July 3

Walking into Writing

I set some goals for myself this summer. I shared them here, but I’ve revised them. My goals are simple for this summer:

1. Walk

2. Write

3. Clean

4. Read

5. Swim

The first goal is the one I’d like to talk about. I have a confession…I’m a relatively sedentary person. The things I love to do include sitting: writing and reading. It’s not good. During this past school year, a friend nudged me to accompany her after school on walks. I did and look where I am now. School has been out since June 15th. Of the sixteen weekdays, I’ve walked fourteen of them: missed one for rain and one for not feeling well. 

My day starts with the walk. Sometimes I walk with a friend and other days I walk alone…in silence or accompanied by some of my favorite tunes…in the cool mornings or in the extreme heat. Regardless, I lace up my sneakers and I walk. 

How has this changed me? I feel better. I have energy. My day begins with something already accomplished. Feeling more motivated, I get more done and I am happier.

Walking has helped me as a writer too. I work out ideas as I walk. This morning, I wrote my typewriter poem, in my head, on my walk. (I jotted it down in my note app, so I could type it later.) 

Walking calms me and gives me confidence. This helps when I sit down to write. As writers, we often doubt ourselves. I often have the, “I’m not good enough!” imposter syndrome worry. Walking calms that in me. I don’t know why. I don’t understand it. (I don’t even care why!) 

Walking has motivated me to clean and purge and organize. I’m almost done with my house and the garage is next. Taking a walk can be overwhelming to a sedentary person like me. It’s all about one step at a time…hmmm, just like writing. One word after another. 

May 15

What Brings Me Joy?

This question was posed to me by a friend. I decided to sit and think about it and make a list. Here’s what I came up with…

After I wrote, I decided to flip back to the past week or two in my notebook to see if I’d done this recently. Look what I found…

It’s a collection of posts that focus on the joy in life and the funny moments during the day.

If I were forced to pick just one thing that brings me joy, satisfaction, and engagement…it all leads back to the notebook!

May 1

May is Notebook Month

I am declaring May to be Notebook Month. 

The month when we reconnect with the pages of our notebooks. That’s a primary goal for me this month. Get back to the notebook!

My students are reflecting and writing about themselves as notebook-ers this month because of an amazing opportunity! We…they…the sixth-graders are TAKING OVER Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s blog Sharing Our Notebooks

They have signed up voluntarily to write a blog post for every single day in May. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Today I conferenced with every single writer (again) and checked their progress.

The excitement is contagious! They can’t wait! I love reading their thoughts on creating their notebook pages and their advice. My favorite part may be their author bios. These students are writers. They see themselves that way…they call themselves writers. We are all writers.  My notebook is going to be busy this month…

March 5

Coming to the Final Page

If you are new to reading my blog, you may not know about my passion for my notebooks. I’ve been writing in notebooks for more than thirty years and I have all of them. Currently, I’m writing in notebook number seventy-five. I started this notebook on January 1, 2018. It’s served me well these past few months. 

I name my notebooks. This name is my One Little Word for 2018, MOXIE. My 74th notebook was much smaller and the pages had lines. 

I’m usually against lines, but I loved the size of the notebook, so I tried it. When I finished and moved onto this next notebook, I hadn’t realized how constraining those lines and the small size had been for me.

I turned to a larger notebook with a spiral at the top. This was another unusual choice for me, but I needed it to follow the last notebook. In this notebook, What’s next?

I don’t know.

Starting a new notebook is both exciting and worrisome. I worry that I won’t pick just the right one. I am sad that my last notebook is almost full and it won’t accompany me everywhere. Instead, it will find a home in my bookcase of notebooks. It feels like a friend that’s moving away. 

I’m preparing. Thinking about which notebook will be next. Filling these last pages with words and doodles and love. Once I come to the final page, a new journey will begin.


September 16

Celebrating Notebook Writers!

We’ve launched notebooks. We write in our notebooks every day. I collected notebooks for a first check. Spending time in these pages inspired me. I get to know my sixth-graders as writers and I get to know their interests and passions. Notebook writing and reading their writing is certainly something to celebrate today! The rest of this post will be pages from their notebooks. They’ve given me permission to share. You are in for a treat! Enjoy…

September 14

Launching Writer’s Notebooks

How is it possible that I’ve never written this blog post before?!?! Today, this day, notebook launching day…it’s my favorite day of the beginning of the year! It’s so exciting! The energy is palpable!

We begin by talking about what writing is. This helps me get a peek into their previous writing experiences and the emotions surrounding them. Here’s what I heard today…

These answers gave me such joy and hope. It’s evidence of students who already feel successful as writers. Next, I shared my life as a writer. I love when I show them my very first notebook and hear the gasps when they see what year I began writing…1982. 
After we discuss my experience with writer’s notebooks, I say, “Writers, you need notebooks.” Students begin shuffling around until they see the giant pile of wrapped notebooks…
I begin passing them out and the volume slowly goes up. Students start whispering and soon, they are cheering. The sound of hearing their joy as they unwrap their packages is like no other I’ve ever heard. It’s JOY! 
Once the students open their notebooks, they notice that there’s something inside…
I wrote a poem for them. It seems as if they enjoy the poem. And now, they are off! Writers, begin writing…
All this and it’s only day one with our notebooks! Watch out world, here we come!