Sunday, March 15, 2020

Keeping a Notebook...Together (Revised September 2020)

Dear Friends,

My name is Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, and I am a current fourth grade teacher, children's book author and writing teacher of over twenty years. As many students have been learning from home and many educators are seeking virtual teaching resources, last spring I wanted to offer something to young people and all wish or need to write a little during this time.

I welcome you to KEEPING A NOTEBOOK, a series of brief daily writing talks that began in the middle of  March and ended at the end of June 2020. These talks are for everyone, and if you are very young, you might wish to write with an older person you love. Writing together is a gift.

You will find each video in the Padlet below my signature (click the box in the upper right to enlarge), and I welcome you to share these at home or at school. There are no ads, and I ask for nothing in return as I simply wish to share my love of writing and expression.

If you wish, you may read more my letter to families. Please feel free to print it from the link and to share it along if you wish.

You may find a chronological list of these camper chats here. Please know that each writing chat may stand alone and need not be viewed in order.

Much love to you and yours.


ps - Know that you can enlarge these videos by clicking the square in the lower right hand corner of each one.


Second Grade Teacher Mandy Robek shared these thoughts with me:

I’m learning remote learning is hard and rewarding. Each day I’m sharing these videos with my students for keeping our writing notebooks active via Seesaw. I’m getting video responses that are insightful about my students as writers and humans. They are reflective about Amy’s advice and try it on their own or take their writing in a new direction. I can just tell they feel empowered as writers in their video sharing.

Made with Padlet
Click to Enlarge


Please know that Sharing Our Notebooks welcomes all kinds of notebook keepers - of any age and interest - to open up their pages and share their process.  At the present time, I am not posting regularly here, but if you wish to share your notebook here, please contact me, Amy, directly.

Please share a comment below if you wish.


  1. Thank you, Amy....for this gift of coping during a strange time for our students. You continue to inspire me!

  2. You’re amazing! Love your quote collection and I adore Katie’s idea of memorizing a poem while washing hands. I’m doing it. Together, we’ll get through this!

  3. Amy thank you so much for this! We started poetry in earnest about a week before our last day (visited the poem farm, used the jewelers loupes to observe and sketch nature, wrote about them and tried a haiku). I am beyond thrilled to offer this to my students when I can't be with them. I hope they all try it with me. Kathy Roncinske, Fairport CSD

  4. This has been really helpful for me as a teacher, and also to share with my students. Thank you for helping us keep our notebooks (and ourselves) together!

  5. I love this Amy , thanks for all that yo do, and all that you are willing to share. It is a blessing to call you friend.
    Elaine Dennis

  6. Thank you, Amy. I am using and adapting your wonderful videos and ideas with 10th graders. Your website is a treasure. Stay well. :)

  7. You are such a joy to listen to/watch. Thank you for sharing, and for giving me the idea to get more word cubes!

  8. Hi, Amy--I'm just discovering the gifts you are offering to any and all...I'm not able to use this with PreK, but it's comforting just knowing you are here!


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