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The Promise of the First Page

The Promise of the First Page

On the first day of school the first thing that I wanted was my own Writer’s Notebook.  Then on Wednesday I was thinking, okay, maybe Levia forgot so I gave her one more day, and on Thursday she gave me my Writer’s Notebook.  That’s all for now.                      -T.W.

Finally, on the third day of school, I gave the Opal 4 students their Writer’s Notebooks.

As a teacher of young writers, I wonder, how do an author’s tools of the trade look in our learning community?  How do Writer’s Notebooks support writers?  How will my students develop a relationship with their notebooks and with themselves as writers and how intertwined is the tool with the writer’s developing craft?

I have also learned that the best place to start to look for answers to big questions like these is with the young writers themselves.

“Cracking open” is a technique we use to look deeply inside a word or an idea to see what gems might live inside.  Think of a geode – it looks like a plain rock on the outside, but when you crack it open you find beautiful crystals.

Just before I handed the notebooks I asked the class, “What happens when you crack open ‘Writer’s Notebook’?”

This is the chart we created together:

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And while you might find all of those words and strategies in a Writer’s Notebook, there is a bit of wonder in there as well:

A writer’s notebook is special.  It can catch time and never forget like a spider’s web.    A.W.

As I sat ready to give the students their new notebooks, I showed them the first, pristine, blank page and shared my connection to it.  I love the first page.  I love the way the pen moves on it, like skating on an ice rink just after the Zamboni has been there.  I love how clean and uncluttered the writing space feels and I love how clear the words on the first page appear.  To me, the first page is full of promise – the promise of an empty notebook.  So, I asked the class,

What promises does your Writer’s Notebook hold for you?

Here are some of the responses I found – all on the first page:

I hope my Writer’s Notebook takes me around the world.           –D.O.

The wind keeps blowing
The sun keeps shining.
Life goes on.


First Page
My notebook will hold all of my thoughts.  It will be a friend that keeps secrets; it will catch important moments and memories in time.  It will tell stories, and it will comfort me when I’m sad.  It will never disagree with what I think.  And it will always listen.

It will never make me sad, but it will help me be happy by listening.  It won’t make fun of or insult me.  A notebook is a silent friend that only a writer can talk to.                          -A.W.


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What This Notebook Promises me This Year

  1. I hope it makes me a better writer.
  2. I hope it gets me through the school year.
  3. It promises pages to write in.
  4. It provides something to do when I’m bored.
  5. Something to get bored doing.




I want a light to come on in here,
A light to inspire, to give emotions, feelings and more.
And maybe one day my dream will come true.


I hate the first page of my Writer’s Notebook because if you mess up your notebook could be ruined and you just don’t know what to write and you get the notebook and since I have filled up most of my notebooks with doodles and other stupid stuff and sometimes I even rip out the first page.  My favorite page is the seventh page ‘cause you’re already done with your first page and when you get to the seventh page you’ve probably already ruined your first page.                         -S.B-M.


The First Page…

Hopes for This Year.
Letters turning into words under my pencil.
Then to sentences.
Flowing, flowing,
Filling page after page with memories,
and much more as well. 


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September 17, 2011

One response to “The Promise of the First Page

  1. I loved reading this, Levia! We’ve all worked so hard to make writer’s notebooks a meaningful tool at Opal. It’s so amazing to see the children knowing so deeply how valuable and useful they are. I hope it’s a tool they’ll carry with them forever. Such a powerful way to pay attention in this world. Thank you for sharing!

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