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15 Jan 2020
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50 + Reader’s Notebook Examples for the Classroom

I was reading Austin Kleon’s post, “The Importance of Revisiting Notebooks” and something stuck with me. He talks about the process of writing and journaling and how many times it isn’t till step 4 or 5 that it becomes a blog post. Well, I think that is where I am now. For the past few years, I have been keeping and refining a reader’s notebook. In fact I think I am on my fifth Leuchtturm. It is difficult to have a tried and true process when you first start, but I can say with time and trial and error, I have finally come to one.

My Why

I would venture to say that many of us don’t do things without a good reason. I had my reasons as well. I think it was really a blend of not really remembering what I read and/or doing anything with it when I did read it. I would highlight books and put them back on the shelf but wouldn’t really absorb those lessons and ideas into my own practice.

My Process for Nonfiction Books

I originally wrote about my process in 2017 and detailed it here. It really hasn’t changed much since then for nonfiction:

  1. Read and Highlight: Read a book and highlight as I read.
  2. Tuck Away: Set book down for a few weeks. I find that by putting the book down for a bit, I tend to make better decisions about what highlights were really important a few weeks later and only include those.
  3. Title Page: Create a page that includes the title of the book and the author and the date I am transcribing the notes. I like to mimic the font and color of the book just for fun.
  4. Review Notes: Review the book’s highlights and begin adding info to your notes.
  5. Create a Color Hierarchy: Use only 2-3 colored pens. I try to match the color of the book or the theme. I tend to use one color for headers and one color for subheaders so it provides a nice visual hierarchy.
  6. Visualize with Icons: Icons tend to encompass a multitude of ideas and are easily recognizable. While I can’t conjure and draw these visuals from memory, I am able to look at icon sites and recreate similar visuals.
  7. Embellish Away: Embellish notes with washi tape, stickers, labels, ephemera, library cards, and mementos. Washi tape and labels also serve as a great way to create sections on a page or a visual hierarchy and/or divide.

At the time in 2017, I didn’t have that many examples of this, but now I can share my 7 faves!

My Process for Fiction and YA Books

Since I was writing my second book, Creatively Productive, I was reading more nonfiction books at the time. But then when it came out, I found myself indulging in all kinds of fiction and YA books which were AMAZING and that took my reader’s notebook to a whole new level. My process didn’t really change per se… just really tweaked #2, #6, and #7.

  • 2. Don’t Delay: With nonfiction professional development and industry books, you can typically set them down for a week or so and pick them right back up and still make sense of your highlights… because many times those highlights are a research study, tip, or idea. BUT when you read fiction and YA and try to return to the book a week or so later, sometimes you have forgotten important plot elements all together so I would say start the reader’s notebook process as soon as possible after finishing the book.
  • 6. and 7. Visualize and Embellish with Purpose and Symbolism: Usually, with nonfiction, it is more about gleaning facts and big ideas, but in fiction and YA, symbolism and plot devices are king so I like to choose certain symbols like the guitar in Maybe Someday, key words in Still Life with Tornado, a cassette tape in Eleanor & Park, or the lake in Verity which is similar to the Book Bento process. I also explore color psychology through mood and tone when working with fiction and YA – these two articles provide a great start Color Psychology and Words and Color Psychology and Mood.

I now have about 40 or so fiction and/or YA examples. Each example shows the book cover, a spread from the reader’s notebook, and explains the rationale for some of the visual and design choices.

I should mention that I don’t typically buy supplies specific to a book. I just have an arsenal of stickers, paper, odds and ends, washi, ephemera, etc… and I choose the ones that best fit the book I have in front of me. Otherwise, this process could get very costly.

But Wait… There’s More

As you know, I like to always leave you with OMT. If you are looking for more examples, ideas, supply lists, and student work, I have you covered:

And if you are looking for even more information about reader’s notebooks, Chapter 6 of Creatively Productive has you covered!

FREEBIES AND GOODIES OH MY!

I should also mention that I have lots of FREE trackers and templates that could be printed and put in a reader’s notebook. They can be found in the Creatively Productive Digital Downloads Doc Locker. Just sign up using the form below and you will receive a link shortly with a secret link to the site and password to nab your freebies.

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16 Oct 2019
Comments: 0

3 FREE Reading Trackers for Students

As you well know, I love crafting and creating content and tools for others… whether it be iLesson recipes or templates.

Over the past few weeks, our campus instructional team has been visiting with many of the ELA PLC’s. One of the topics we have been discussing is pleasure or independent reading. More specifically, how often it happens per week, how students complete reader responses, what pathways are being sued for book talks/recommendations, and how teachers are doing student conferences.

Within this discussion, how students are actually tracking what they read also came up. As you also know, I love habit trackers. What you may not know is for the first time in I can remember, I read 43 books last year… and I have to credit that accomplishment to keeping a running tally of the books I had read as well as a reading next list. Both of these tools helped me with momentum and progress… so I decided to create 3 different versions for you and your students to explore.

3 Versions of Reading Trackers

Some students and classes use analog trackers and others digital ones. Some track the different genres they read. Others track the number of pages. And some use a spreadsheet as a bookmark to note where they left on their book. As I can’t possibly address all of the use cases and variables with a tool like this, I created 3 different versions and made sure 2 were editable so you could with them as you see fit.

  • Numbers: The Numbers version is editable and designed for MacBook, iPad, and iPhone. It includes a drop down for genre (which can be modified) as well as a touch star rating system. As this tool is editable*, it is easy for students to add or delete columns easily based on how many books they read.
  • Google Sheets: The Google Sheets version is editable* and almost identical to the Numbers version with the exception that the touch star rating is a drop down. Again, the tool is editable, so feel free to make modifications and/or have your students do so.
  • PDF: The PDF is intended to be printed and shaded in. As this one is a PDF, I don’t have the editable version. I was assured for secondary, that 3 books a 9 weeks would be plenty. If you find that you like this version but would like more books added to it or like it for a 6 weeks, just let me know (techchef4u@gmail.com) and I can create some alternate versions. I should also mention that there is a key at the bottom so students would choose a color to represent each genre and then shade books accordingly after they have read them.

All 3 versions are available in the Creatively Productive Doc Locker (linked below) for FREE!

* Editing. I wanted to make a quick note on editing the Numbers and Google Sheets versions. In Numbers, click on the cell and then Data Format. In Google Sheets, click on the cell and the Data Validation.

What Else?

I never like to leave you without a +1 or a Yes… And… so here goes…

Hope this helps you with your travels down the rabbit hole of all things reading journals, notebooks, and trackers…

FREEBIES AND GOODIES OH MY!

And Don’t forget ALL 3 Reading Trackers as well as lots more templates, digital downloads, goodies can be found in the Creatively Productive Digital Downloads Doc Locker. Just sign up using the form below and you will receive a link shortly with a secret link to the site and password to nab your freebies.

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18 Apr 2018
Comments: 0

8+ Creative Ways to Use to Old Library Cards

UPDATED 4/2021:

As you well know, I love books, art supplies, and journaling. Recently, I started offering a session called “Notable Note-taking”. It is a mash-up of bullet journaling and a reader/writer’s notebook and I blend both analog and digital tools. One of my favorite analog tools is the library card. In the art journaling and mixed media realm and on etsy, this little gem is quite the hot commodity. In fact Heidi Pitri has just published a book entitled Permanent Record using this kickstarter campaign that features artfully embellished ones. She refers to these cards as “borrower cards” or “signature cards” and has created original pen and ink drawings on these cards from classic titles and authors. Check her out on Instagram @heidipitreart to see multiple examples. Oftentimes these library cards are referred to as ephemera (e.g. collectible memorabilia). And if you have a few hours, search “ephemera” on etsy. You will discover 280,000+ results. And a search on etsy of “library cards” provides well over 12,000+ results.

Let’s Love on these Library Cards…

So… I thought I would share some ideas for using these library cards in the classroom… The idea would be to let students choose a card that speaks to them by the title alone and then…

  • Compose a poem
  • Generate a list
  • Create a list of suggested books someone would like if they chose this book (like Amazon)
  • Compose a soundtrack for the book
  • Jot down the first and last sentence of the book
  • Determine what questions this book answers
  • Chart out the chapters this book would include
  • Draft the cover of the book
  • Imagine who would check out this book (e.g. current, historical, literary, fictional)

And here are a few examples of how I have used them in the past in my own journal:

Truly, the sky is the limit for these and how they are used. And remember these can be app smashed with pretty much any tool to create something really amazing. Oh wait… I think I gave away the next part…. 😉

Let Me at those Library Cards

Of course the problem with these signature or library cards is that they are indeed ephemera and at some point, they will run out… so I decided to scan 50 or so of my favorites and upload them to the Creatively Productive doc locker (which you can access below). The beauty of making them digital is that we will have them preserved forever AND now they can be mixed with digital elements. They can be annotated in apps like Notability, collaged and embellished in apps like Pic Collage, and augmented in Thinglink. I hope you enjoy.

Literally Ephemera is Legit

I really try. But I am literally incapable of ending a blog post without leaving you with just a bit more… If you like this idea of ephemera and creative writing, let’s take a quick jaunt. I have curated two Pinterest boards of digital ephemera goodies here (Fuzzimo and Ephemera). These should be FREE downloads of digitally scanned in goods and papers. And if you are like me and want to wholeheartedly tumble down the rabbit hole, I will leave you with some other sites to soften the blow. 😉 These little analog… now digital gems are perfect for visual research papers and assignments as well as some pretty stellar creative writing projects too.

  • The Ephemera Society: They include an item of the month with a description and sometimes historical relevance.
  • Inspired Barn: There are many freebies on this site. Some of my favorites are the book covers and vintage mail.
  • Clearly Vintage: Also fantastic. I love that she shares pictures with descriptions.
  • New York Public Library Digital Collection: They have a ton of public domain vintage images ranging from maps and illustrations to photos and scrapbooks.

Sometimes I share fully baked ideas and sometimes I like to provide all the ingredients and see what you cook up. In this case, I have opted for the latter. Dig into these digital goods and consider how these historical artifacts can and should impact and inform our current art, writing, research, storytelling, and ideas.

FREEBIES and GOODIES OH MY!

TechChef4u now offers a Doc Locker full of freebies and goodies that can be used in the classroom. Lots of resources and templates can be found in the Creatively Productive Digital Downloads Doc Locker. Just sign up using the form below and you will receive an email shortly with a secret link to the site and password to nab your freebies.

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08 Sep 2017
Comments: 1

#ScrapNotes: The Savvy Supply List

In part 3, “PD Note-taking”, I set the stage for how how to make analog notes interactive. And now the time has come to embrace… pens and stickers. If this is just not for you, seriously, no worries at all. I won’t be offended. Skip on to Part 5 “The Complete Guide to People, Ideas, and Inspiration.” But for those of you… and I know there are a few… that geek out over pens, items that are ROYGBIV’d, and clandestine visits to Michael’s and the washi tape section of Office Depot… then this post is for you… and please know that you are not alone. Art Journaling, Visual Note-taking, and Bullet Journaling is a very real thing and I have seen the pastime embraced by students of all ages (HS, College, Grad) and adults alike.

THE SUPPLY LIST

With that being said. I am going to break this post into 3 parts:

  • Note-Taking Essentials: 
    • NOTEBOOK: I prefer a notebook that has a hard cover, an elastic band, and plain pages. The Leuchtturm1917 is turning out to be my favorite so far.
    • PENS: I also love using Sharpie fine point pens. They are awesome and permanent and don’t bleed.
  • Note-Taking Nice to Haves:
    • LABELS: These cost like $1 or $2 at Michael’s but are perfect for accentuating quotes or making lists. As the notebooks I like have thinner pages, these are great to maximize the real estate of both sides of the page too.
    • DOUBLE SIDED TAPE: I love this for adding in items. I like to include library cards for lists, greeting cards for lexicon libraries, and postcards and such.
    • RULER: I can’t draw a straight line to save my life so this is a necessity to have!
  • Note-Taking Icing on the Cake (“Getting Fancy”):
    • STICKERS: I have loved stickers forever and these 3 brands are awesome. I am seriously in love with the 7 Gypsies Architexture series… it is the best!!! The Dylusions set is great because many of the stickers are black and white so you can color them to match your page.
    • WASHI TAPE: I think everyone geeks out over this stuff. Basically pretty masking tapes. And my favorite ones come from Jane Davenport.
    • GREETING CARDS: I use greeting cards in my notebooks to expand the real estate of the page. I typically use them to compose a lexicon library for the book I am reading or to make lists and thoughts that I would like to keep “more private.”
    • PAPERS: I love finding antique papers. They look great in a notebook and these library cards are perfect to make lists.

THE INTERACTIVE SUPPLY LIST and SHOWCASE

This post has actually been on hold for a bit because I have been trying to determine the best way to not only share the tools and why/how I use them but actual examples too. Finally, I had time to not only create an infographic in Keynote but also Thinglink it with all of these resources and examples (linked here and embedded below):
 
 

 

STAY TUNED…

I have also started delivering workshops on this topic of #ScrapNotes and “Notable Note-taking” or “Into the Notebook”. While I haven’t had a moment to share the slide deck or resources, I do have some of the support sites live… check out NoteChef4u instagram for 160+ #scrapnotes examples and Pinterest for 230+ examples and resources to create the “Organized Brain” or at the very least… an organized notebook. I should also mention that all 37 of my interactive notes are posted here.

Erin Barnes at my "Into the Notebook" session at iPadpalooza OU
Erin Barnes at my “Into the Notebook” session at iPadpalooza OU

 

#scrapnotes… the NEXT CHAPTER…

Stay tuned for the next blog posts in the series (or catch up on previous ones):

FREEBIES and GOODIES OH MY!

TechChef4u now offers a Doc Locker full of freebies and goodies that can be used in the classroom. Lots of resources and templates can be found in the Creatively Productive Digital Downloads Doc Locker. Just sign up using the form below and you will receive an email shortly with a secret link to the site and password to nab your freebies.

Receive Access to the Creatively Productive Digital Downloads Doc Locker

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03 Aug 2017
Comments: 1

#ScrapNotes: The Complete Guide to Book Summaries

With my last blog post “#ScrapNotes: How to Begin Your Journey Down the Rabbit Hole”, I hoped to pique your interest and provide information. With this post, it is my intent to share my process. You may have had a sip of the #scrapnotes potion and now your ideas are so big that you can’t seem to fit them through the door… or into your notebook. I may be a bit mad… but the process that I share should help you keep the journal jabberwocky at bay or at the very least… tame him or her. 😉

But before I do that, I would like to share a disclaimer. Please know that I am not one for fads. I am, however, one that shares ideas, tools, and processes that work for me… in hopes that they may fill a need for you too. I also think that the pendulum between analog and digital is always swinging. I went all digital with notes several years ago and for some things… it totally makes sense. But for others… it doesn’t. I began navigating this analog terrain again at the end of 2015. Since then, I have filled up 4 notebooks and started 3 more and I have to say I haven’t felt this organized and happy in years.

MY HOW

With that being said… I would like to snap (wait for the pun… or the Snapguide… in the case) my fingers and share with you my process. For this I felt like returning to the tried and true tool, Snapguide. There are many different things you can do with a notebook and we will cover a multitude of them in the next few blog posts. For this post… I wanted to narrow in solely on the process of reading or book summaries. I enjoy reading (both personally and professionally) and I am one of those people that loves to highlight in my book. What I was discovering is that I had a bookshelf of books with highlights and post-its but no easy way to commit that info to memory or practice… or to easy access…. until now. So here is my process:

  1. Read and Highlight: Read a book and highlight as I read.
  2. Tuck Away: Set book down for a few weeks. I find that by putting the book down for a bit, I tend to make better decisions about what highlights were really important a few weeks later and only transcribe and #scrapnote those.
  3. Title Page: Create a page that includes the title of the book and the author and the date I am transcribing the notes. I like to mimic the font and color of the book just for fun.
  4. Review Notes: Review the book’s highlights and begin adding info to your notes.
  5. Create a Color Hierarchy: Use only 2-3 colored pens. I try to match the color of the book or the theme. I tend to use one color for headers and one color for subheaders so it provides a nice visual hierarchy.
  6. Visualize with Icons: Icons tend to encompass a multitude of ideas and are easily recognizable. While I can’t conjure and draw these visuals from memory, I am able to look at icon sites and recreate similar visuals.
  7. Embellish Away: Embellish notes with washi tape, stickers, labels, and mementos. Washi tape and labels also serve as a great way to create sections on a page or a visual hierarchy and/or divide.

I think it helps to see visuals for each so I crafted a Snapguide (linked here) to do the trick.

Check out How to Create #ScrapNotes Book Summaries by Lisa Johnson on Snapguide.

MY PROCESS

I would like to get a wee bit more granular with this as multiple people have asked me about the organization of this process. While I am transcribing notes, I typically keep a page for:

  1. Research: I am always collecting research and I don’t always want to return to the book to recall a percentage or study. This page is typically a bulleted list. If the book is super research-heavy, then I include 2-3 pages devoted just to this.
  2. Lexicon Library: I am an author and I have always loved words and phrases. Anything that strikes my fancy gets added here. As this is not the main point of the book, sometimes I will paste a card to a page so I can add this info in there so it doesn’t detract from the rest of the content I am summarizing.
  3. Quotes and Insight: I have always had a hankering for quotes. Anything I find especially pertinent gets added here. I do try to use shorthand and abbreviations as much as possible. I also include page numbers. This is also where I start adding icons, illustrations, and visual equations.

The best advice I can give you… is just start. My process has evolved and been fine tuned over the past two years. If I had waited for it to be perfect, I would never have discovered which way to go. After all… sometimes when you wonder… you find your path.

#scrapnotes are BORN!

If I am using my Moleskine or Luechtturm1917 (which I do for my book summaries), then the pages tend to be a little thinner. This is when I take notecards, postcards, scraps of art, or really anything that adds to the content (both in idea or visually). I add these items in with permanent double-sided tape. Then, I get fanciful with my embellishments and add washi tape and stickers. The items also provide a nice visual hierarchy. Honestly, you could totally leave the fanciful embellishments out, but I have to tell you… this is one of my favorite parts and what makes me so happy each time I open a page to review my notes. Another thing I have noticed is that these visuals tend to heighten my memory for the book and the process. I can often remember where I was when I took the notes and what I was doing at the time.

Please don’t forget to check out NoteChef4u instagram for 80+ #scrapnotes examples and Pinterest for 180+ examples and resources to create the “Organized Brain” or at the very least… an organized notebook.

#scrapnotes… the NEXT CHAPTER…

Stay tuned for the next blog posts in the series (or catch up on previous ones):

FREEBIES and GOODIES OH MY!

TechChef4u now offers a Doc Locker full of freebies and goodies that can be used in the classroom. Lots of resources and templates can be found in the Creatively Productive Digital Downloads Doc Locker. Just sign up using the form below and you will receive an email shortly with a secret link to the site and password to nab your freebies.

Receive Access to the Creatively Productive Digital Downloads Doc Locker

* indicates required


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