Wednesday, January 21, 2015

70 Possible Notebook Entries

A student composing on an iPad. (Newark, NJ)
I have been thinking about the types of entries I make in this blog (my electronic notebook) and brainstormed with other teachers and on my own and I borrowed ideas I found on other blogs and sites (here) to form this list.  Hope you can make the most of it.

Writing Notebook Entries: Try to write a sustained entry each school day that is at least one page. Date each entry. Do not remove entries from your notebook. I have included links to examples.

  1. Select one word for 2015 that you are using to define yourself and/or your goals. Write a narrative that helps to explain it.  (Example, Example
  2. Check in with a quick write about how you are feeling. (Example)
  3. Write about a time when you did something wrong. (Example)
  4. Select a location (ex. childhood backyard when you were x and write about it, then draw it, then revise the writing based on your drawing.
  5. Study something carefully and then write about it. (Example)
  6. Make an entry about music that matters to you or music that makes you remember.
  7. Use the title of a poem, story and write. (Example)
  8. Tell a tough to tell story. (Example, Example)
  9. Lift a line from something you are reading and write.
  10. Write a post about a memory you have that is tied to smell. (Sense of smell triggers most memories… What’s your trigger?)
  11. First time I…. (Example)
  12. Record a post about a celebration. Try to capture feelings, sense of place, time.
  13. Write a Then and Now entry (Example)
  14. Think about the future. (Example)
  15. Dreams: Keep notebook and pen next to bed. If you can recall your dreams, record one.
  16. Write a response to video or literature you enjoyed, disliked, thought about.   
  17. Write a response to art or photograph.
  18. Tell a family story. (Example)
  19. Make a list of your favorite things.
  20. Write a slice of life story. (Example)
  21. Think about a time when you realized something was important. Write about one that moment. (Example)
  22. Write in response to something someone else writes in their notebook. (ExampleExample)
  23. Think about the stories that your family tells and retells. Write about one of those.
  24. Think about the traditions or special holidays in your family. Write about a memorable event that occurred during one of those.
  25. Think of the events in your life that are closely tied to the seasons: summer memories, fall memories, winter memories, spring memories. Choose one and tell the story.
  26. Think about an important topic and pose questions. (Example)
  27. Think about the vacations or trips you’ve taken. Choose one small moment or event and tell the story.
  28. Reread your notebook and find a new topics. (Example)
  29. Take a stand on something that matters to you. (Example, Example)
  30. Respond to something someone else said or wrote. (Example)
  31. Think about all the times when you’ve gotten into trouble with your parents, siblings, or teachers. Choose one time and tell the story.
  32. Think about a story you’ve never told anyone before. Retell the story on paper.
  33. Write a concrete poem. (Student Example)
  34. Make art to accompany a poem. (Example – adult example).
  35. Make book, music, film, or game recommendations for other. (Example)
  36. Think about the times when you have encouraged a friend to try something. Write about the experience.
  37. Write your own Where I’m from Poem based on the model from George Ella Lyon (Example)
  38. Think about the times when a friend has encouraged you to try something new. Write about the experience.
  39. Write about 10 things you notice right where you are sitting. (Example)
  40. Think about the things you like to do in the summer time and who you like to do them with. Write about a summer pastime shared with a friend or relative.
  41. Explain an important concept through essay and story. (Example)
  42. Think about school related memories. Choose one and retell the memory as if it happened yesterday.
  43. 5 Things I want My Teacher to Know About Me (Example)
  44. Write about an artifact. (Example)
  45. Take an area or a topic from your life, like your hair, your glasses, your hobby, your pet, a relative, one part of school, your home. Make a timeline of things that have happened connected to that one topic. Choose one dot from one timeline and write a rough draft of that story.
  46. Think about the firsts in your life—such as the first time you stayed home alone or the first time you stayed the night at a friends. Or, the first time you tried an exotic food or the first time you were on stage in front of a crowd. Write the story of the first.
  47. Write about a controversial topic. (Example)
  48. Think about your childhood. Write about a game or toy you liked when you were young. Tell the story of getting it, a time when you played with it, when you lost it, broke it, or no longer found it interesting.
  49. Think about emotional moments in your past. Tell the story of the moment when you found out someone special passed away (a pet, a family member, a national hero). (Example)
  50. Think about the important conversations you have had in your lifetime. It may have been with an inspiring teacher, a caring grandparent, a stern parent, or a thoughtful religious leader. Write the story of a conversation you’ll always remember.
  51. Think about the last time you were scared or got butterflies in your stomach. Write the story of what caused it and how the situation was resolved.
  52. Write about one thing you never want to do again.
  53. Write a scar story: a time when you were injured and got that scar. (Example from the blog: Window to School)
  54.  Think as far back as you can. List your earliest memories and the details that surround them.
  55. Create your own Commonbook by recording favorite lines.  This is a spot in your notebook you can return to for inspiration. (Example).
  56. List all the styles you can remember, the music you liked, and the TV shows that were your favorites. Try it grade by grade.
  57. Think about the reality of your future. What do you think your life will be like in 5 years? 10 years? 
  58. Make a list of ideas you want to write about.
  59.  Add a Hot Spot (story climax) to a story (Example)
  60. Think about the new year. What do you hope to accomplish this year? (Example)
  61. Make an ongoing list of the things you need to do. Cross out stuff as you finish – believe me, it feels really good!
  62. Make a wish list.
  63. Look around. Observe the people around you. Pay attention to their behavior. Write your ideas as to why they act the way they do.
  64. Observe yourself and the way you act in certain situations. Write down what you notice about yourself.
  65. Observe something common that you never had the time to notice before. (People passing between periods, the lunch room, hallway behavior, etc.) Write the details of what you see.
  66. Eavesdrop: Record dialogue. Try to capture how the people actually sound by the way they speak and what they speak about. Think Tech might Help here. (Example)
  67. Look out the window. Observe the day. List everything you see. (Example)
  68. Think about something commonly overlooked in nature, like a blade of grass, a cloud, a pebble, a bird, etc. Describe it using every detail you notice in your mind.
  69. Write a love letter.
  70. Write a letter to someone with power, like President Obama, Secretary Duncan, your principal. Tell bout something you want to see changed. Explain why. (Example, Example)

Remember: use student work as model as often as you can.

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