Thursday, July 3, 2014

Interactive Writing Notebooks

I learned about interactive notebooks a few years ago and have been interested ever since. I thought I'd take a journey into this world this past year . . .

It was amazing!

I've just about finished the interactive writing notebook I've been working on. With a few tweaks here and there, it's lookin' good! Having used most of the material with my class, I was very pleased with how well it worked out.

I started the year by telling the kids that we would be working on a project that would last all year long. Now if you've ever used the words project or activity with 2nd graders, you know that you just stirred up some excitement. Especially if you said it with a really enthusiastic voice.

The notebooks included five different sections--Ideas, Organization, Voice, Word Choice, and Sentence Fluency {AKA The Six Traits of Writing}. I did leave out Conventions. As teachers, we teach spelling, grammar, punctuation, and capitalization all year long. It already gets A LOT of attention.

Each section consisted of 6 to 10 interactive activities which helped build conceptual understanding of the traits of writing. The activities built upon one another and at the conclusion of each section, students were asked to apply their knowledge. But it didn't end there. Once we finished the next section, they were asked to apply their learning from that section and the sections prior.

I have to be honest, I wasn't sure how this was all going to turn out and if I'd be able to keep up with the lessons. I was out of the classroom approximately 25 days for Common Core planning/pacing/lesson designing, but it all fell into place :)

The best part about these notebooks has been that my students could not forget anything. Oooh nooo! It was right there in their notebooks. There was accountability that kept them focused on what they had been taught and what makes a great writer.

We added to and used our notebooks throughout the year. I loved the excitement my students showed each time I told them we would be adding to our notebooks.  I noticed that each kid picked up on something that was meaningful to them. I can still hear Edgar telling his group, "You have to be specific."

Of course writing instruction wouldn't be complete without bringing in literature. Each time I read a book, we discuss the author's purpose as well as the traits the author used well. Included in the students' notebooks were mentor text lessons for many familiar children's books.

I changed a few things that needed some work, but in the end, this was a success! I can't wait to use it again next year!

I have to say this class produced some of the best writing I've seen in my ten years! I don't usually enjoy hearing my students groan except when it's because I told them it's time to put away their writing. I know I've done my job!


  1. Hi Stacy! I'm your newest follower! :) Your blog is so happy! I love it. Love the interactive notebooks, too. You've gotta love something educational that the kids don't want to stop doing!
    Kindergarten: Holding Hands and Sticking Together

    1. Thank you, Carolyn! And you really gotta love it when it's writing :)

  2. Love your notebooks! Looking forward to your primary grade version!
    Newest follower!


  3. I'm your newest follower and I'm IN LOVE with your interactive notebooks. Such great work!


    1. Thank you! I loved using it in my classroom. My kids took so much pride in their own notebooks.



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