Bibliophiliac is the space where one passionate, voracious reader reflects on books and the reading life. You will find reviews, analysis, links, and reflections on poetry and prose both in and out of the mainstream.

A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. Franz Kafka

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sunday Coffee

It's October! And temperatures here in coastal South Carolina have finally fallen below eighty degrees. I can open my windows-how refreshing. Today the temperature is supposed to be in the sixties, and remain there throughout the week. I might have to see where my jackets and coats are, finally.

Yesterday was the "Leap into Literacy" conference sponsored by Coastal Savannah Writing Project. Since I'm a Fellow, I presented at the conference. This was actually my first time presenting at a professional conference, and I really enjoyed it. My presentation was about the use of writer's notebook in the classroom (as a strategy for improving voice in student writing). I have a really pretty PowerPoint of which I am inordinately proud. We had a small turnout at the conference, but the people who came to my presentation were great, asking questions and interacting. I got positive feedback from teachers of all age levels. One of the attendees was a writing test evaluator from the Georgia State Department of Education (you know, those folks who write the prompts and assess the essays on the state test). He asked me a ton of questions, then requested an electronic copy of my PowerPoint. He even went to his car to get a flash drive. Afterwards I was like: "Uh-oh, what did I do?" I was so flattered that I didn't stop to think that the presentation on which I had worked so hard might become part of someone else's workshop or presentation. Since I've never even presented at a conference before, I didn't realize someone might make this request, and still have no idea whether this is commonplace. I definitely wish I hadn't just put my presentation on the guy's flash drive, but know I will be prepared for this request.

Here are the two books I highly recommended in my presentation:
Living and Teaching the Writing Workshop by Kristen Painter.
This book is a wonderful resource for the teacher as writer, and for the teacher of writing. The first half of the book is for the teacher-writer, and focuses on how the begin to keep your own writer's notebook, and how to develop topics and complete a writing project. The second half of the book is about launching and using writer's notebooks in your classroom. This book can be used by teachers of all grade levels.
Notebook Know-How: Strategies for the Writer's Notebook by Aimee Buckner. Aimee Buckner is a fourth grade teacher who is a cofounder of the Gwinnett County Summer Writing Institute for Teachers and Children. Her book is an incredible, detailed resource for teachers of any grade level who want to use writer's notebooks in the classroom.

I will admit it: my love for the writer's notebook borders on idolatry. I never go anywhere without a notebook and a pen (and a book, of course). I would not know how to go through life without reflecting on my experiences in writing. This is something I try to share with my students, and I find that nearly every student has the desire to reflection on his or her experiences in writing.

So, gentle readers, do any of you share my mania for keeping a notebook? Do you have a particular size, color, shape notebook you use religiously? Are all devoted readers also writers?


bermudaonion said...

Wow, I sure hope he credits you if he uses your presentation.

Christopher said...

Congratulations on giving your presentation! It sounds like it went very well. I am sure that the fellow that asked for a copy will not only credit you, but may be trying to drum up support for an approach like what you're advocating. Sounds like a great idea. I guess the idea of utilizing a "writer's notebook" is really not all that different from what we do with our blogging experiences, is it? Have a wonderful week! Cheers! Chris

BookQuoter said...

I am jealous, I just CLOSED our windows(and it will be close now for the next 5 months, it has gotten cold here in Michigan. Last night it was 42 degrees:(

I bet your talk was really good. Congratulations!

Writer's notebook?... I wish I deserved to have one. I just read good writer's writing!! haha!!

BTW, it is thanks to you that I read George Eliot.

Scriptor Senex said...

I'm a devoted reader AND a devoted writer so maybe we all are. Sadly my notebooks are of all shapes and sizes and some in pencil, some in pen, some even on scraps of papoer on those (rare) occasions when the notepad hasn't made it into my pocket. I'd love to have them all in the same style of notebook!

Robyn Ryle said...

I second Christopher. I think asking for a copy of your power point is a lot like asking for a copy of your paper. It's a good thing.

My writer's notebook is very non-descript...a little spiral notebook I keep in my purse. It has lots of things in it, including to-do lists and phone numbers and the names of books and movies people tell me about. But I also write down little tidbits that would make good stories or that just stick out to me. It's transformative to see life through the eyes of writing. Glad you're passing that on to your students.