Write. Every. Day.

The school day moves quickly. If you are a teacher, you live that life daily. At the beginning of my sixth-grade classes, we spend a few minutes every day writing in our notebooks. We call it Sacred Writing Time. (In my notebook entries, you’ll see my abbreviation, SWT.) It truly is a precious time to me and my students. Here are some blurbs from my entries on Tuesday. Judge for yourself. Do you spend any time writing with your students on a daily basis? If not, I urge you to try it…it’s life changing… 

Here’s why I wrote, “I love Jessica”…

Spending the beginning moments of a class, writing together has so many benefits.

  1. We live like writers. We show up to the page every single day.
  2. Routine breaks down the resistance to writing.
  3. We build ourselves as writers…word by word, sentence by sentence, page by page.
  4. There’s calm and quiet in the middle of chaos and pressure.
  5. We learn to have faith that the words will come to us and the page will always be there.

Starting Over

I am a notebooker. I proudly wear that title.

Almost everywhere I go, my notebook goes with me. I’m on notebook number 72ish. (Notebooks keep popping up after I’ve counted, so that’s frustrating. I’m not good with numbers.) I just started writing in this notebook on March 13th.

Starting a new notebook can be overwhelming, even for me. It occurred to me as the words came tumbling onto the page a couple of days ago,

After notebooking for so long, I know what I like in a notebook. I prefer blank pages and a hardbound book. My favorite notebooks to write in, come from Barnes and Noble, but I love to try new kinds…or do I?

Number 72 is from Michaels…

Different kind of cover, rounded edges to the pages…I know it sounds like those are unimportant details, but they aren’t. They matter. When I start a new notebook, it’s like starting a new relationship. I pour my heart into the words that cover those pages. It’s risky to start over. I looked back through my last two notebooks and this is a pattern…

It’s the beginning. Somehow, these words feel more important…bigger. Maybe that’s what stops lots of people.

…the pressure of being perfect. Hmmm, well now I have something to think about. I’m doing lots of writing about notebooks and this new notebook seems to be teaching me some new lessons. My students continue to teach me lessons about my own notebook practice. They love my writing. Last week they told me how beautiful it is. When I look at my writing, I see messy and mistakes. I yearn to have beautiful penmanship and make my “e”s better and on and on. It proves to me that we all see our own work with such a critical eye.

Here’s a peek into the covers and title pages of my last three notebooks… 

Number #70
September, 2016 – December, 2016

Number #71
January, 2017 – March, 2017

Number #72
March, 2017 –

We Are Writers

We write every day in sixth grade. Each class begins with writing time in our notebooks. During the month of March, the slicers may blog during that time. Showing up and writing every day has created habits for us. We are living as writers. On rare occasions when the schedule changes, we feel it. We miss our writing time. Writing isn’t the only important part of this…sharing our writing is vital. I wish we shared daily, but time seems to get away from us. My goal is for writers to have the opportunity to share every two or three days. This week, our sharing time got pushed til Friday.

Sharing gives writers an audience.
Sharing inspires new ideas and techniques.
Sharing teaches us.
Sharing makes us all better writers.
Sharing is fun!

Here are some sixth-grade writers sharing. Notice the confidence? Notice the joy?

Slice of Your Life

Classroom Slice of Life

Today we will mine our notebooks for our stories. We are looking for stories of our lives. When someone writes a book with lots of stories of their lives, it’s called a memoir. 

We are going to work on a mini-memoir. It’s called a slice of life. It’s a story you want to share from your life. It’s about a moment. We will start reading slices like writers. We will be looking for what makes a good slice of life as we embark on a journey to create our own individual slices of life.  What kind of stories do you have to tell?