I'm going to admit right now that I have a cool summer learning activity planned for myself.  As you must know by now if you're following this blog, I've been keeping my first writer's notebook myself this past year, and about half of its pages are currently filled.  When I've shown my model to students as part of a demo lesson, I have an amazing response.  "Do we get to do that too?" is the most common question I am asked.  "Tell your teacher you want to!" I respond.  I've helped a lot of teachers add writer's notebooks to their pre-writing tools this year.

Meet Austin (at left--an old picture from a few years back is all I have); he's a colleague's son who's going into seventh grade in September.  Since third grade, he's been featured at WritingFix because he's been a participant in our NNWP's TWIST Camps.  This summer, because he's now too old for the TWISTs, he and I are working on a project we're calling "Corbett & Austin Keep Writer's Notebooks." 

He and I will be chatting (over Skype) about funny ideas we have about new writer's notebook pages; he's just starting his, while I'm adding new pages to mine.  We will then be getting together--face to face--and creating our pages with a shared set of pencils, pens and crayons.  Then, we'll both be using our pages as inspiration for longer stories or poems or whatever.  I'll be turning each idea into a web-page at WritingFix, and next school year, our Writing Lesson of the Month network will be featuring both Austin and my pages and the stories/poems they inspired.  Our hope is to inspire whole classrooms (all grade levels!) of students to create similar pages and to share the stories/poems they eventually write.

To make sure we're both on the same page, Austin and I will be doing several pages together right at the beginning of the summer, and these initial notebook pages will be based on lessons already posted at WritingFix that we'll be modifying with our work this summer.

Larger view
One lesson that I know for sure we're doing is WritingFix's Serendipitous Crazy Illustration Prompt, which has students create two wacky illustrations inspired by choices that make using WritingFix's Crazy Illustration Idea Generator--it's pretty fun; go to the link and try it out!  Students, then, choose their favorite illustration and turn it into an actual story.  At this point, I have my notebook page made (click here to see it in larger form), and this summer once Austin has created his, we will both write stories that will become features at WritingFix.Want to join us in the process?  Here's my summer notebook challenge #2:  Create a notebook page based on the Crazy Illustration Prompt so that you can compare the story you write to the stories Austin and I write.  Got kids at home this summer?  Have them play along too.  If you send me their stories or photographs of their notebook pages, they'll be included at the revised version of the lesson that will be going up in September!



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