What Is a Writer's Notebook, Anyway?
In this book you will learn lots of great strategies for keeping your own writer's notebook. The author, Ralph Fletcher, provides great examples from his own notebooks as well as from kids' notebooks! You will also be able to read how other professional authors use writer's notebooks to create famous poems and books. You'll want to keep a writer's notebook after reading this!
Why does the author begin this book with a story about a ditch?
Before we read the author's poem let's think about the comparison he just made when he said the phrase was "like a piece of flint." This is a form of figurative language called a simile. Watch this short video to learn more about similes. (This annotation contains a video)
Did you know that any time you are reading in Curriculet you have access to a tool that can help you understand unknown words? Click and hold on the word "cannibalistic," and then choose the Define option. Right away you have the definition for the word you didn't know. Use this great tool whenever you come to an unknown word.
How does this story about Jupiter and the Vietnamese support the author's idea that "What dazzles one person might bore the next"?
A pun is a joke that is made when a word has two meanings. A "fathom" is a measurement used to describe something that is six feet deep. When someone says they "can't fathom" something it means they can't understand it. The author creates a pun here because he cannot understand how something usually measured in fathoms could be bottomless.
What are some differences and similarities between the entries written by Rebecca and Esther? Look back at their writing to find details that will support your answer.
Ralph Fletcher describes the importance of capturing small details which provide the most wonderful images. Watch this short video about the importance of imagery in stories. (This annotation contains a video)
What does the author mean by "details like these will breathe life" into your notebook?
The author uses an interesting analogy here comparing your writer's notebook to an incubator. Have you ever thought about your ideas and wonders being like delicate eggs waiting to hatch into something amazing? (This annotation contains an image)
As we have been reading this guide to creating a writer's notebook, what have you noticed about the writing structure the author has been using?
Paul Fleischman recently published a book entitled Eyes Wide Open: Going Beyond the Environmental Headlines. In the video clip below you can listen to how he came up with the idea for the book. Listen for the small discovery he made that put the writing of the book into motion. (This annotation contains a video)
Let's Review Chapters 1-4
The author, Ralph Fletcher, gives quite a bit of advice on becoming a good writer on this page. Summarize what you think he is trying to teach us about becoming better writers.
These yellow trees are forsythia. What do you think of the author's comparison to girls with golden curls in ruffled yellow dresses? (This annotation contains an image)
Ralph Fletcher uses the phrases "mind pictures" and "nightmirrors" to
What do you think of comparing your writer's notebook to an alarm clock? Do you think this image will help you pay more attention to what's going on around you?
Mr. Fletcher says you can "train yourself to develop an 'ear for dialogue' as you listen to people's talk". Explain what you might start to do differently that would train your ear.
On the next few pages you will read about how poet Naomi Shihab Nye has kept many notebooks throughout her life. She talks about filling many notebooks with interesting details as her son was growing up. Click the link below to read a poem she wrote called, "Boy and Egg". (This annotation contains a link)
What can we infer about the reason the two fifth graders mentioned on this page keep lists of favorite words?
If the idea of collecting remarkable words interests you, you would love a novel written by Natalie Lloyd called A Snicker of Magic. The main character Felicity sees and collects all kinds of fascinating words! Watch this book trailer to see if it is something you might like to read. (This annotation contains a video)
What reason does Mr. Fletcher give for listing facts you find interesting?
On the next page you will read about the importance that writer's notebooks have had in author Louise Borden's life. Below is a link to her website. Explore a little, and make sure you click on the "about" tab to learn how she became a professional writer. (This annotation contains a link)
What is similar about the points of view of Sara Mae Zerner and Jennifer Young?
Recently the term "sketch-noting" has become popular. It is a way to record information using drawings as well as words. It is very similar to what Mr. Fletcher is mentioning here. Click below to see if sketch-noting might be something you'd want to try! (This annotation contains a video)
Let's Review Chapters 5 - 8
Why has Ralph Fletcher chosen to include this entry and Shavonia's from the previous page in a chapter called Writing that Scrapes the Heart? Include details from the two entries to support your opinion.
"Divorce is a bomb" is a great example of a metaphor. Remember metaphors make a comparison without using "like" or "as."
Which quote from the text best supports the inference that Mr. Fletcher needs this section of his notebook to keep writing.
This author uses a figurative language tool called personification when he states, "...around the wind's shoulder." Watch this short video to learn more about personification. (This annotation contains a video)
What a lovely poem about his grandmother! The poem linked below is also about a grandmother working in a garden. What similarities and differences do you notice? (This annotation contains a link)
According to the author, "writing off the text" means
Mr. Fletcher gives a great description of how to find quartz diamonds. Here is a picture of a Herkimer rock with a crystal inside. Wouldn't that be fun to find? (This annotation contains an image)
According to the author, how is reading a book different than reading your writer's notebook?
The author uses the analogy of the maple sap to keep us from getting discouraged with our writer's notebook ideas. Just think about the amazing writing that will be boiled down from the large collection we keep! (This annotation contains an image)
What two main ideas are supported by the text on this page?
What an interesting metaphor to compare the blank paper to an enemy. Do you ever feel like a writing assignment seems like a war? How might a writer's notebook help "win over the enemy"?
Let's Review Chapters 9-12