Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Here's the latest message from Dena and Corbett Harrison. Enjoy:)

Once again, we will be having a "Mentor Text of the Year" Program at our website; remarkably, this will be the sixth year of this program I started years back.  Each school year, based on a self-selected classroom theme, we choose a special, idea-packed mentor text to find inspiration in when creating monthly lessons to post here at the Ning.  This year our theme will be "The Year of Expository Writing," and we've selected Gretchen Bernabei's The Story of My Thinking to guide our thinking as we create new lessons to feature every month.
Week #3 begins for us tomorrow morning!  My kids already think SWT is the best part of their school day.  You have to teach it with exuberance from the get-go.  If you love it, they will too.  I leave my own writer's notebook out for them to look through, and they pour over my previous days' entries every school day now.
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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Here's another update from Corbett Harrison. Enjoy!

Fellow teachers,
Two days in today to the new year, and my students already asked, "Where is today's [Sacred Writing Time] slide?" when they entered class.  If you are new to our Ning or have not yet discovered our set of SWT slides to use with your young writers, remember, the first month and a half of the set are offered freely at our website (  If your kids like them, only then do we want you to consider purchasing the other 8 months' worth.  We can't teach without them anymore!

(One of the free slides.) teaching colleague, Sue Gonyou,--inspired by our SWT slides--began creating a set of similar slides for her history and social studies classes.  If you're interested in seeing her freely offered draft of her first month's slides, they are attached to the following blog post at our ning:
Have a great rest of your time off, those of you not back in school yet!  Everyone else, teach on!
--Corbett Harrison
Visit Writing Lesson of the Month Network at:
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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Writing for a real audience about real events increases engagement and motivation for most students. Here is an example of how one school capitalized on this situation. Courtesy of ASCD SmartBrief.

Mo. teens learn writing skills by producing newspaper
A group of St. Louis teenagers spent a dozen summer mornings developing their writing skills by preparing news articles for a student newspaper produced through the educational nonprofit StudioSTL. Students have written articles on issues ranging from abuse and stereotypes to the verdict in the Trayvon Martin case in Florida and will produce 1,000 copies of the newspaper to distribute throughout the community. "The ability to see that your hard work is going to pay off is essential," said Beth Ketcher, StudioSTL founder and executive director. St. Louis Post-Dispatch (8/3)
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Sunday, August 4, 2013

Here are some great articles on selecting beginning read alouds. Remember read alouds can be used at all grade levels. It is wise to consider selecting mentor texts for read alouds as well as modeling writing. Enjoy!

Free for All

[For sneak peeks at our upcoming features, quotes and extra links,  follow Choice Literacy on Twitter: @ChoiceLiteracy or Facebook:
Here are two articles from the Choice Literacy archives to help you find the best read aloud to launch the year with your students.
Franki Sibberson is on a quest to find the perfect first read aloud. She shares her criteria and possibilities:
Mary Lee Hahn believes read alouds early in the year are all about helping students learn about each other. She describes her read aloud choices and activities Community First: Using Read Alouds to Strengthen Classroom Connections:
We've asked Choice Literacy contributors to share their plans for first read alouds. This week we share the choices of Donalyn Miller, Erin Ocon, Colby Sharp, Gretchen Taylor, and Katherine Sokolowski:
We're also compiling favorite first read aloud choices of contributors and subscribers on the Choice Literacy Pinterest board First Read Alouds:

The Global Read Aloud is a fun way to share a book with classrooms around the world. A book is chosen, and then classrooms around the world read it aloud at the same pace in the fall. Participants get together through Skype, Edmodo, Twitter, and other social media to discuss the book:
It's the final days for a charter member discount at Lead Literacy, our new subscription website. The emphasis at Lead Literacy is on the "how" of leadership, from designing long-term professional development programs to working with that one disgruntled teacher who has no use for your advice. The It List, our weekly newsletter of new features at Lead Literacy, begins publication next week:
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