Friday, June 28, 2013

Summer Writer's Notebooks


I LOVE teaching writing and my students LOVE to write.  In the beginning of the school year, I have them make Writer's Notebooks by jazzing up a composition notebook. The directions are to cover it with pictures of people and things they love.  Because they are first graders and also learning to spell, I have them (or a parent) write the correct spelling of items/people next to the pictures for them to reference should they need to. They then wrap it in clear contact paper and we use it to write all year.

As I mentioned, my students love Writer's Workshop and even asked for it on days when we were on Field Trips or having Field Day (those are always proud teacher days).  With most notebooks filling up by June, I have found a Summer's Writer's Notebook to be the perfect end-of-year gift.  It's also personal because it has pictures to remind them of their first grade year.

To do this, in Publisher, I created a front and back for a Writer's Notebook.  I used class pictures (of them, anchor charts, etc) from throughout the year and typed their name on the front.  I also included a picture of them on the front and on the back pictures of them with their family members (who came in throughout the year as Mystery Readers).  This may sound like a lot of work, but it's not.  I keep a classroom blog (surprised?) and so I copy pictures from there.  The only pictures that are different on the notebooks are those of the student and their family member.  I can get this all done in about an hour.

Next I wrap them.

So... All you need for this project is the front and back pages you make (in publisher, pages... or some other program), composition books, scissors, scotch tape and clear contact paper.  Here is how I wrap my books (and once you get going you can easily kick these out too).


Use a small piece of rolled scotch tape under the page you made to keep it in place on your writer's notebooks.  Make it small because you don't need much.  I have used glue in the past which sometimes shows through, so I prefer tape.


Cut the contact paper so that it can cover your book.
Next peal off the backing and set the notebook as I have shown above (I kept the backing on so you could see how big I make it).


Then pull one side over to the other and pull it taut and smooth it out so you don't have bubbles.  If you do, don't worry!  The contact paper is easy to remove and very forgiving.


Next I cut the corners like this (to make it easier to fold and less bulk inside).


I also cut a small slit at the top and bottom near the binding.


Then I just fold all the sides down like a present.

And there you have it!  As a bonus, I tell my students if they come back in the fall with some great writing in their notebooks, I'll have a small treat waiting for them (a sucker and a new pencil).


I should mention with my own kiddos seeing these (and wanting one), they now have their own summer notebooks to write in too...
Great way to avoid the summer slump!
Write On!

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