Writer's Notebook Cheat Sheet

ELA Seminar Gal
Grade Levels
5th - 10th
Resource Type
Formats Included
  • PDF
ELA Seminar Gal



Fill the Collections Section with lots and lots of lists.


Because they make awesome reference pages and prewriting tools that can be used over and over again throughout the year.

Here are a few of my favorite lists to collect:
• Getting-to-Know-You Lists: 10 Things You Don’t Know About Me
• Memory Lists: Treasured Moments with Friends and Family
• Setting Lists: Places that Stir Emotions
• Active Verb Lists: Fast and Slow Actions


Watch writing fluency (and confidence) soar as students draft 3-12 minute daily pieces in the Free Write Section.

Even the most reluctant writers are willing to share stories, opinions, and reflections which only take a few minutes to finish.

Why does this simple strategy work so well?
Because writing quickly - in short bursts - helps young writers to turn off their internal censors and write from their hearts. After all, nobody expects a free write to be perfect. And that gives students permission to relax and take some compositional risks. Sometimes the freedom not to be perfect is all that is needed for students to see some amazing results.

Here are a few free writing exercises that make students’ pens fly across the page:

• Display a “Would You Rather” Opinion/Argument Question , and have students take a stand.
• Prompt: Pick a personality trait you despise and tell a story or explain why that trait annoys you.
• Display a thought-provoking quotation and have students write reflection pieces


Use the Target Skill Section to help students use precise language and clear imagery in their fiction and non-fiction pieces.

This section sounds like the boring one, but believe me when I tell you that kids have so much fun here.

They get to play with language. Really play.

And while they’re playing, they’ll uncover tricks and techniques real writers use to hook readers.

Here are a few kid-friendly target skill activities:
• Sometimes they’ll flip through books, looking for ways that authors plant punctuation “eye candy” in their writings.
• Sometimes they’ll paste a picture on a blank page, make a claim, and come up with super-fun or super-specific ways of proving their claim.
• Sometimes they’ll play games to practice grammar or vocabulary skills - then record their favorite responses in their notebooks.

Connect with me here:
ELA SEMINARS WEBSITE: http://elaseminars.com/
TPT STORE: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Janice-Malone
BLOG: http://janiceannemalone.wordpress.com/
300 FREE WRITING LESSONS ON PINTEREST (1st two rows): http://www.pinterest.com/elaseminars/
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/ELAseminars?ref=hl
PINTEREST: https://www.pinterest.com/elaseminars
BLOG http://www.elaseminargal.com/

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