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One of the unexpected outcomes of being a part of the popcorntheblog team is learning about other inspiring blogs out there on the inter-webs. A favorite new read of mine is theroommoom, a fascinating collection of teacher ideas, parenting tips, and party ideas. In a recent post, theroommom demonstrates how to make a variety of foldable booklets which students can fill with their own writing. I’m always looking for ways to “hook” the reluctant writers in my classroom, so I was inspired to test a few of the designs to see which would be feasible. My favorite is the simple and elegant burrito book.

Once I had made a tester book, my daughter wanted one too. And my son. Within an hour, we each had our own versions of the burrito book. Mine is a “bucket list” of things I want to accomplish in 2013. My daughter made a specimen book for leaves she collected on our morning walk. My son is working on a mysterious tome entitled The Book, written entirely in invisible ink.

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These little books are an inspirational blend of the crafty DIY movement and the self-publishing trend. Seeing words in published form (even in so rudimentary a form as this) embellish it with a seriousness that doesn’t happen with a file on a computer desktop. As a writer, I have stacks of hand-scribbled writer’s notebooks and hastily-typed e-files with ideas languishing in them. These recording methods will not fall by the wayside–a place to jot ideas will always be essential–but these burrito books might be the missing link between the messiness of my writer’s notebooks and the (relative) orderliness of a draft. Here are some ideas for how to use them:

  1. Blog Post Ideas: A dedicated place to keep track of blog post ideas that fit into a day bag? Yes, please! Instead of pawing through scraps of paper or staring at a blank computer screen, record ideas in a cute and not-at-all-intimidating booklet.
  2. A storyboard for a book project: Adrienne Spangler expounded on the importance of outlining in a previous post. A burrito book is the perfect way to give your outline the seriousness it deserves: Publish it! But publish it in a form that can be taken apart and rebuilt when your ideas shift and grow.
  3. A curio-cabinet: Have a collection of favorite quotations? Inspirational references? Advice to yourself for how to take care of your inner writer? Plants you want to include in your dream garden? Make yourself a burrito book and you’ll always know where to find your ideas when you need a refresher.

How would you use a burrito book?