see it through…trying again this summer. It really shouldn’t be this difficult, should it…?

  157. Good morning everyone,

    just a quick note here, then onto today’s posting. I’m Andrea, I’ve been a camper every year except the first year. I teach ELA 6th grade in Rochester, NY and love TeachersWrite! I’ve grown in confidence as a writer and used many tools and strategies with my own students. I’ve seen them grow as well. It’s so exciting.

    As for my notebook, I use a large sketching notebook and Inkjoy gel pens are my favorite – the way they glide over the blank pages. I use my notebook for the prompts, my drafts, but also for notes to anything having to do with writing. (videos, online classes, etc.) I have had a summer notebook devoted to TeachersWrite and another class I’ve been taking each summer. In addition, I have a small moleskin notebook that I use for “punching into work”. I date it, record my time spent writing, document topics I worked on, and monitor my word count so I can see my progress.

    These notebooks evolved for me after my first year at TeachersWrite- many thanks for Kate, Jo, Gae, and Jen (and all the others) for helping me get there (here). Looking forward to another fabulous summer!

  158. I’m a soon to be first year teacher (who’s had three other careers) and I am already planning to do writing notebooks with my 7th graders this fall.

    I want to make writing a daily habit – like my reading for pleasure – something that I set aside time to enjoy. This is how I want my students to feel about reading and writing – that they deserve time and attention. Not neat, not orderly, but simply real and ideally a place for them and me to put our ideas, thoughts, connections and images that leave a mark on us. I’m excited ot get started!

    1. Welcome to the world of teaching, Keely! I know your 7th graders will benefit so much from your life experiences, as well as your passion for reading and writing.

  159. This is my first summer joining Teachers Write. My goal this summer is to keep a writers journal and to become braver in my writing, trying new things. As a teacher of writing, I want to be able to model to my students good writing habits. I am hoping this group will help. KAte Messner wowed our school during an author visit this year! I am excited to join you All!

  160. I signed up for Teachers Write last year but was too whatever to participate. I’ve physically written with my 5th graders for years but never for myself. However, I have written in my mind for years.

    This summer in my notebook, I want to…start.

  161. Hi, I’m a day late. I have been also wanting to participate in this wonderful writing adventure. I am inspired by all of the interesting comments and “confessions” that many that are participated in have written. I love writing poetry and definitely want to use this time to spend more time on that as well as other kinds of genres (playing around with lists, sketches, organizers, freewrites, graphic style”

  162. This is my first year to actively participate in Teacher’s Write. We are traveling in Montana for 2 weeks and will be in and out of wi-fi. My goal for my writer’s notebook is to create the habit of writing daily and to become a better observer of the world around me.

  163. Hello – I’m new to this group but have been keeping a writing notebook as well as a journal for several years now. One of the new ideas I picked up from the notebooks shared in this posting is to add some little cartoons. When I tried that, it turned out to be a great way to get a new perspective on a story I’m working on about a girl who steals something she loves. Thanks!

  164. I am taking a trip to visit my aunt in England this year. I want to write down some of the stories I’ve heard from her over the years about life especially during ww2 and about other family members. It’s a busy summer, but I’m going to keep checking in! Such a great program- thanks!

  165. I’m excited to be back! I’m a PK-5 school librarian in Pittsburgh. This is my third summer of TW. It’s a busy one for me–I’m headed to Japan and China for three weeks in July, but I hope to keep my notebook with me and record what I’m seeing and thinking. I’ve gotten much better in my reading this past year, so now I want to focus on my writing and make it more of a habit.

    Cheers to a good writing summer, everyone!


    1. Kate–I’m moving into our K-5 PBL/library. I haven’t connected with too many other elementary librarians yet. Any chance you’re on Twitter? I’m @hoppytoteach.

  166. This is my 2nd summer with Teachers Write, and I’m looking forward to writing on my own and with this community. The post that compared a writer’s notebook to a food log really resonated with me. Both are a way to establish habits you hope will be long-lasting. They are a place to record daily activity and a place to discover patterns. They make thoughts visible and make actions permanent. I also love the idea of the community writing wall. Day 1 and I’m already taking away great ideas!

  167. This summer my writing notebook will be…written in! I have so many blank notebooks or books with \’rough starts\’ because I\’m afraid of messing it up. I love this mini-lesson because it gives me the freedom to allow my notebook to become whatever it may become…I don\’t always have to plan it all out. So bye-bye table of contents. Hello sporadic writing!

  168. I’m starting a day late, but am excited to participate in Teacher’s Write again this summer. Last year was my first time participating, and although I only commented and shared a handful of times, it was a really valuable experience that got me writing my first true work in progress. I’m excited to continue this year in an even more committed way.

    I can’t decide on how to structure my notebook. I like having a physical sketchbook to doodle and revise in. It makes me feel more creative. But, it’s so much easier to keep my writing in a digital format so that I can access it anywhere and get feedback more easily. I need a good way to type my drafts and then be able to scribble and annotate all over them digitally.

    I’m looking forward to growing as a writer this summer. Thanks, Kate, for creating this space!

  169. I’m excited to be back. The first summer I basically lurked, no interaction. Last summer, I worked on making Teachers Write a piece of each day…at least through the end of July. This summer, my husband has completed his art studio. He just built a table and laid out all of his sketchbooks…there must be at least 20 of them. He is diving into creating art this summer and wants to share the creative process with me. There is something motivating about sharing the creative process. That is, of course, why the Teachers Write summer camp is so popular. I also want to thank people who made writer’s notebook organizational suggestions. I love the idea of a table of contents and color coding. Yeah, to summer…and hurrah to a writing life!

  170. My name is Mel and I’m 6th grade language arts teacher in North Texas! I’m so excited to see so many people here and read such great comments. It’s comforting to know there is a community of teachers and writers out there who are trying to improve.

    This summer, with my writer’s notebook, I want to experience what my learners do when asked to write. It can be a pretty scary feeling. I’m also experiencing using Blogger as my writer’s notebook! It’s something ALL my learners are going to do next year, so I need to test it out.

    Feel free to pop in:

  171. What I plan to write this summer is about my life from 0-67.
    I just retired after 39 years at my last school and looking back has been fun. I had an interesting life growing up and will write about that as well. I have started making a list of the “characters” in my life. My aim is to create a good story that my grandchildren will read.

    1. LInda, congratulations on 39 years of teaching! What an amazing story. Your grandchildren will love reading about your experiences. What a fun reason to write each day.

  172. After reading many biographies written for elementary students, I decided I wanted to try my hand at one. So that’s mostly what I plan to do in my writing journal this summer. I’ve chosen Eliza Pinckney as my subject. This is a big step for me – I’m working on figuring out how to get to being able to write an accurate, interesting life of this unusual woman.

  173. This summer in my notebook, I want to write. Just write. Write at least 300 words, at least every day.

  174. This summer in my notebook, I want to…write every day and explore story ideas that have been rolling around in my head.

  175. This summer in my notebook, I want to reignite my writing life and then use that momentum to build writers in my classroom

  176. This summer in my notebook, I want to work on ideas for a nonfiction book with related poems on nature topics. I just finished my 22nd year in education (I am now an instructional coach) and are currently working on a Masters in LIbrary Science. I’m excited to be back in this group!

  177. Hi. My name is Brianne and I teach grade 6 as a generalist in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. This is my second year of Teachers Write. I’m a little late getting started because we just finished today.

    This summer in my notebook, I want to write. I want to draw. To express myself. Without judgement. Without fear.

    I’ll be traveling to a few different places in Canada for three weeks in July so I’m hoping I will still be able to take advantage of this amazing opportunity while away.

  178. I am a week late to the game, but better late than never! I hope to take my journal with me everywhere and just write. Write what I see. Write what I didn’t see. Write about my crazy life. Write about my memories. And I hope to do more blogging this summer.

  179. This summer in my notebook…I want to write as my third grade self. I went to a great writer’s workshop by Lester Laminack and I want to revisit some things that happened in my youth. I want to set up an example notebook for my third grade students.

    I’m Amy and I’m from Woodstock, GA. Happy to be joining this year. I just moved so my life is overwhelming so I’ll be checking in when I an.

  180. I am late! Story of my life… Thought it started tomorrow. Excited to be a part of Teachers Write again this year.

    This summer in my notebook, I want to develop a character. Any character.

    I’m Beth, and I’m from Boston (well, a suburb, really).

  181. Welcome Campers! I wish I could reply to each and every one of you. I will be sure to do so when my post goes live, but I can’t keep up everyday. So consider this a great big “welcome” and “I’m glad you’re all here!”

    I congratulate you for joining us! I taught 4th grade for many years before having kids and turning to writing as my career. I used to write with my students every day. I wasn’t a terribly good writer then, but I worked right along-side them trying out ideas and putting our mini lessons to work in my own writing. I truly believe all of that work laid the foundation for my life as a writer. I was a teacher first, writer second.

  182. Wow! 437 comments so far! I realized I am a week behind. How did I miss the beginning of Teachers Write?

    Anyway, I wrote this in my notebook:
    “My writer’s notebook is for me, so I will decide where and what to write. I do want to keep it with me this summer. I want to free the fifth graders to become writers themselves. Not draft copiers–that’s ridiculous! (From something that happened last year.)

  183. I\’m Geri and I teach ELA in a middle school in Friendswood, Texas (a suburb of Houston)
    My writer\’s notebook is in my head–a collection of images I want to remember, great quotes from stories I\’ve read, and my favorite lines. Two of my students gave me notebooks as end-of-the year gifts. I plan to take some of the stuff from my head and put it in one of my notebooks.
    Sorry this comment is late,but I\’ve been out of town and just joined. I teach El

  184. This summer in my writer’s notebook, I want to capture silly, seemingly trivial details about life. I want to capture why the ordinary is BEAUTIFUL and FUNNY and REAL. 🙂 I love the idea of having my students keep a writer’s notebook throughout the year. I’ve — gasp — never had them do that! But I will now, I promise!! Actually, I was entertaining the idea of having them write a memoir of sorts this year. We will see, but one thing is for certain, I will have them get a paper notebook — one that they personalize — and give them encouragement and ideas all year. What fun!!!