Conversation Notebooks

I'm going to let you in on a little secret today.

A teacher friend let me in on this secret last year, and I love, love, love what it's done for my kiddos and the community in my classroom. (If you're reading this, HI JULIE!)

They're called conversation notebooks.

What the heck is a conversation notebook?!

It's a little bitty notebook. (It's little. So right off the bat, who doesn't love that?!)

It's a private conversation between you and each of your students.

It's been HUGE. in developing a trusting, open relationship with my students.


Now. Conversation notebooks do take a little extra time in our oh-so-busy teacher lives, but in my experience with them, it's been so, so worth it!

At the beginning of the year, I bought these mini spiral notepads at Walmart. They were 88¢ for a pack of 4 during the Back to School sales! I printed out little labels, and BOOM they were ready to go!


In each little notebook, is a private conversation between me and each of my kiddos. There are times during the day that they can write in it, and they can write as often as they want! They do have to check in minimum once a week, though. 

My munchkins LOVE that in their notebooks, they can tell me ANYTHING IN THE WHOLE WORLD. They can tell me anything from what they had for dinner last night to a question they have that they're too nervous to ask in class. They can tell me if something in math is feeling really tricky, or they can tell me about a book they loved. They can tell me about friends bothering them, or how a new friend made them feel really good! I've had quite a few tell me things in the notebook that they don't want to say in person, in fear of being a tattle-tale in their friends' eyes. This is a safe place to let me know about something that's bothering them.

When we write to each other, we write our notes like a friendly letter! Anything for a little extra practice! :o)

Our notebooks live in this little box. I take it home, and as I read the things my munchkins write to me, I get little glimpses into them. It's a way to connect with each kid, even if you don't get too much out of them on a regular basis in the classroom!


It's a big exercise in trust, but in the nearly two years I've done this, I've never had an issue. It's only strengthened our classroom community!

Would you use conversation notebooks in your classroom? How do you build your one-on-one relationships with your students?


6 comments

  1. I love this idea! Do you have them keep their notebooks in their desks, or do they stay in the container? How do you know when they have written you a message?
    Thanks, Emily
    scheinbere@hotmail.com

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  2. This is a precious idea! I have a mini mailbox in my room where the students write notes or suggestions to me. This is a really sweet idea though! I may use it in the future!
    Thanks for sharing!
    - Kat @The Spunky Teaching Monkey

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  3. Hey Emily! These notebooks are wonderful! I have really enjoyed reading your blog and have nominated you for the Liebster Award! Head over to my blog to check out the details; http://mybrightbunch.blogspot.com/
    -Amy

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  4. Love this idea! How do you know when one has written in the notebook?

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  5. I use an online version of this activity with 6th-8th grade literacy intervention students. It is a great tool to get to know your kids and they get to practice their writing skills. My students write once a week as an assignment. It's one they don't seem to mind!

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  6. I love this. I have been doing something similar with one of my toughest kiddos and it has made a huge difference. I love the idea of doing it with all the kids. I may have to try that next year! By the way I have been reading your posts and see what a huge Julia Cook fan you are. We read her books almost every week! Love, love, love the skills she addresses in all of her books.

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