After finishing the last post about how a writer’s notebook differs from a writing journal, I was thinking about how choice is so important to students.
It’s difficult to allow students to choose what to write when we have to teach a narrative, a persuasive essay, an argument, comparison contrast, etc. etc. Not to mention, students need to learn how respond to a timed writing prompt.
It is often easier to just give the assignment and move forward from there. But if you’re implementing writer’s workshop into your classroom, your students have already started on the path of writing about what they are passionate about or interested in or feel some measure of expertise about.
Giving students choice on what they write about and the mode in which it’s written puts the power back into students’ hands. Not only that, but in the real world — our students will be writing letters of complaint, business proposals, notes of condolence, emails to explain or convince, blog posts to explain opinions… the list goes on.
So, how do we do that? To me, the writer’s notebook is a great tool to helping students dig down into what they are passionate about, what they have opinions about, what they want to SAY to the world!
We can teach the writing mode (persuasion, narrative) and then push the students to use their writer’s notebooks to find their voice, opinion, thoughts, and feelings about a topic.