Saturday, January 11, 2014

Strting the new year with Dena and Corbitt Harrison! Authors of Writing Fix! Enjoy!!

Happy 2004, fellow teachers and writers!
My New Years Resolution?  I'm figuring out how to make my writing instruction even better this  year!  I'm currently working on a new resource that will randomly and quickly divide my different-sized classes into reading or writing discussion groups, and the tool that shuffles them requires them to try out a few new vocabulary words when they sit down with their groups as part of our class transition; I'm excited to try out these "group sorting" tools this spring and work out the kinks; then, I will decide if they're something that will go up at the website as a product.
Speaking of products...August/September are often the craziest times to start new classroom routines, and many of you (me included) struggled with implementing new things at the start of this 2013-14 school year. January/February are perfect times (in my opinion) to try again anything you knew was a good idea but perhaps was pushed to a back-burner in the chaos of school opening.  Those of you who purchased but still aren't regularly using things like our writer's notebook Bingo cards, Sacred Writing PowerPoint slides, or our newer Vocabulary/Writing lessons and Dena's new Reader's Notebook Bingo cards, this could be the best month to bring them out and establish (or re-establish) the routine.  Winter-to-Spring is a great time to "try out" a new routine, so you can de-kink  it before the 2014-15 school year.
An Update:  In Northern Nevada this year, we don't have to go back to school until January 13th this year, which is right now making some of you grumble at me because you're already back...and I'm sorry.  I am working this week though, spending some time finalizing some new navigation tools at the website.  I've discovered if you add a new lesson to your website every month, it's starts becoming a little cluttered; I am working on fixing that.  I want people to be able to easily access all the past lessons we've featured at the "Writing Lesson of the Month."
I'll post January's lesson by the end of the week; I'm waiting to hear back (over e-mail) from one of my kids whose sample I want to post; as soon as I have that permission, I will post that lesson officially.
LESSONS ACCESS:  In the meantime, if you have the time, I'd love for you to take a moment to analyze the new layout I've created for my two most popular lesson collections online:
  • As always, my daily, weekly, and monthly writer's notebook routines serve as the "glue" that holds my mini-lessons and writer's workshop expectations together. At my Writer's Notebook Resource Page, I've added a lot more student samples, more access to additional samples (through my Pinterest boards I've been creating), and I've added a few new resources and lessons that didn't previously have links to them.  Check out the for a fresh set of ideas for your students' writers notebooks.  
  • My vocabulary routine has become totally solid, and I'm really stoked by that; it's wonderful to hear my kids using such rich words in their writing and speaking.  Now that our weekly vocabulary task has become "routine," they're starting to stop thinking about the task as much, so I'm adding a few new surprises to our weekly vocabulary activities in class.  At the newly-redesigned Vocabulary Resources Page, you'll find so many new samples from both me and my students.  I hope you enjoy and use at least one of the ideas.  Try out the "Personifying Vocabulary Words" Powerpoint lesson, if you don't know where to start; my students LOVE to personify vocabulary words now, and they spot personification in our reading so easily.
Look for January's lesson to be posted in the next 72 hours.  If you're back at school today, hang in there!  If you're heading back next week, take advantage of that extra time to set a "better writing instruction" New Year's Resolution for yourself.  
Have a great rest of the week!  Yours in good teaching...
--Corbett & Dena Harrison, Writing Teachers (
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