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Notebook Know-How

A Christmas tradition in my family (yes, Christmas, stay with me here) is to visit Barnes and Noble during vacation and spend the day there reading and purchasing books.  One of the books that I picked up was Notebook Know-How by Aimee Buckner.  My sister mentioned that she owned it already.  That's the best part of having a family full of teachers - we share materials!  

Anyways, she finally delivered it to me last week.  Notebook Know-How is an inspiring, easy read for any writing teacher.  It reminded me of The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller, but for writing instead of reading.  

In her book, Buckner includes how to set-up and utilize a writer's notebook with you students.  She shares tips on how to make it work in your classroom.  Buckner starts with recommending that you allow students to personalize their notebook as a way of making it truly their own.  Here's a picture of mine!

She then provides explains how her students' notebooks are set-up.  She keeps it simple.  Starting in the front, the students write daily entries (both at home and in school).  Most of these entries are free-writes, allowing students to express themselves.  

Working from the back, the students keep track of the strategies that they learn during mini-lessons.  This is where they take notes, place anchor charts and practice the strategies that she teaches in class.

In the book, Buckner includes lots of writing strategies for fluency, expanding topics, genres, and editing.  She also shares examples of her mini-lessons and student work to help explain the importance of these strategies.

I found this book to be extremely helpful, especially for the older grades (she's a fourth grade teacher).  It has definitely inspired me to start creating Writer's Notebooks with my students next year.   I highly recommend picking up this book and I know that I will be looking into her other titles as well!

P.S. ~ I was not contacted to promote this book or author.  I simply picked up Notebook Know-How after a recommendation from a friend and chose to share my own thoughts on it's content.


  1. I love this book! I read it two years ago, and I still refer to it. It is so much fun seeing how the students decorate their notebooks in the beginning of the year. (Yours turned out great, by the way.) I also really like how she recommended to organize the notebook with all the lesson materials in the back. I use almost all the lessons from the beginning of the book for setting up the notebook and adding ideas, and I frequently refer back to the book throughout the year. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the book. I agree with all of your praises for it!

    Have a great week!
    Fit to be Fourth

  2. This sounds like a great book! I am glad you shared it. I love writer's notebooks and this sounds like a great way to set one up!
    Conversations in Literacy


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