Thursday, February 26, 2015

Writing Ideas for February. Sorry these are late. Courtesy of the Harrisons.

These are both past "Lessons of the Month":
President's Day?  I love the idea of creating an anachronistic live newscast for something in Washington or Lincoln's life!  In the days before live reporters and their camera crews, have students recount one of the president's feats in a news reporters words:  You can do this lesson without either of the cited mentor texts, but both are excellent books to have, if you don't.  Be sure to check out the example from my writer's notebook with a reporter on-site at the site of George Washington crossing the Deleware.
Valentine's Day?  My oft-so-cynical middle school writers groan when I tell them we're going to create "Love Metaphors" for Valentine's Day, but when I play Pat Benatar's "Love is a Battlefield" as my mentor text, they realize I'm giving them permission to talk about love in a way a Hallmark Card wouldn't:  I use this lesson as a gateway into my March writing challenge, which is when I ask them to create metaphors for favorite topics in history, science and math. Writing across the Curriculum?  Yes, I have that in place, Common Core...thank you for asking.  
Have a great week next week!  Make writing fun!
Visit Writing Lesson of the Month Network at:
Bookmark and Share

Friday, February 20, 2015

Here is another note from Corbett Harrison on Writing Fix. Enjoy!!

You know me--I'm all about having a mentor text when I present just about every writing lesson.  Go visit the mentor text page at my personal website if you want to read my philosophy that developed from this regular practice of mine:
Great News for those looking for easy-to-access writing lessons: WritingFix has a quick-reference bibliography page for EVERY lesson that uses a picture book or chapter book as a mentor text.  A lot of WritingFix users have never used this page.  You can scan all the books cited by author or title, and if you spot a book that you know is in your classroom or school library, there's a direct link to that book's lesson at WritingFix.  You can quickly see ideas our writing teachers had for their favorite mentor texts using this page.
I just posted this blog page that will direct you to how to find the bibliography of mentor texts at
Instead of finding a lesson and having to buy the mentor text,this convenient page was designed to let you locate lessons based on the books that may already be sitting on your bookshelves at school.  It was also designed to be a place to send your school's book order person when you were shopping for new titles to stock your school library with.
Thank you to those who've already contributed to our "Save WritingFix until 2020" cause:
--Corbett Harrison
Visit Writing Lesson of the Month Network at:
Bookmark and Share

Thursday, February 12, 2015

In case you've forgotten how GREAT WritingFix is...a note from Corbett Harrison

We'll be sending a weekly email out for the next ten weeks, celebrating ten favorite resources that inspire student writing...all from the WritingFix website!  Trust me, these are ten resources (from over a thousand at that not-for-profit site) that you will want to know about and probably bookmark.
WritingFix Resource #1 that's Worth Remembering:  the "WritingFix for Kids" prompt collection.  Here are 14 word games that--we guarantee--will make your students first laugh and then write.  We wanted these to specifically appeal to K-6 writers.  Read more about it and link to this simple-but-effective resource from this post at the blog:
Visit Writing Lesson of the Month Network at:
Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

February's writing lesson of the month from the Harrisons. Enjoy!

Come celebrate and review action verbs with us this month!
We just posted February's 'Writing Lesson of the Month' at the website.  Use the link below to not only access this month's VERB LESSON, but you will also discover a deluxe page from my own writer's notebook, a Writing- about-Vocabulary strategy, and a Sacred Writing Slide that I hope you'll use to see how your students might react and respond to our SWT slides.
Lesson of the Month Link:
Remember, you can always peruse all past lessons from this complimentary "Writing Lesson of the Month" service here:
--Corbett and Dena Harrison (
We thank you for the continued kind words, especially about our bountiful supply of student samples which live in our various Pinterest boards:   A great way to put a  creativity flame under your student writers is to show them thoughtful pieces of writing created by students their own age; our Pinterest board exists to ignite student creativity and motivation!
Visit Writing Lesson of the Month Network at:
Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Another update from the Harrisons. Enjoy!

I am  proud to say that I don't teach grammar in any way that would be considered traditional, and my February lesson of the Month (which is almost complete!) will show some of the creative techniques I use in my approach to reviewing and teaching grammar and all that grammar terminology found in Common Core.  For the February Writing  Lesson of the Month, I will be focusing on learning more about VERBS, and my lesson--I am pleased to say--will come with no grammar worksheets at all!
Quick side note: I like it when my students make "quizzes" for each other in their writer's notebooks during their ten minutes of Sacred Writing Time.  A truly thoughtful interactive writing notebook should beg to be passed around and shared, and creating a quiz on one of your pages is a great way to encourage such sharing.  Now, back to grammar...
To teach my students grammar, I find tricky ways to sneak grammatical knowledge into what feels like creative writing challenges to my students.  My two- and three-word sentence challenges secretly help my students understand the difference between transitive and intransitive action verbs.
This afternoon, I had a wonderful time creating a "grammar quiz" about transitive and intransitive verbs to house in my own writer's notebook.  The lesson that I've been building for February will make use of this teacher model, and the lesson will explain in great detail exactly how I'm going to have students create similar quizzes for their own classmates as we review transitive and intransitive verbs.  I doubt my students' quizzes will be as fancy as mine, but we'll see...they surprise me sometimes when they see a carefully-built teacher model ahead of time.
In the meantime, I thought I'd throw you this challenge: CAN YOU PASS MY 10-SENTENCE QUIZ ON TRANSITIVE AND INTRANSITIVE VERBS?  Here's a link to my blog post that I just created, and if you click on the picture of the new page from my writer's notebook, you should be able to see the page with enough details to make out all of my three-word sentences:  
Let me know if you pass or not!  :-)  Just don't have to!  I'll bet most of you pass, but I know my 8th graders won't even though we learned these terms last year as 7th graders. 
--Corbett Harrrison (
Visit Writing Lesson of the Month Network at:
Bookmark and Share

Sunday, January 25, 2015

January Writing Lesson from Corbett and Dena Harrison. Enjoy!

Everything's uploaded and working.  My students are very much enjoying the option of creating an imaginary phone app description for new vocabulary words they have found, and they will be thrilled to know you are looking over their samples that I have posted.
Here is a direct link to the January Writing Lesson:
Here is a direct link to December's lesson, if you missed it:
--Corbett & Dena Harrison
Visit Writing Lesson of the Month Network at:
Bookmark and Share