Saturday, November 24, 2012

National Writing scores are once again dropping! Here is an idea of how to bust student success. courtesy of ASCD Smartbrief

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  • How to help students learn to write through practice
    Students must practice writing in short, daily exercises to develop the fluency needed to become better at writing formal, graded papers, says high-school English teacher Mary Tedrow, one of three educators who contributed to this blog post. One writing exercise Tedrow suggests is to lecture for five to nine minutes, have students write notes for that lecture and then have students read it to a class partner. Tedrow also says students will be less reluctant to write when the subjects are familiar. Education Week Teacher/Classroom Q&A blog (11/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Lesson of the Month from Corbett Harrison!!

If you receive a "Service Unavailable" message while trying to access this month's lesson, kindly try again in a minute or two.  "Service Unavailable" simply means there are too many teachers simultaneously logged on to the website, and I thought my new & improved server would be fixing this issue by now, but it isn't.  I apologize; I don't like receiving "service unavailable" messages from websites either, so I hope you'll forgive if you receive it!
  • The "Lesson of the Month":  Narrative Story-boarding inspired by David Guetta's song "Titanium"  This is a very visual assignment to help remind students of the different purposes of the different steps of the writing process.  The was a highly engaging lesson for my students because they liked inferring ideas from the song and the music video that goes with it.  Here is a direct link:

  • The "Notebook Prompt of the Month": An extension on last month's Fetching the Binoculars verb lesson, my students continued their exploration of "25-cent verbs" by researching, re-writing and illustrating one of the labors of Hercules in their writer's notebooks.  I have added the extension to the bottom of last month's lesson; here is a direct link: And here is a link to Hannah's notebook page, which took top honors in our "Mr. Stick of the Week" award when she submitted it a few weeks back.  It's worth a look, and it'll thrill Hannah to know you saw her verb-filled notebook page!
Have a great Thanksgiving.  Looking forward to sending out (saying this optimistically) December's lesson at the improved server that can handle all this new traffic we're receiving.
--Corbett (and Dena) Harrison

Friday, November 9, 2012

Reluctant Writers - some thoughts from Choice Literacy!

In Motivating Reluctant Writers with Journals, Laurie Wasserman presents practical and fun suggestions gleaned from working with students who range from autistic and writing far below grade level, to gifted and bored:
Many teachers have had success with the Storybird site for reluctant writers. This site helps writers of all ages create interesting illustrated stories:

Friday, November 2, 2012

Here are some great writing ideas from Choice Literacy. Check them out! Remember Free Rice is for younger children, older, and also can be used to teach foreign languages. Enjoy!

The Big Fresh Newsletter from Choice Literacy
Ruth Ayres shares a list of her current thinking on teaching conventions at the Two Writing Teachers blog. It's an excellent companion to our month-long series on conventions:
Here's a big list worth pondering. Jeff Anderson discusses Ten Things Every Writer Needs to Know in our latest podcast:
Longtime readers of the Big Fresh know Free Rice is one of our all-time favorite websites. Visitors test their vocabulary knowledge, and contribute grains of rice to help eradicate world hunger at the same time. We were delighted to discover they have expanded their reach, and now offer content quizzes beyond vocabulary. Our new favorite is their famous quotes quiz -- if you are a quote collector, you will enjoy testing your knowledge of the authors of these sayings: