We are in a global pandemic. The upcoming school year is filled with uncertainties and unknowns and it can be frightening. School is something we’ve always been able to depend upon without much thought. Now, teachers are scrambling to make successful learning environments for the students. Teachers do this...they rise to the occasion. While doing research for my own teaching, I’ve discovered something that's been troubling to me...it’s the digital notebook. I’ve seen post after post and tweet after tweet with fancy templates to create digital notebooks that students can use when we return to school.
What is a notebook? (An analog notebook)
A notebook is a physical space in which a writer writes regularly. It’s a collection of pages-paper- where writers express themselves. A notebook is a place to collect, to think, to reflect, to risk, to escape, and to grow. A notebook can be a place for comfort. A notebook is a place to get what’s inside my head OUT of my head. It’s a powerful writer’s tool. A notebook isn't just one thing, it’s a place to be messy and try new things. It’s a place to struggle through uncertainty and celebrate successes. It’s where I learn.
This resource, the analog notebook, may be a challenge to manage in our COVID teaching lives, but it’s too valuable to let go. Writing on a laptop or a tablet isn’t the same as the writing that goes into the notebook. It feels different. The words we use are different. The entire experience is different. Let's think about why we need to continue with analog notebooks with students. Here are some of the most important reasons why I will notebook with my students this year.
I urge you to go to your analog notebook right now and figure out what you really think about continuing this practice with your students. If you don’t have one, today’s a perfect day to begin!