Writer’s Notebook – Space for Revision

Writer’s notebooks are all the rage these days and they’ve led to notebooks for all subject areas. Now to be clear, I’m not referring to notebooks that contain worksheet after worksheet glued in. I’m talking about authentic writer’s notebooks that include some reference tools from the teacher, some evidence of guided practice, and plenty of real student writing. These authentic notebooks are a fantastic tool for housing student work in various stages of the writing process. But how do you make space for revision in your writer’s notebook? Even if you skip lines or pages, sometimes you need another way. Enter the Revision Sidebar!

A sidebar is a nonfiction text feature where additional information or explanation is provided with a main article. It’s housed in a box, or bar, alongside the main text.

Example of a sidebar in a 2nd grade text
Example of a sidebar in a 2nd grade text

 

Sidebars can be useful for revision purposes because they provide the extra space writers need to change a large portion of text. The Revision Sidebar I created is the appropriate size for a composition book (my favorite notebook for writers). Two sidebars fit on one page of printer paper, so they’ll need to be copied and cut in half before students use them.

When making big changes to their writer’s notebooks, students write their revisions on a Revision Sidebar sheet and reference the main text in some way (numbering the changes, making stars or bullets, highlighting, you get the idea). The gray box along the side of the Revision Sidebar sheet shows students where to put the glue to attach the sheet to their notebooks. It’s glued to the back of the student’s notebook page and sticks out to the right of the notebook. This way it doesn’t cover up any of the writing the student has in their notebook, and it can be easily folded in when the notebook is closed. Neat and tidy! Here’s a sample of the Revision Sidebar in action:

The Revision Sidebar sheet provides plenty of room to add to a notebook entry
The Revision Sidebar sheet provides plenty of room to add to a notebook entry

 

Fold in the Revision Sidebar sheet before closing your notebook
Fold in the Revision Sidebar sheet before closing your notebook

 

If more room is needed, students can write on the back of the sheet, or they could glue on additional Revision Sidebars and flip through the pages as they revise.

How do your students handle revisions in their notebooks? Do Revision Sidebars sound like a tool your students could use? Download a copy and try it out in your classroom!

 

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