Rules to Live By: A Lesson in Argument Writing from Two Young Writers...

Jan 18, 2013 by

I happened to catch a brief segment of The Today Show this morning and couldn’t help thinking about how writing empowers people by giving them a voice—even young people.  The segment was about a Walmart cart pusher finding a notebook that was written by two young girls and then misplaced in the Walmart parking lot.  The young man was so impressed by the notebook that he found a way to locate the authors and return it to them.  The notebook was called “Rules to Live By” and included over 150 rules.  Some of the rules were funny ones like, “Don’t bite the dentist.”  Others were more serious like, “Don’t text and drive at the same time.”  When asked by Matt Lauer how the girls determined which rules to add to the book, they explained...

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The Teacher’s Writers Notebook...

Apr 18, 2012 by

If you are a writing teacher, I highly encourage you to keep a writer’s notebook.  Because I’m not much of a journal writer, keeping a writer’s notebook used to intimidate me, and it seemed like “one more thing” to put on my to-do list.  Then a few summers ago, I participated in the Oakland Writing Project which is affiliated with the National Writing Project.  For four weeks I had to live like a writer.  I had to keep a writer’s notebook, write some drafts, share them with my colleagues in a peer response group, and even publish a couple of pieces.  Guess what I found out?  I really enjoyed keeping a writer’s notebook and “living a writerly life” (as Ralph Fletcher would word it).  I vowed to continue adding to my notebook.  You can...

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Benefits of Writer’s Notebooks...

Sep 16, 2009 by

Many writers like to keep writer’s notebooks handy so they can jot down “seed” ideas whenever they pop into their heads.  I encourage students to do the same. The writer’s notebook is a staple in my writing classroom, probably our most important writing tool.  It is a place for my students to free write on mostly self-selected topics, a place for them to explore seed ideas which may later be taken to publication.  It is also a place for my students to practice revising their writing using the craft techniques we learn through mentor text mini-lessons. In his book Mechanically Inclined Jeff Anderson (2005) describes the writer’s notebook as a “playground for writing”. He says “I let students have recess on the page, the sweet freedom to romp with thoughts, cavort with commas, and...

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