It's Friday!  Spent the last week not only enjoying some time in the garden but also revising on two more of my writer's notebook lessons that will promote Writing Across the Curriculum in my new classroom next year.  As always, my inspiration came from building teacher-models of the lessons I'll be asking my students to participate in. 

The Common Core State Standards--rolling out K-8 next year here in Northern Nevada--have a Writing Across the Curriculum Element that I have been taking very seriously.  I hear teachers de-cry that the CCSS will take away our teachers' ability to be creative, but I disagree.  I worked very hard to make these two new lessons all about my creativity, and I hope they inspire you to be even more creative next year.

The first  lesson I revised on this week was "Rhyming Couplets Across the Curriculum" lesson, which has students creating rhyming lines about newly learned content.  Here's my new teacher-model for this revised lesson:

Click here to access this writer's notebook lesson on-line at my website!
My second lesson this week was "Extending Metaphors across the Curriculum."  It has students establish and extend on content-based metaphors.  Here is the new teacher-model I added to this revised lesson:

Click here to access this writer's notebook lesson on-line at my website:
 These are newly revised lessons!  As always I welcome feedback before these lessons become finalized this September.  I hope your summers continue to be marvelous.  More W.A.C. lessons coming next week!


I have two new writer's notebook lessons for you to compare and contrast!

I've been getting pretty excited about the writing across the curriculum that we're going to have our students do next year.  From pre-writing (in learning logs and writer's notebooks) to publishing (on blogs and for portfolios), our students will be proving they can think deeply about all four content areas (math, science, language arts,  history) by creating original pieces of writing that demonstrate their abilities to make deep, cognitive connections.

Because my own writer's notebook has--until this point--mostly been about topics we study in language arts, I have been busily adding pages to it that reflect the type of thinking we want our students to do for writing across the curriculum.  As I always do, I am publishing the lessons to go along with my notebook pages online.

Here are two new teacher models that I created during the the last two days.   I've done these lessons before but this is the first time I've had a writer's notebook model to show ahead of time:

#1:  Unusual Recipes-- where students create recipes for items you would not find in an actual cookbook.

Click here to access my online write-up that goes with this model page.

#1:  Personified Vocabulary-- where students turn content-based vocabulary into "people," basing their personalities, jobs, clothing, and/or relationships on the vocabulary words' definitions.

Click here to access my online write-up that goes with this model page.
I invite you to compare/contrast these two lessons.  I am always open to feedback.  I'm now working on a Writing Across the Curriculum lesson on "rhyming slogans."  Check back in a few days if that sounds interesting to you!


Wow!  I have been put on an amazing middle school team next year; come late August, I'll be teaching language arts (6th-8th grade), while the three other teachers of my team will be teaching the science, math, and history to the same group.  We will have these kids for three years, which I think is an amazing way to teach, especially when I think of the high-quality teaching that I know will come from the classrooms of  Kelly, Holly, and Sue--my three brand new colleagues next year.  I seriously am in a "dream teaching situation" next year.

One of our team's goals is for our students to maintain separate notebooks/learning logs for all four of their core classes.  With all the writer's notebook materials that I've been developing over the past three years, my kids and I will be set with this requirement in English class, but I know content-based notebooks (kept in the style and spirit of Ralph Fletcher) will be a fairly new concept for my teaching teammates.

In science, math, and social studies, you want students' notebooks to be a place where they can a) summarize content-based learning in their own words (no regurgitation!) and b) reflect on that content morally, ethically, and/or creatively--through a combination of visuals and words.

I am, therefore, working on some brand new writing across the curriculum challenges that I can establish/teach in language arts class so that my teaching teammates--once I've given the kids the format--can then start requiring the same students to use the same format with their different content.

Just finished a new one!  "16-word poems" inspired by William Carlos Williams' famous poem, "The Red Wheelbarrow."  You can read my whole lesson (still kind of in draft form) on-line here:

What I'm doing differently now, knowing that I have these three amazing colleagues, is I am making sure I have teacher models of notebook pages that reflect all four core areas.  This way, my students--in Language Arts--will have already tried my writing challenges with the content of my colleagues' classes before leaving my class.

Here is the "Writing Across the Curriculum"-inspired teacher model that goes with my 16-word poem assignment.  This is a new concept for me to plan for.  I am actually having a great time thinking/planning this way!

Click here for the whole lesson write-up.

It probably sounds sick to say this, being that it's July 15th: I can hardly wait for the new school year to start!


I've been looking for an assignment (other than Heart Maps) to launch my writer's notebook program and to give students ownership of their notebooks' ideas.  I finally found a mentor text that inspired a new assignment: Written Anything Good Lately? by Susan Allan and Janet Lindaman.  This simple little alphabet book provides --from A to Z--a variety of writing genre possibilities.  After sharing these authors' alpha-genre list, I've decided I want my students to create one of their own.

Their alpha-genre prompt will be: "Come up with 26 different things you'd be willing to write this year.  Sky's the limit.  Let your creativity fly!  Make sure you only list things you actually have an interest in writing!"

It probably won't surprise you to know that I'm going to base the success of my own lesson on the teacher model I provide.  My teacher model is below.  I am also working with a friend's seventh grade child this summer--Austin--and he'll be creating a model of this notebook page I'll be posting at my online version of this lesson too.

Click here to access my complete online lesson that inspired the above model.
I hope you like this idea enough to say, "I should make my own teacher model of that assignment, so I can show it to my students this Fall."


It's kind of official!  I am heading back to the classroom next year.  Needed to say "Goodbye" to my previous workplace (a teacher training center) because the work became about politics and keeping superintendents happy--not about what's good for teachers.

So...I am crazily working on writer's notebook pages this summer--going to make my writer's workshop all about what begins in the writer's notebook next year.

Here is a fun page I plan to introduce early on to my students; I especially like how the page is not only teaching unqiue ideas, but it's focused on teaching students what a noun phrase is!  We don't teach enough grammar in places other than worksheets and daily oral language drills.  That's the dogma I head back to my students with.

Here is the complete lesson online that sets students up to create this notebook page in their own notebooks.

More to come...all summer long!