The Notebook

Project #1: The Notebook

This project asks you to establish and maintain a notebook (paper) in which you write consistently. This notebook enacts the double-entry notebook concept of Ann E. Berthoff, the philosopher whose textbook we are working with this semester.

How to do it: 

  • Keeping the paper in the notebook, fold the page in half, vertically
  • To the left of the margin line, write the date of each entry or series of entries
  • I recommend writing only on one side of the paper (keeping the backs free for later reflection)

What’s the point:

  • Writing is a way of working with meanings. The meanings we make, when we write, come from…everywhere. And our own meanings—whatever they sound or look like—matter. This notebook encourages you to notice meanings out in the world and record them in such a way (on the left side of your notebook) that opens space for making your own meanings (on the right side of your notebook) from those you consume.
  • Your writing is text. All writing is writing. At all stages. Your meanings matter, your writing matters. You are meaning full/meaningful. Good writing happens when you begin to understand this fact of your humanity. This notebook offers space and opportunity to read your own writing (and each others’) as text.
  • Research is a matter of making meanings from meanings (information). “Research,” like all language acts, requires interpretation. Again, the meanings you make (with the meanings you find or experience) matter. This notebook encourages you to become aware of research as an act of signification, a language act, and thus something you do all the time already.


  • Minimum: 25 substantial entries that demonstrate an interaction with the ideas discussed in class and offered in the readings. (B)
  • More than minimum: At least 10 more entries in which you apply this interaction with ideas to experiences outside of this class (home, work, other courses, other readings). (> B)

Assessment Date:

  • Week 5 (September 18, 19, 20, 21, 22)
  • In preparation for our conference, go back and read all of the left-side notes you’ve taken over the course of the last several weeks. Count each entry and record the number. Move some of your right side notes to the left side of the notebook: on the right, what is your mind doing? **You might use the back of the page for these reflections: When do you find something surprising or interesting happening in your writing? Is reading the writing easy? Clear? When is the writing confusing or muddled? Why do you think so? Bring your notebook to our meeting.
  • How did you do on the project? Does it achieve the project goals? Does the work qualify as “A” quality work? Why or why not? What grade does the work achieve and why do you say so?