Sunday, April 20, 2014

Here's a great article on the impact of the CCSS in one school. Courtesy of ASCD SmartBrief

How common core is changing writing in one La. school

Educators at a school in Louisiana say the implementation of the Common Core State Standards has enhanced their school's focus on writing -- not only in English, but across the curriculum, with a focus on narrative, opinion and informational writing. For example, younger students are learning to cite more evidence in their writing. "It's so much more in depth," teacher Denise Cooper said. "Now we are training them at (age) nine to write a claim and back it up with evidence."
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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Here is the Harrisons' latest writing lesson of the month with some ideas for the end of school. Enjoy!

Hello, teaching and writing friends,
Our district's new "balanced calendar" has me enjoying Spring Break today instead of nearer to Easter, but I'm okay with that.  I have had time today to finalize last month's writing lesson, which I never posted due to some crazy life stuff that merged into my lane of life traffic.  I am almost finished with April's writing lesson too; it'll be another week before I'm ready to send out that one though.  Almost back to cruising speed here!  Thanks to all for the well wishes.
  • Writing Lesson of the Month: Primary Source Picture Books:  Between research essays for my class and National History Projects in social studies, my kids didn't need another formal assignment of writing, and so we tied our reading of excerpts from Undaunted Courage with this enjoyable project that challenges students to summarize like Stephen Ambrose did in his recounting of the Lewis & Clark Expedition.  Here is the direct link to the lesson:
  • Need a new Reading Workshop idea for the last few months of your school year?  I was so caught up in working out some of the kinks in my Common Core & Vocabulary Lessons ( that I didn't have a chance to use the Reading Notebook Bingo cards that my wife (Dena) published this last summer at our website until this January.  Dena uses them to inspire weekly entries in a special section of her students' notebooks; I chose to have my students select five of the twenty-five ideas to create a portfolio about their journey through the book they were reading.  After revision, the writing turned out really cool, and I have been posting sixth grade samples of it at a special Pinterest Board:  We do sell these Bingo Cards as a way to keep our website up & running and advertisement-free, and the price is really reasonable, especially since I am now doing the same project with my seventh graders and really don't have to change a thing.  
Keep teaching with both your heads and your hearts.  Write on!
--Corbett & Dena Harrison (
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