Saturday, October 25, 2014

Here is a update from the Harrisons. They have provided a link to a discusion tool that can be used for any lessons on metaphors and similes. Enjoy!

The November "Lesson of the Month" is close to completion, and its focus is on metaphors (and similes too, I suppose).  I know I haven't announced who won last month's "Writer's Notebook Metaphor Contest" yet, and there is a good reason for that; the best metaphors are actually being used by me to inspire the teacher model that will be included in this lesson, so those students will be announced when this lesson goes live on November 1.
We came up with a pretty smart discussion tool for the November lesson, and I wanted to share it ahead of time.  We believe it could be used with ANY lesson on metaphors and similes.
I've just posted the one-page discussion tool at the Ning:
I hope you find it useful and--perhaps--inspiring.
Take care...
--Corbett & Dena Harrison (
Visit Writing Lesson of the Month Network at:
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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Here are some great ideas on word work in the early grades. Coutesy of Choice Literacy. Enjoy

The Big Fresh Newsletter from Choice Literacy
October 4, 2014 - Issue #402

Duct Tape Magic 
The mind once expanded with the knowledge of duct tape never returns to its original size. 
                                                        Shaun Holloway
One day late last fall, I received an order of classroom supplies. The students were excited to see what all the boxes contained.  "Open them now!" they clamored.
Without a teaching point in mind, I began to open the boxes. What was in those boxes belonged to this community of readers, writers, and thinkers.  Post-it notes, chart paper, colored pens, and highlighters were just a few of the treasures that emerged. I was methodical when ordering these supplies, knowing they would be tools to help us think.  I was still surprised at what caught the students' attention.
"Duct tape!!  Oh my gosh!  Angry Birds!  Mickey Mouse!  Owls!  Tie-Dye!  Penguins!  Flower Power!  Peace signs!  Paint splatter!  This is the best duct tape ever!"
Everyone seemed mesmerized by the choices of duct tape.  More important, their next question really changed our writing workshop and publishing for the rest of the year.
"Can we use this tape to make our books?"
At the time, that seemed like a silly question to me. Of course, they could use the duct tape to publish their books and stories. That is why I had spent my budget that way; I wanted resources for them to be independent publishers.
But, after reflection, the question made more sense to me. Looking back at the ways I had encouraged students to publish previously that year, the choices were almost entirely digital. We live in a digital world and I wanted students to be comfortable making their writing and stories public that way.
What I hadn't taken into account was the magic of creating a book, and in this case, the missing piece of that magic was the duct tape found in these boxes. The publishing in our classroom after that order came in grew exponentially.  It turns out that students love to make books; it gives them a feeling of pride and ownership. Unlike digital publishing, creating a physical book yields a tangible product.
The display bookcase in our classroom became jammed with all the books and stories that were being published. It got so bad at one point that books were three and four deep, and we couldn't even see everyone's wonderful work.  I devoted a writing minilesson to deciding together what books could stay and what books needed to be taken home to share and enjoy.
The learning for me in all this? A container of quirky duct tape options, a whole lot of choice in what students write and publish, and voila - books are born and students feel empowered.
This week we look at word work in the early grades. Plus more as always -- enjoy!
Karen Terlecky
Contributor, Choice Literacy

Karen Terlecky has been been teaching for over 30 years. Her new position is as an instructional coach in the Dublin (Ohio) City Schools. Karen is featured on the Choice Literacy DVD Two Workshops: Contrasting Primary and Intermediate Literacy Workshops and blogs at Literate Lives.  

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Here are two features from the archives to help you look at word learning in new ways.
Amanda Adrian and Heather Rader are helping kids learn how to be Word Nerds:
Shari Frost suggests texts for joyful exploration of words in Books for Phonics Instruction: Accomplishing More Than Sounding Out Words

Start a new tradition, All Hallow's Read, by giving out favorite spooky books for Halloween. This is in addition to and not in place of candy -- you don't want your house to get egged:
Here is a fun graphic to start conversations about how long it takes to read favorite books:
The new online course Making Assessments Work for You with Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan will run October 15-26.  The course includes three on-demand webinars, a DVD, book, and personal responses from the instructors tailored to your needs on the class discussion board. Click on the link below for more details: 

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