Course Description


This is an online version of the 2-day Mini Course we have facilitated in South Australia for the past ten years - Introduction to Writer's Notebooks

This is a hybrid eCourse. The majority is self-paced, as you work through the modules in your own time, at your own speed. There are also two opportunities for a live Q&A and Sharing Session with Lisa Burman over Zoom. This will be recorded if you're unable to make that particular time. 

Zoom Q&A #1 - Wednesday 8 June 2022 @ 7:00pm Adelaide time

* it will be expected that you have completed Modules 1, 2 & 3 by this first date *

Zoom Q&A #2 - Wednesday 29 June 2022 @ 7:00pm Adelaide time

We hope you enjoy this online version and gain inspiration for creating cultures of 'thinking like writers'. I look forward to collaborating in our first Zoom session! 


Text & media

What is this eCourse about?

This mini-course is most suited to educators working with young writers in Years 3-7.

Being a writer is more than knowing how to put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard. Understanding how to craft effective writing to convey an intended message involves complex composing decisions alongside knowledge of language conventions. Strong writers think about their audience, the purpose for writing and select the most appropriate crafting techniques for their needs. They learn to think like a writer: collecting ideas for writing, thinking about word choice, sentence fluency, structure and how to bring authentic voice to their writing.

Many teachers (and schools) have recently embraced a strong genre-based pedagogy for writing. This has strengthened the knowledge base of educators and has resulted in far more explicit teaching of text structures and features. 

This writing may be well structured, but unfortunately much of it can be uninspiring to read! The writing lacks voice and uniqueness and writers are not skilled in techniques to create a well crafted piece of writing. Too many developing writers believe that “good writing” means ‘writing a lot’ or ‘getting all the spelling right’. Writer's Notebooks have the power to transform writing lessons: young writers begin to care about what they write and teachers have a way to easily connect grammar, crafting and spelling lessons to authentic writing.

We have supported many schools to create a whole school approach to the teaching of writing, through a Writing Workshop approach that begins with the Bookmaking and introduces Writer's Notebooks at around the Year 3 mark. The pedagogy is the same - only the 'container' for the writing changes. So, if your EY writers are already making books, this is the perfect next step to stretch them in Middle and Upper Primary. 

Lisa Burman

Lisa is an educator who sees herself as an ‘every-day researcher’, fascinated with childhood and learning. After a number of years teaching and leading primary schools in Australia, she consulted in and around New York for ten years. Her highly regarded consultancy business is now based in Adelaide, South Australia. Lisa’s interests include early childhood education and care, imbedding and contextualizing the principles of the Reggio Emilia educational project within learning environments, play, literacy learning, inquiry learning and strengthening children’s connections to nature. She is passionate about pedagogies that see children as capable and competent learners who are skilled in researching life and making connections. Her favourite work is side-by-side with children and educators in their learning settings. Lisa has presented at a number of national and international conferences, including REAIE Landscapes of Imagination Conference (Melbourne, 2016), International Reading Association Annual Convention (Chicago, 2006), Australian Literacy Educators Association Annual Conference (Darwin, 2006), National Staff Developers Association New York State Conference (Rochester, 2006) and National Association for the Education of Young Children Annual Convention (Atlanta, 2006). Each year she is invited to present keynote addresses and facilitate workshops at regional and international conferences. Lisa writes a quarterly newsletter and is presently working on ideas for her second book.Her first book was published by Redleaf Press and is titled “Are You Listening? Fostering Conversations that Help Young Children Learn”.

Course curriculum

  • 1

    Welcome from Lisa

    • Welcome!

    • Troubleshooting Guide

  • 2

    Module 1 - Philosophical Foundation

    • Module 1 Journalling Guide

    • Module 1: Philosophical Foundaton

    • Interview with Anton

    • Interview with Lucy

    • Evidence Base for Writing Workshop

    • What is Writing Workshop?

    • Writing Workshop Glossary

    • Time to Write by Amanda Bartram

    • Tips for Writing by Amanda Bartram

  • 3

    Module 2 - Structure of Writing Workshop

    • Module 1 Journalling Guide

    • Module 2 - Structure of a Writing Workshop

    • Introduction to videos

    • Sentence Length Mini Lesson - Year 4

    • Writing Conference with Isobel, Year 3

  • 4

    Module 3 - Getting Started with Writer's Notebook

    • Module 3 Journalling Guide

    • Module 3.1 - Getting Started with a Writer's Notebook

    • What's in a Notebook?

    • Alan Wright on Using a Writer's Notebook

    • Module 3.2 - Getting Started

    • Alan Wright - Choice in Writing Workshop

    • Module 3.3 - Getting Started

    • What is a Writer's Notebook? Family Brochure

  • 5

    Module 4: Planning for Purpose and Engagement

    • Module 4 Journalling Guide

    • Module 4.1 - Planning for Purpose and Engagement

    • Module 4.2 - Planning for Purpose and Engagement

    • Components of a Mini Lesson

    • Mini Lesson Planner

    • Context for Mini Lesson

    • Read like a Writer mini lesson - Years 6&7

  • 6

    Module 5 - Read Like a Writer

    • Module 5 Journalling Guide

    • Module 5: Read Like a Writer

    • Read Like a Writer

    • Some Crafting Devices

  • 7

    Certificate of Participation

    • Certificate of Participation


fee includes 5 Modules, downloadable resources and 2 live Q&A Sessions with Lisa

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Commonly Asked Questions

I’ve never done an online course before – what is it like?

I personally talk you though a series of slides that you’ll follow at your own pace on the screen. You have control over how slowly or quickly you work through each Module. The downloadable Reflection Journals support your thinking with key points from each Module and guiding questions and prompts so you can make connections along the way. 

How long does each Module take?

It is difficult to know this exactly, because everyone learns at their own pace and will take different amounts of time to journal and/or discuss with colleagues. However, a rough estimate is that each Module will take approximately 45 - 60 minutes.

Two live Q&A Sessions with Lisa Burman (via Zoom) are also included. A link will be emailed out in the week prior.

Do I need to do the Modules in order?

Yes. The Modules are designed to build on each other and need to be followed in order. However, you can always return to a previous Module if you want to review anything.

How long will the whole eCourse take?

Again, this is hard to know as your personal schedule will determine how often you can engage with the online materials. You will have 6 months to access to all materials, plus the downloadables to keep. 

Do I get Professional Development credit for the hours of professional learning?

At the completion of Module 5, a certificate of participation for 7 hours will be supplied to you. (This is based on 1 hour per Module and two hours for the live Q&A sessions.)

How does it work if I purchase a Team Registration?

We all know we learn so much more when we have the chance to talk about our thinking and listen to others’ ideas. I recommend that each participant has his/her own individual log-in to work through the modules independently and then get together to share and discuss (the Reflection and are really helpful for this).

Email Mel at with the names of your team members and she will send you a discount code. You qualify for the team discount if there are more than 5 participants from the same site.

But what if I don’t have a team to learn with?

Don’t worry! You will still get a lot from the eCourse if you need to learn on your own. In fact, even if you’re learning with a team it is a good idea to journal your ideas. The Reflection Guides will support you in this. And…one of the reasons I decided to use Thinkific as the hosting site for my eCourses is each eCourse has a Discussions capacity. So if you like to feel connected to some others who are learning through the eCourse at the same time as you, you can post ideas or questions in the Discussions and build some online connections. I check in on the Discussions each week too.

What technology do I need?

All you need is a computer with speakers and access to a reliable internet service. The course modules have been thoroughly tested across multiple devices and browsers and are all functioning correctly, but occasionally some users run into issues. These are usually related to specific computers, internet browsers, internet connections or school security firewalls.

To avoid the frustration of being blocked by your site’s security firewall (which unfortunately we can't control), we recommend that prior to beginning the eCourse, you contact your school’s ICT/Network manager about removing any security block on the eCourse or Thinkific site.

We also find that GoogleChrome is a more reliable browser for the Thinkific platform so you might like to use this from the start.

What do I get for this Registration Fee?

  • Access to all 5 Modules for 6 months
  • Reflection Journal for each Module
  • Downloadable.