Saturday, August 23, 2014

Wow...I'm actually posting the lesson early this month instead of late.  My 9th wedding anniversary falls on August 1, and I always try to spend that day with Dena and not on the computer; then, I'm flying off to present a two-day workshop in Arkansas right before we start up school again.
Our Writing Lesson of the Month:  I have posted the Lesson of the Month, along with my three other new monthly contributions and classroom ideas at this page at the website:  Please note that this month's lesson--"Imp-Int-Exclam Sentence Sets" comes as a PowerPoint file.  If you don't have PowerPoint on the computer you're working from, you can open the PDF-version of the lesson, which can be opened at the bottom of the lesson's description.
Important Update Notice for Those Users Who've Purchased our set of 10 "Vocabulary & Writing Lessons," which we premiered a year ago at our site:  I have been busily updating the 10 lessons that you purchased, adding new details and links to even better student samples for improved student discussion.  By August 5, you will receive an e-mail from me with a download link for the updated versions of the lessons.  It will be sent to the e-mail address you used when you purchased the set of materials. If you do not receive the link by August 5, contact me so that we can update your e-mail address in our database.  Please note: this update will only be sent to those who have actually purchased our "Vocabulary & Writing Materials," which are one of the nine for-sale items we offer at our site.  If you have a different e-mail now, be sure to let me know:
For those of you who head back to school in August (like us): we wish you an excellent first month of school.  Remember, the earlier you can start them liking their writer's notebooks, the more impressive their notebooks will be by year's end.  There are plenty of complimentary ideas and lessons posted on this page to help you start off well:
Have a great end of July, everyone!
--Corbett & Dena Harrison (
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Monday, August 18, 2014

School is beginning and teachers are getting ready. Here is a great resource for the dreaded vocabulary we all hat to teach. Courtesy of Dina and Corbett Harrison.

It's complete as of this morning!  I am really pleased with how my Vocabulary Resource page turned out at our website.  I invite you to look it over; I'm pretty sure you'll all be able to find one usable idea from the many I've posted.  It's my hope of hopes that no one takes my classroom ideas and replicates them exactly; good teaching is about adaptation so that ideas fit the needs of your students and their abilities.  The invitation to adapt has been extended.  
I had an excellent case of insomnia last night and was quite productive, so those of you who purchased my 10 Vocabulary PowerPoint Lessons will have all your updates tomorrow (July 30), not August 5th as I had originally stated.  If you don't receive them and you did purchase the set, let me know, but remember, I'm not working on August 1.  Thanks!
--Corbett & Dena Harrison (
P.S.  I've received numerous e-mails this week from people looking for my colleague's "Transitions in Time" Slides for history curriculum.  Here is the link again:
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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Resources from Corbett and Dina Harrison.

Thanks to those of you who made purchases this last week during our final "Special Rates of the Summer" sale.  We earned enough to keep the Always Write site, this Ning, and the WritingFix site going for another year.  Your generosity is greatly appreciated.
Information you may be interested in if you have purchased our website's products in the last year:
  • All download links have now been sent to those who purchased during this last week; if you didn't receive your download links, let me know...Before writing, know that we've been having some issues with Yahoo and some school e-mail servers mis-labeling us as SPAM.  Check your SPAM or JUNK folder if you didn't receive your link(s), then contact me if your product still isn't there:
  • The Sacred Writing Time slides and our 11 Vocabulary Lessons were all updated this summer, and updates have been sent to all who paid for those products.  If you purchased either product before this summer, and didn't receive either update, contact us at  Make sure you let us know what e-mail you used when you paid for the product(s) through PayPal so that we can verify your purchase.  If you purchased either of those products over the summer of 2014, you did receive the newest version of the product when we sent you the download link.
  • If you ordered our "Reading Workshop Bingo Cards" any time during this last year, know there will be an update to those materials coming out in the next week or two.  We now have created a 6-page "take home" document that you can print and duplicate for your students' binders that briefly explains all 25 of the activities found on the Bingo Activity Card.  It should prove to be a great resource to complement the materials you already have.  Contact us after August 23 if you don't receive the updated materials by then.
If you didn't make a purchase during our final sale of the summer of 2014...Remember that complimentary previews of our most popular products are available.  We want you to try our products out with your students before you decide to buy them, and so we provide the following previews freely:
Dena and I both hope that you can make use of--at least--one of these product previews as the school year begins.  Thanks again for your continued support, and know that some really exciting new stuff will be coming out this school year at the site.
--Corbett & Dena Harrison (
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Friday, July 18, 2014

Here is another great update from Corbett & Dena Harrison ( They are offering some great slides for writing. Enjoy.

First of all, we have completed the entire set of 366 Sacred Writing Time slides, one for every day of the year, including Leap Day.  The set is now 100% complete.  It is a "finished product."  If you are one of our teacher-followers who paid for a "subscription" to these slides and all of their updates over the past two and a half years, you will have the final updated link sent to you by the end of the day; I want to edit the new July slides one more time for typos and punctuation errors before sending out the final link to ours subscribers.
So...if you ARE ALREADY a paid subscriber...and you don't receive the link later today (it's Tuesday), contact me tomorrow (Wednesday) at so we can figure out why the download link didn't come through using the PayPal e-mail address we currently have on file for you.
If you are NOT a subscriber but would like to be before the price for the 366 slides increases this Friday, use this link to investigate this product we offer at our site.
Check out this new link: I have a brand new page at my website dedicated to Sacred Writing Time--tricks, topics, techniques, student samples, teacher models.  I am determined to improve SWT in my own classroom this year (even though it's going quite well at present), and I want to have a place to freely share my newest discoveries and ideas.  Here is the new page dedicated to Sacred Writing Time at my website:
I always love feedback.  I hope everyone's summer is going well.
--Corbett & Dena Harrison (
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Monday, July 7, 2014

Here is July's writing lesson from Dena and Corbett Harrison. It is from their ning at : Enjoy!

...sharing thoughtful, mentor text-inspired lessons your students will love!

July's "Writing Lesson of the Month" is Posted

Remember Goofus & Gallant?  They serve as a "mentor text" for my Writing Lesson of the Month for July, which has been posted at my website:  I taught this lesson in the last few weeks of this past school year, and posting the student samples yesterday and today made me realize how much I already miss my kids.
I hope you'll notice the re-organization of my "Lesson of the Month Page." I am going to be posting three additional resources every month in addition to the lesson.  These new resources will be:
  1. A recent page I've added to my own writer's notebook...because I still want to encourage you to keep a notebook too!  It's not that hard, and your students will love that you're doing it alongside them.
  2. A really original vocabulary activity from one of my students...because I really believe my vocabulary "program" is encouraging creativity on a sophisticated level that the Common Core Standards Police could find no fault with.
  3. A favorite slide for the upcoming month from our Sacred Writing Time PowerPoints...because my kids and I love talking (and sometimes writing) about the information found on these simple conversation starters.
Everybody have a great Fourth of July!  Be safe!
--Corbett & Dena Harrison (
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Comment by Z Hendrickson on Saturday
Thanks so much for your July writing assignment!
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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Here's some more good ideas for writing at the 6-8 grades from Corbett Harrison. Enjoy!

Once again, the simple-to-use "Mr. Stick" proves his worth to me as both a writing teacher and as a keeper of my own writer's notebook.  Check out these newly-posted notebook pages from my 6th-8th graders:
Each May, I sponsor a "Mr. Stick of the Year" notebook challenge.  Only students who've earned a "Mr. Stick of the Week" award from me can enter; all year long, I give out three or four weekly "awards" to students who self-nominate a special page they've been working on in their notebooks.  If they take the time to add a Mr. Stick to enhance their notebook's writing (, then they can self-nominate themselves with a Post-it note and by placing it in my special basket at the front of the room.  This inspires them to make their writer's notebooks more visual, and all it costs me is some dime-store prizes from my extra credit prize bucket.  Each  May, those students who've practiced being visual and won one time in the school year are invited to go "all out" and create a one- or two-page spread that uses Mr. Stick alongside a short, new piece of writing they're proud of.
Each year, the quantity and quality of the entries I receive just keep getting bigger and better.  I give out nine total prizes (I have about 160 total students) and one GRAND prize.  When we start up with notebooks again in the Fall, I show these pages off, and my students' eyes light up.  "We can make our notebooks look like that?" they ask.
It was hard to narrow it down to just ten victors this year, but it's been done, and they are posted at Pinterest:
If you've never used the "Mr. Stick" ideas I freely share (and constantly add to) at my website, I hope these images will inspire you to consider adding it next year.  It's truly the simplest technique I've ever used to help my students LIKE maintaining their writer's notebooks for me.
This is the last week of school for us!  If it is for you too, I hope it runs smoothly.
I'll be posting new ideas throughout the summer.  Keep in touch about them, as I always enjoy hearing from you.
--Corbett Harrison (
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