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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