Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Here are some great ideas on word work in the early grades. Coutesy of Choice Literacy. Enjoy

The Big Fresh Newsletter from Choice Literacy
October 4, 2014 - Issue #402

Duct Tape Magic 
The mind once expanded with the knowledge of duct tape never returns to its original size. 
                                                        Shaun Holloway
One day late last fall, I received an order of classroom supplies. The students were excited to see what all the boxes contained.  "Open them now!" they clamored.
Without a teaching point in mind, I began to open the boxes. What was in those boxes belonged to this community of readers, writers, and thinkers.  Post-it notes, chart paper, colored pens, and highlighters were just a few of the treasures that emerged. I was methodical when ordering these supplies, knowing they would be tools to help us think.  I was still surprised at what caught the students' attention.
"Duct tape!!  Oh my gosh!  Angry Birds!  Mickey Mouse!  Owls!  Tie-Dye!  Penguins!  Flower Power!  Peace signs!  Paint splatter!  This is the best duct tape ever!"
Everyone seemed mesmerized by the choices of duct tape.  More important, their next question really changed our writing workshop and publishing for the rest of the year.
"Can we use this tape to make our books?"
At the time, that seemed like a silly question to me. Of course, they could use the duct tape to publish their books and stories. That is why I had spent my budget that way; I wanted resources for them to be independent publishers.
But, after reflection, the question made more sense to me. Looking back at the ways I had encouraged students to publish previously that year, the choices were almost entirely digital. We live in a digital world and I wanted students to be comfortable making their writing and stories public that way.
What I hadn't taken into account was the magic of creating a book, and in this case, the missing piece of that magic was the duct tape found in these boxes. The publishing in our classroom after that order came in grew exponentially.  It turns out that students love to make books; it gives them a feeling of pride and ownership. Unlike digital publishing, creating a physical book yields a tangible product.
The display bookcase in our classroom became jammed with all the books and stories that were being published. It got so bad at one point that books were three and four deep, and we couldn't even see everyone's wonderful work.  I devoted a writing minilesson to deciding together what books could stay and what books needed to be taken home to share and enjoy.
The learning for me in all this? A container of quirky duct tape options, a whole lot of choice in what students write and publish, and voila - books are born and students feel empowered.
This week we look at word work in the early grades. Plus more as always -- enjoy!
Karen Terlecky
Contributor, Choice Literacy

Karen Terlecky has been been teaching for over 30 years. Her new position is as an instructional coach in the Dublin (Ohio) City Schools. Karen is featured on the Choice Literacy DVD Two Workshops: Contrasting Primary and Intermediate Literacy Workshops and blogs at Literate Lives.  

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Here are two features from the archives to help you look at word learning in new ways.
Amanda Adrian and Heather Rader are helping kids learn how to be Word Nerds:
Shari Frost suggests texts for joyful exploration of words in Books for Phonics Instruction: Accomplishing More Than Sounding Out Words

Start a new tradition, All Hallow's Read, by giving out favorite spooky books for Halloween. This is in addition to and not in place of candy -- you don't want your house to get egged:
Here is a fun graphic to start conversations about how long it takes to read favorite books:
The new online course Making Assessments Work for You with Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan will run October 15-26.  The course includes three on-demand webinars, a DVD, book, and personal responses from the instructors tailored to your needs on the class discussion board. Click on the link below for more details: 

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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Here is an update from the Harrisons on writer's notebook cards and writer's notebook bingo cards. Enjoy!

I need to spend the next few days busily judging the writer's notebook metaphors that so many or you teachers sent in, so I am going to post the Writing Lesson of the Month now in fear that I might forget to post it later this week.
The lessons (as well as the other three new resources I have been featuring!) are all updated and ready to be used. Here is the link to the LESSON OF THE MONTHhttp://corbettharrison.com/LotM.htm#month
Special News for those who have the whole set of our Writer's Notebook Bingo Cards:
If you don't already own the Writer's Notebook Bingo Cards and were using our complimentary preview for August and September, please know if you wait until September 30 (or later) to buy the set, I might not be able to send you the download link in time for you to have them copied for October 1st.  It usually takes us 12-24 hours notice to send you any purchased products.  We hope you enjoyed using the August and September cards.
If you DO already own the 10-card set, make sure you have fun with the very adaptable recipe assignment (which is the center-square lesson). I'm going to announce a notebook recipe contest at the end of the month, and if your kids practice with the center square lesson some time in October, they'll be ready for the challenge Dena and I are dreaming up!
Later this month we'll be hosting a ABC List writer's notebook contest based on September's center-square lesson--Alpha Genres.  More information on that coming soon!
Have a great Monday tomorrow!  Keep those kids writing!  Give them time to write every day!
--Corbett & Dena Harrison (http://corbettharrison.com)
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Sunday, September 21, 2014

The deadline below has been extended by 10 days. Enjoy. Courtesy of the Harrisons.

Those of you who've been using our complimentary preview of our popular Sacred Writing Time slide set (they're being used on six continents now!), don't forget the last day in the preview is this Monday, September 15, which is "International Day of Democracy."
Oh...but wait!  I have to give you a few more slides to try out: September 15-19 Slides (They're in PDF format.)
Why four more slides, Corbett?  I just can't let you who don't have the whole set of slides not enjoy the national holiday on our Friday, September 19 Slide: "National Talk Like a Pirate Day"  I don't know who invents these holidays, but I always get such funny writing from my kiddos on that day, like this ten-minute sacred writing sample from then-7th-but-now 8th grader Chaz, who loves to read his writing out loud when he can use funny voices and bad accents!  Check out that student sample link from Chaz.  Trust me.  Repin it, if you're a Pinterest person. You can see first-hand what happens when my kids really like their ten minutes of writing sacredly--they take their notebooks home and decorate the page, creating what will surely be one of their "stand-out" pages in their writer's notebooks!  Stand-out pages set the bar pretty high when we start talking about what quality writer's notebooks look like.  This Friday will be a good day to get some possible stand-out pages going.
So I've attached several bonus slides to this e-mail as a PDF file (which will give you the SWT slides for September 15-19), and I hope you'll use them every day this upcoming week to inspire ten awesome minutes of fluency-building writing time.  I'm probably going to warn my kids on Monday what holiday is coming up Friday, and I'll bet many of them start preparing early on what their pirate-worthy writing will be about; I might even offer an extra credit prize (from my bucket of silly prizes) for anyone who arrives for sacred writing on Friday wearing an eyepatch or a parrot, and you watch, they'll do it!  My kids like SWT time that much!
Anyway, those without the set of SWT slides, this is the last chance you have to see if you think they might work at inspiring your writers.  Use these September 15-19 Slides and have a great week of Sacred Writing!
                   --Corbett & Dena Harrison (http://corbettharrison.com)
P.S.  If you've been setting up a solid writer's notebook program since school started, don't forget I announced a Writer's Notebook Metaphor Contest last week; Monday might be a great day to introduce it, and I posted samples that would help you introduce it.
P.S.S.  A final reminder this year that my colleague and friend--Sue Gonyou--created a set of SWT-like slides to use during her classroom history and social studies time.  I enjoyed watching her use those slides with her own kids last week. She has them posted at my website too.  Just click on her name above to visit her page!
Visit Writing Lesson of the Month Network at: http://writinglesson.ning.com/?xg_source=msg_mes_network
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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Another updage from the Harrisons. Enjoy!

In the introduction of A Writer's Notebook: Unlocking the Writer Within You, Ralph Fletcher establishes a fun metaphor about writer's notebooks being like a ditch he remembers from his childhood.  
I like to have my students create and illustrate original metaphors all throughout September; their metaphors have to be about their plans for how they will be using their own writer's notebooks.
I've decided I want to try hosting our first contest for other teachers at the website; my hope is that it'll become an annual thing.  Since I am now calling September "International Writer's Notebook Month," I am looking for original student metaphors--illustrated--and placed near the front of a new writer's notebook as an inspiration.  The metaphors have to be about writer's notebooks.
I'm celebrating the newly revised Writer's Notebook Resource Page at my website by announcing this contest today, which can be found on that page: http://corbettharrison.com/writers_notebooks.html#september  There are some samples from my kids from last year posted.
If the rules don't make sense, please feel free to contact me: corbett@corbettharrison.com  
I'm excited and hope this goes well.  I want to eventually have more opportunities like this at our website.
--Corbett & Dena Harrison
Visit Writing Lesson of the Month Network at: http://writinglesson.ning.com/?xg_source=msg_mes_network
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Saturday, September 6, 2014

Here is an introduction to some changes the Harrisons have made on their Ning.

..finally!  I don't know why my server wasn't allowing me to upload lesson documents this week, but I finally got through this morning, so I have posted it.  If there are any broken links, my apologies, and know I will fix them when I come home from teaching today.
We're trying things differently this year with the Lesson of the Month Page...in a nutshell, here are the changes:
1)  First of all, the new layout at my Lesson of the Month page actually features four ideas/resources worth checking out (as well as access to all past Lessons of the Month).  The four are:
         a)  The lesson of the month, of course, which is called "Heart Parks" this month!   It's a good one.
         b)  A featured page from my own writer's notebook to share with your students, if you'd like.
         c)  A vocabulary/writing idea from our vocabulary packet with lots of new student samples from my kids!
         d)  A favorite slide from our Sacred Writing Time slides that's coming up this month!  I am providing a suggestion about how one of this month's prompts might become a bigger writing lesson that your kids will enjoy.
2)  Owners of our Writer's Notebook Bingo Cards...read this:  This month's writing lesson is kind of special this go-around.  It's part three of a trilogy that I've been working on since 2012.  If you use the link found on the Lesson of the Month page, you will have access to an outline version of all three "Presenting Me!" lessons from the past three Septembers, including the new one--Heart Parks.  Those of you who also have purchased our set of ten Writer's Notebook Bingo Cards, you will recognize the lesson as the "center-square" lesson from the August Bingo Card of topics/ideas.  Because you purchased the 10 Bingo Cards, you should know this: there is a SPECIAL version of the "Heart Park" lesson that contains more samples, a student pre-writing packet, and a special PowerPoint to inspire visual creativity.  So...owners of the 10 Writer's Notebook Bingo Cards...instead of using the link on the Lesson of the Month Page, use the link in the center-square of your August Bingo card and you'll access the bonus materials too.  Don't fret if you didn't buy the whole set of cards; the lesson that is posted at the Lesson of the Month page is completely teach-able without the bonus materials, but I wanted those who supported us by buying the cards to have some extra materials as our way of saying THANKS!
3)  And I am officially declaring September "National Writer's Notebook Month."  My kids, when they read our daily Sacred Writing Time slides, always ask, "How do they come up with these national holidays, Mr. Harrison?"  I honestly don't know, and I can't find an official answer, so I am simply going to declare it NATIONAL WRITER'S NOTEBOOK MONTH!  If you are setting your kids up to love their writer's notebooks using any of the tools from our writer's notebook page, know this: In honor of this self-declared Month of the Notebook, we will begin having small writing contests every Monday.  We will announce them here at the Ning.  Teachers who submit and have their students' ideas chosen as ones I will share with everyone will receive fine rewards.  Starting Monday, look for the first Writer's Notebook Contest of September!
I hope your weekend is great.  I hope you receive this month's featured lesson with enough time to mull it over this weekend and maybe start it next week.  Our kids loved it!
Have a great weekend.  You deserve it.
--Corbett & Dena Harrison (http://corbettharrrison.com)
Visit Writing Lesson of the Month Network at: http://writinglesson.ning.com/?xg_source=msg_mes_network
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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:  http://corbettharrison.com/LotM.htm#month  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: corbett@corbettharrison.com
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: http://corbettharrison.com/writers_notebooks.html
Have a great end of July, everyone!
--Corbett & Dena Harrison (http://corbettharrison.com)
Visit Writing Lesson of the Month Network at: http://writinglesson.ning.com/?xg_source=msg_mes_network
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