English Language Arts
Material Type:
Assessment, Lesson Plan
Middle School
  • Lesson Plan
  • Writer's Notebook
  • photography
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
    Media Formats:
    Downloadable docs, Text/HTML, Video

    Education Standards

    Writer’s Notebook Assessment & Work Day Lesson Plan

    Writer’s Notebook Assessment & Work Day Lesson Plan


    This is a resource for an assessment for the common practice of writer's notebooks. The resources includes a 2-day lesson plan, rubric, sample, and resources for students to use. The assessment is focused on students sharing, editing their writing, and searching, attributing, and using images in a way to provide clarity.


    Teachers have students write regularly in writer's notebooks of a variety of beneficial reasons. Polishing and publishing several of these entries in a website portfolio will provide students a real audience and purpose (motivation), the use of various tools of expression (engagement), and an opportunity to be guided through writing as a process (draft, revise, edit, and publish).

    This resource is an assessment for writer's notebook participation. Students will prepare a social media post with an image and polished piece of their writing on a social media platform, group chat, or class discussion on the class LMS.


    Age-Group: 6th graders, but adaptable to other grades

    Time frame: 8-15 writer's notebook entries; two 50-minute class periods for lesson and portfolio work time

    Format designed for face-to-face, but teacher can make video of instruction to adapt for asynchronous remote learning


    Thumbnail image: by "Student" by CollegeDegrees360.

    Background for Teachers

    To use this resource, you will need to be familiar with the practice of writer's notebooks. Check out these professionals for ideas of using writer's notebooks in your classroom:


    Step 1 - Goals and Outcomes

    Step 1 Goals and Outcomes

    Learning Intentions:

    Students will be able to include multimedia to aid comprehension. (WS 6.2a)

    Students will be able to produce clear and coherent writing that is organized and stylized for their audience (their peers and family members) and their purpose (sharing their experiences and voice with others). (WS 6.4)

    Students will be able to strengthen their writing by rewriting, revising, and editing. (WS 6.5)

    Students will be able to use the internet to publish writing as well as interact and collaborate with others. (WS 6.6)

    Students will be able to write routinely. (WS 6.10)

    (And prepares students to be able to include multimedia components and visual displays in presentations to clarify information. (SL 6.5)).


    Success Criteria:

    Students include a photo (properly attributed or their own work) with a title overlayed on top of an image.

    Students include 5-7 sentences of their own writing.

    Students post their wiring on their photo or as an accompanying "caption."

    Students' final images and writing are posted on Instagram, Facebook, VSCO, a group chat with 2+ other people, or a class discussion board.

    Step 2 - Planning Instruction

    Step 2 Planning Instruction

    Student Background Knowledge

    Prior to this lesson, students will need to have an understanding of how writer's notebooks work. Likewise, students will need to be familiar with writing as a process and good practices for revision and editing. Students will also need to feel comfortable sharing at least some of their own written work and photos with other students.

    *It is super important students know that this assignment/work day will be coming as they participate in writer's notebook prompts before this.


    Strategies for Diverse Learners

    • Change assignment to poster not social media post if parents/students/school is concerned; students can share on LMS discussion board or can print and exhibit work that way
    • Provide several iPads, old Smartphones, or other camera options for students to use in class if they do not have their own means of taking a photo and they want to take one (not find one)
    • Allow students to complete this assignment in their native language
    • Allow students to dictate at least half of their writing if that would help them develop the skill of regularly processing their ideas into writing
    • Provide personal examples for students
    • Allow students to share their work with peers or friends before publishing
    • Allow students to bring suggested modifications for sharing if they are nervous about sharing their work
    • Provide students short community-building activities to scaffold sharing their work: sharing their favorite sentences with a partner, sharing a favorite idea with a partner, TPS regularly during class
    • Provide video tutorials on using Adobe Creative Cloud to help students learn skills if they are absent, need a review, or have a hard time hearing in a class setting
    • Provide built-in class time for conferencing with students or pulling back small groups to encourage them or help them select or polish a writer's notebook entry

    Step 3 - Instruction

    Step 3 Instruction

    Present the assignment to students and give them work time.

    Link to resources slide


    Day 1, 50 minutes

    5-10 mins Your class routines OR bellwork suggestion--see slides

    10 mins Review assignment sheet with students--see slides

    2 mins Allow students to ask questions about the assignment.

    2 mins Share your example (or mine)--see slides. Have students think, share, pair their response to this question: "How does the image help people understand the writing in the example?"

    2 mins Have students look through their notebook quietly, select 2-3 good options of responses to polish. Have students share their ideas with an "elbow" partner.

    5 mins Provide students a quick tour of possible resources--use the information on slides. You could share the slideshow with all of your students and then show them how to use the resources available on there.

    20-30 mins Allow students to get started working. Make sure to be an active part of their process of selecting a piece to polish and getting started.

    2 mins Have students stick a sticky note in their notebook on the page of the response they will use in their assessment (you can look at a few of these before the next class period).


    Day 2, 50 minutes

    Students have the first half of the class period to work on their product. While they work, encourage students to (all materials accessible on included slides): 

    • work with peers to get their opinions, feedback, suggestions, feel comfortable in class
    • refer to Adobe tutorials posted on your LMS
    • set up a quick and not-too-distracting photo shoot if they can't find a stock image they like (you can provide the tutorials to help them out--see slides)
    • refer to the list of resources to find images with appropriate licenses for their use
    • meet with you about questions or work with your small group if they have had a lot of absences or struggle to work independently!

    Students submit their Writer's Notebook assessment on your LMS via a shareable link AND/OR post a link on a Padlet.

    The second half of class: Students find 3-5 partners (depending on time) to share their work with and discuss as a class:

    - what was your experience like finding a photo?

    - what did you think about while preparing/making changes to your writing before sharing?

    - what did your photo add to your writing?

    - when else could you use Adobe or these image resources?

    Step 4 - Assessments

    Step 4 Assessments

    See instruction section for questions, questioning/discussion strategies, suggestions for students submissions, and link to slide with rubric.