Monday, April 29, 2013

Teachers First is a great FREE resource for all teachers. I have provided you with a link to their featured sites. Take a few minutes and browse their sites. You will find many that lend themselves to writing. Enjoy!

Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find practical review and individual support:
  • Extensive IWB resources
  • A clever writing tool, now improved
  • Math help and a math "word processor"
  • Amazing nature video and audio
  • Daily infographics
  • Two amazing tools
  • A place to collect your thoughts and words
  • A no-membership-required mind map tool
  • Slave stories
  • ELL and grammar help

And MORE. IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this May 5 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived April 28 Features here, and don't miss our many additional recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page.

May your least successful student(s) discover an accomplishment to be proud of as the month of May begins.

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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Another message from Corbett and Dena Harrison. Enjoy:}

Last Friday (our last day before Spring Break began this week), school administration interrupted my Travels with Charley quiz to bring our whole team down to the activity room, where it was announced that a nice award had been given to me.  Our International Reading Association, based on all the lessons I've post and help other teachers post freely, are giving me a nice something-to-hang-on-my-wall in a few weeks, and they wanted to make sure they said nice things about me in front of my students, who won't be able to attend their banquet.  Anyway, it was an honor, and it--of course--fueled me up to spend my whole Spring Break preparing and planning new materials for the next school year.  I thought I'd share the following plans with those of you who follow my work:
1.  My September vocabulary lesson (A Classroom of Logophiles) goes down--according to me--as being my best new lesson of the year.  I will be awarding five special, notebook-friendly ribbons to my five students who have maintained the best vocabulary collections this school year in May.  If you haven't checked out all the teacher-submitted vocabulary collection cover pages that teachers from around the country posted, you should:  Anyway, as you know, Dena and I both create a new for-sale product each summer to add to our online collection; I have adapted so many ideas and collected so many student samples all year long from my vocabulary collectors, that I will be publishing a brand new "Turning Your Kids into Vocabulary Collectors" PDF packet this July.  The "Classroom of Logophiles" will remain online as a free-to-use lesson, but the new packet of supplementary materials will become available this summer.
2.  Dena--who has grown tired of reading chapter summaries and taking (blech!) AR Tests to prove students are reading, is designing a new product this summer called "Reading Notebook Bingo Cards," which will be completely separate though a nice complement to our "Writer's Notebook Bingo Cards."  She has been designing engaging and writer's notebook friendly prompts that will have students respond creatively and at high levels of Bloom's taxonomy to the reading they have done in the past week.  Hopefully, she will be cable to convince her school to be a little less dependent on AR Points, and more dependent on meaningful writing based on students' chosen books.  Dena will be rolling out her new Reader's Notebook Bingo Cards in July too.
3.  I'm still looking for a good book to feature as this next year's "Mentor Text of the Year."  My district and the Common Core Standards are demanding more essays from my writer's workshop, so I'm leaning towards Gretchen Bernabei's Reviving the Essay, but if anyone has a good mentor text that really would help make essay writing fun, I'd love to know the title.  Please feel free to send it to me.
Well, off to get the puppy his final round of shots.  Hope I didn't leave any typos in this quickly-written summary of my Spring Break planning.  Enjoy your weekend, everyone.
--Corbett (and Dena) Harrison (
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Monday, April 15, 2013

Corbett Harrisson posts his April Fool's 6 + 1 Traits April Lesson. Enjoy:}

Crazy day of April Fool's pranks from my kiddos.  You?  At one point, I went next door to pick up a print-out and came back to find all my desks upside-down and the kids giggling.  Gotta love 12-year-old humor once a year, I guess.
I just posted the Writing Lesson of the Month and the Writer's Notebook Prompt of the Month at my website.  I hope you enjoy them.
  • Lesson of the Month:  Song Parodies  My kids love to write new lyrics to familiar tunes.  Here is my complete lesson on that idea!
  • Writer's Notebook Prompt of the Month:  Inventing Collecting Nouns  This is actually a game my wife and I play in the car that became a page in my writer's notebook.  Enjoy!
  • Remember, all past lessons (seven years' worth!) can be accessed any time at the archive at my website!
Thanks for all your kind words about our completed set of PowerPoint Sacred Writing Time Slides.  It's an honor to send a monthly lesson out to all of you wonderful educators out there.
--Corbett & Dena Harrison (
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Monday, April 8, 2013

Teaching students about descriptive writing is always a challenge. Here is a great idea - coutesy of ASCD and SmartBrief.

Teaching descriptive writing with video games
High-school English teacher Jason Sellers has found a way to use video-game programming software to help his students with their descriptive writing skills. Students use sites including Playfic and Inform 7 programming software that allows users to create basic video games using natural language instead of code. "You hear a lot about gaming and engaging kids in STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] subjects, and I wondered, what does gaming look like in English?" Sellers said. School Library Journal/The Digital Shift (4/3)Bookmark and Share

Monday, April 1, 2013

Here are some great resources from Corbett and Dena Harrison. Enjoy:}

Happy Easter!  I am so very happy to say that in the last half hour, we sent out updated download links to all of our 1000+ subscribers of our PowerPoint Sacred Writing Time Slides.  This final download makes available the entire set of edited slides, from August 1-June 15.  This will be the final update we send  Woo-hoo!
If you are a subscriber and didn't receive the e-mail, first check your SPAM or JUNK e-mail folder; Gmail accounts are best known for mis-labeling us as SPAM.  If they are not there for March 31, e-mail me at and I will immediately resend you the download links.
If you are not yet a subscriber, freely try out the first 15 slides for April with your student writers (, and then subscribe if your kids enjoy the ideas and prompts.  On April 15, the price for the set of now-finished slide will increase $3.75.  To subscribe, click on this link.
To our subscribers...thanks again for your patience.  This has been a monumental task for us to complete, and we are so glad the set of slides is finished!
--Corbett & Dena Harrison
Visit Writing Lesson of the Month Network at:
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