Day 27: A Notebook of Noodling

This March I’m “slicing” a piece of my teaching day every day with the Two Writing Teachers community.11454297503_e27946e4ff_h

Over the years I have hoarded bits of my kid’s lives. Notebooks, pictures, scraps of their writing. Little bits of their growing up. Their artwork still hangs on our walls. The larger items, costumes, hockey sticks, kick boards, t-ball stands, awards, and elementary school work, are stored in the garage.

A needed spring cleaning turned up one of my son’s daily school journals. My guess is this was how he started his day. Prompt on the board. It shows the progression of his cursive writing, random illustrations, reflections from weekend conquests to comments about characters in books.  It’s a snapshot of who he was then, hints of who he will become.

The teacher in me couldn’t help but notice that he used every inch of this notebook. That it was full of voice. That the only evidence of the teacher were the prompts.  I couldn’t help but think of my students and wonder, what they walk away with at the end of the year. What does their parent hold on to and store away?

There are their writing notebooks. But a lot of their random thoughts are in their blog posts or google docs.  These posts are filed away in the world of the internet. Eventually, students’ noodlings will be archived. Locked away. No one will open them up eight years from now and read the words written, reminisce about the past.

The artifacts of our lives matter. Journals, notebooks are tangible items. Things we can touch, store and discover years later. As much as I love our world of blogging, there is a lot of good to be found in a notebook of noodling.

As we come to the last few months of our school year, the last few months of my students; elementary school lives, I think a notebook of noodling is necessary. Something to take home, for mom to store away as a snapshot of who they are now.


12 thoughts on “Day 27: A Notebook of Noodling

  1. I like to keep most of my things digital in the class, as I don’t like clutter or papers. However, the students do keep a writing journal for thoughts, ideas and experimentation. They are tatty, dog-eared and messy, but there is some true gold in them!

  2. For this reason, at the end of the year, my students print out and gather their favorite blog posts in a paper booklet or repurposed book. It’s a small way to capture all they’ve written. Those old journals tuck away a part of us. Maybe even a part we don’t want to see.

  3. What a treasure to discover in the garage! I wish I had some examples of my work as a kid, but several moves across the country doesn’t allow for saving those scraps of life.

  4. How fun to look back and see your child as he was then, and as he progressed through that year. You raise a great point about how today’s blogging might be forever lost if we don’t take care, as Margaret suggested, to save at least bits and pieces of them.

  5. I, too, am a hoarder of bits of my kids’ lives. I recently found a similar journal of my son’s and (quite different from you son’s) saw that it wasn’t filled to the brim, but it was a glimpse into his life in 6th grade. I enjoyed reading it, and am even more delighted to know that he is a journal-er today. He loves spending time outdoors and chronicles climbs, hikes, camping, river trips, and more in a little waterproof journal he keeps in his backpack.

    Yes, the artifacts of our lives matter – and I love your ending, challenging yourself as the teacher to get your students to write something “mom worthy,” a simple snapshot into this time in their young lives.

  6. Except for the blogging, my students continued to keep writers notebooks and their field journals (sketching and outside school trips). Many have told me they still have them, cherish reading “who” they were. I hadn’t thought of the kids who are now writing entries online. Perhaps if you print and keep a folder to be bound at the end? I had my students write an introduction to both at the end. Hmm! It’s like those marginalia that will not be with e-books.

  7. Absolutely – those writers notebooks are the key to our classrooms and a window into the kids in the year that they are with us. Glad you spent time with that notebook, Julieanne.

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