I have so many wonderful things to say about this book! Using the Writer's Notebook in Grades 3-8 by Janet L. Elliot is an outstanding professional book in the art of teaching writing. This book is a publication by NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) therefore if you are interested in purchasing this book, you will find it here.
When I browse through the table of content in this book, several key words caught my attention right away: children's literature, units of study, poetry, engaging boys in writing.
As we all know, some professional development books are full of theory which we all need, but I would also hoped that a lot of these great foundations of educational theory we would have learned them in college (I hope!). And then, there are professional books with lots of ideas that you find yourself underlying or highlighting every other line in the book! Well, Using The Writer's Notebook in Grades 3-8 is a powerful professional books with lots of great ideas for your classroom. It includes several children's literature suggestions to go along with the different units or mini lessons, and also a great list of other professional books on the topic of writing.
Janet L. Elliot suggests and encourages teachers to be observers of language, to pay attention to beautiful language, to record it, to share it. As an ESL teacher, I strongly believe in her words. When I was learning English as Second Language myself in South America, I kept a journal of "English Words I Love". It helped me learn English, and it worked for me. I truly appreciate her putting these ideas in everybody's mind.
One of my favorite line in this book in the topic of "sharing" after writing workshop is "If I skip sharing, I lose 50% of my teaching and learning potential"(p. 54)
I keep a little composition notebook by me when I read professional books because I like to write ideas, or thoughts that come along as I am thinking and learning. I looked back in my notebook and realized I have written pages and pages with insights, and ideas. I feel strong and fresh when I finished reading a book that empowers me. I believe that regardless of how many years you have been teaching, whether you are a first year teacher, or has been teaching for several years, you will find this book inspiring, resourceful and useful.