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traits and mentor texts


Welcome. My name is Corbett Harrison. I have been an educator since 1990, and a teacher-trainer and University adjunct professor since 1998. I specialize in teaching writing using differentiated instruction techniques. I also focus on critical thinking skills, especially during the pre-writing and revision stages of the writing process. I retired from the classroom in June of 2019, and I will continue to consult with schools, districts, and states who are more interested in developing quality writing plans, not buying from one-size-fits-all writing programs.

Beginning over the summer of 2019, I will be available once again to train teachers your school or district if you would like to hire a qualified and dynamic trainer. You can find general information about my workshops here.

If you would like to check my availability for a specific date or dates for the 2019-20 school year, please contact me at this e-mail address. My calendar is already fillling up with workshop engagements.

 

Always
Write & WritingFix

 
       Because writing--when taught right--can be the most enjoyable part of your teaching day, we maintain this website to provide fresh ideas and lessons for teachers.

our "always write" homepage | email me | writingfix | pinterest | facebook | teachers pay teachers | twitter | youtube | linked in  

Every teacher should have a favorite writing lesson. If you don't, I hope you'll seek one from this page.

My classroom writers' workshop not only taught writing skills and the skills needed to complete the steps of the writing process, but Writers' Workshop also taught the importance of keeping deadlines. Papers are going to become due. Prepare ahead of time. No procrastination.

While teaching at some point in the 2000's, I gave myself this ambitious project: once a month, create a write-up that would walk another teacher--no matter what their students' ability level--through one of my favorite writing lessons. My plan was to use these lessons I wrote as I participated in our classroom workshop with my students (you have to bring a piece of writing you're working on to participate, after all). I wanted to have something I was writing I could discuss with a response group. I wanted to show I could keep a deadline, and I wanted to demonstrate my skills in organizing myself to make sure this task was completed monthly. My students learned while I posted these lessons monthly; my website, coincidentally, grew.

Thanks for finding this page. I am very proud of the original ideas and adapted ideas we feature here, and we hope they prove useful to others.

This Month's New Lesson and Sacred Writing Time Slide
August 2019's New Lesson of the Month Write-up
August 2019's SWT Slide
We call ourselves #AlwaysWrite because that's our website's general theme: every day, make them practice writing. Sacred Writing Time (SWT) is a crucial part of my classroom's writing routine, and each year I must re-train my new students how to search the world for their own writing topics. This month's lesson shares twenty of my techniques for generating excitement about SWT and writer's notebooks. Over two summers, Dena and I worked together to create this set of 366 daily slides that provide four daily ideas for possible writing topics: 1) a national holiday, 2) a trivial fact of the day, 3) a quote of the day, and 4) a vocabulary word of the day. Even our students who don't use these slides for the daily writing topics love to read and interact with them. Their daily presence goes a long way to establish a classroom writing environment.

Since the 2012-13 school year, I have been posting a lesson idea/resource for teaching writing each month. On this page, you will find lesson links to my entire archive of these lessons. Every lesson on this page is completely free to access, and I encourage you to use and adapt all handouts, resources, and suggestions in the lessons. These write-ups show how I make it work with my students, but I know you have your own style of teaching when it comes to generating excitement about a writing lesson. So adapt these ideas. NEVER accept a script for teaching and recite it verbatim. ALWAYS find a teaching idea you like, adapt it to make it work for you, and then go teach the heck out of it! That's advice from a teacher with 30 years under his belt.

2019's Writing Lessons of the Month
January '19
February '19
March '19
April '19

Our Writing Lesson:
First Class School Bus Seats

Our Writing Lesson:
Themed Food Menus

Our Writing Lesson:
Pi & Pie Poems

Our Writing Lesson:
Superlative Stories/Essays
inspired by Mo Willem's mentor text Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! inspired partly by Alexandra Day's mentor text Frank and Ernest inspired partly by Derek Munson's mentor text Enemy Pie inspired partly by Brian Cleary's Breezier, Cheesier, Newest and Bluest
May '19
June '19
July '19
August '19

Our Writing Lesson:
Original Superhero Origins

Our Writing Lesson:
Crayon/Color Poems

Our Writing Lesson:
Rules Justified Spuriously
inspired by Bob McLeod's mentor text Superhero ABC inspired by Mary O'Neill's mentor text Hailstones and Halibut Bones inspired by David Wisnieswki's mentor text The Secret Knowledge of Grown-ups inspired partly by Marissa Moss' Amelia's Notebook series.
September '19
October '19
November '19
December '19
Check back around September 1. Check back around October 1. Check back around November 1. Check back around December 1.

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2018's Writing Lessons of the Month
January '18
February '18
March '18
April '18

Our Writing Lesson:
Odd Tweets & Texts

Our Writing Lesson:
Non-Linguistic Representations

Our Writing Lesson:
Decalogues/Ten Rules

Our Writing Lesson:
What's in its Bucket?
inspired partly by Aaron Reynolds and Matt Davies' Nerdy Bird Tweets inspired partly by Jeannie Baker's wordless mentor text Window inspired partly by David Letterman's Top Ten Lists inspired partly by Dr. Seuss' Oh, the Places You'll Go!
May '18
June '18
July '18
August '18

Our Writing Lesson:
Notebook Text Battles!

Our Writing Lesson:
The Movie Got it Wrong!

Our Writing Lesson:
Launch a Vocabulary Workshop!

Our Writing Lesson:
Intro to SWT and Notebooks!
inspired by Shakespeare and Bret Wright's mentor text YOLO Juliet inspired partly by Eric Carle's mentor text The Very Hungry Caterpillar inspired by Peter H. Reynolds' The Word Collector inspired by Peter H. Reynolds' Happy Dreamer
September '18
October '18
November '18
December '18

Our Writing Lesson:
Expository Frog Hooks

Our Writing Lesson:
Monster Sketches

Our Writing Lesson:
Prepositional Phrase Poems

Our Writing Lesson:
Acrostic Vocabulary Riddles
inspired partly by David Wiesner's Tuesday inspired by Mercer Mayer's mentor text There's a Nightmare in my Closet inspired partly by Istvan Banyai's wordless mentor text Zoom inspired by Bob Raczka's Lemonade

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2017's Writing Lessons of the Month
January '17
February '17
March '17
April '17

Our Writing Lesson:
Notebook Fortune Cookies

Our Writing Lesson:
Notebook Elections

Our Writing Lesson:
Develop An Ear for Oxymorons

Our Writing Lesson:
Vocabulary Frenemies
inspired partly by Grace Lin's Fortune Cookie Fortunes inspired partly by Doreen Cronin's mentor text Duck for President inspired by Jon Agee's Who Ordered the Jumbo Shrimp? inspired partly byJ. Ruth Gendler's The Book of Qualities
May '17
June '17
July '17
August '17

Our Writing Lesson:
Human Nature Haikus

Our Writing Lesson:
Camera Phone Snapshots

Our Writing Lesson:
Launch a Vocabulary Workshop!

Our Writing Lesson:
Intro to SWT and Notebooks!
inspired by Celeste Manniss mentor text One Leaf Rides the Wind inspired by John Sheirer's mentor text What's the Story? inspired by Peter H. Reynolds' The Word Collector inspired by Peter H. Reynolds' Happy Dreamer
September '17
October '17
November '17
December '17

Our Writing Lesson:
Sensational News

Our Writing Lesson:
Language Comics

Our Writing Lesson:
Edge Postcards

Our Writing Lesson:
TRI-Bute Pages
inspired by Jacqui and Colin Hawkins' FairyTale News inspired by Jon Agee's mentor text Palindromania inspired partly by Robin Pulver's mentor text Punctuation Takes a Vacation inspired by research from Stephen Kramer's Tornado

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2016's Writing Lessons of the Month
January '16
February '16
March '16
April '16

Our Writing Lesson:
Mid-year Writing Resolutions

Our Writing Lesson:
Historical Tour-guide Scripts

Our Writing Lesson:
Vocabulary Haikus

Our Writing Lesson:
My Own Darn Math Curse
inspired partly by Chris Van Allsburg's mentor text The Z Was Zapped inspired by Holly Young and Cathy Morgan's mentor text Help Wanted at Mount Vernon inspired by Jack Prelutsky's mentor text If Not For the Cat inspired by Jon Scieszka's Math Curse
May '16
June '16
July '16
August '16

Our Writing Lesson:
Writing Like an Artist Paints
inspired by sample movie posters from classics of the horror genre inspired partly by Bertrand Brinley's The Mad Scientists' Club inspired by Robert McCloskey's mentor text Homer Price inspired by a passage from by Blue Balliett's Chasing Vermeer
September '16
October '16
November '16
December '16

Our Writing Lesson:
Vocabulary-inspired Word Art

Our Writing Lesson:
Road of Life Poems
inspired by Margie Palatini's mentor text Bedhead inspired by Jim Tobin's mentor text The Very Inappropriate Word inspired by Jan Brett's mentor text Daisy Comes Home inspired by Jim Croce's song I've Got a Name

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2015's Writing Lessons of the Month
January '15
February '15
March '15
April '15

Our Writing Lesson:
Vocab-inspired Fake Phone Apps

Our Writing Lesson:
Mini-Autobiographies
inspired by my amazing 7th and 8th graders during the 2013-14 school year. inspired partly byBrian Cleary's mentor text To Root, To Toot, To Parachute inspired by Jen Bryant's mentor text The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus inspired partly by Dr. Seuss' The Sneetches (and other stories)
May '15
June '15
July '15
August '15

Our Writing Lesson:
Tweeted Anecdotes
inspired by Harriet Ziefert's mentor text 31 Uses for a Mom inspired by Stephen Kramer's non-fiction mentor text Caves inspired by the length restrictions for Tweets and by a famous 6-word story often credited to Hemingway. inspired by Susan Allen and Jane Lindaman's Written Anything Good Lately?
September '15
October '15
November '15
December '15

Our Writing Lesson:
Vocabulary Quick Poems

Our Writing Lesson:
Life is a Cookbook

Our Writing Lesson:
The Rhe-TURK-ical Triangle
inspired partly by Word Nerds: Teaching all Students to Learn and Love Vocabulary inspired by Patricia Polacco's mentor text Thunder Cake inspired by Keiko Kasza's mentor text My Lucky Day inspired by Inga Moore's Six Dinner Sid

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2014's Writing Lessons of the Month
January '14
February '14
March '14
April '14

Our Writing Lesson:
Extending a Love Metaphor

Our Writing Lesson:
Notebook Pangrams

Our Writing Lesson:
Primary Source Picture Books

Our Writing Lesson:
Normal or Nuts?
inspired by Pat Benatar's song Love is a BattleField inspired in part by Margaret Wild's mentor text Fox inspired by Frank Keating's mentor text Theodore inspired by an annual article/feature in Reader's Digest
May '14
June '14
July '14
August '14

Our Writing Lesson:
Ridiculous Essays Revisited

Our Writing Resource:
Summertime Sacred Writing

Our Writing Lesson:
Goofus and Gallant Parody

Our Writing Resource:
Imp-Int-Exclam Sentences
inspired by Dr. Seuss' mentor text One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish inspired by the addition of June and July to our SWT Slides, which finally were completed in 2014! inspired by the wonderful comic from Highlights for Children inspired partly by our Vocabulary Workshop materials, which debuted in summer of 2014..
September '14
October '14
November '14
December '14

Our Writing Lesson:
Presenting Me: Three Options

Our Writing Lesson:
4-Metaphor Poems
inspired by Ralph Fletcher's handbook A Writer's Notebook inspired by Margaret Wise Brown's mentor text The Important Book inspired by Mem Fox's mentor text Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge inspired by Dena Harrison's most recent resource -- Reader's Notebook Bingo Cards

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2013's Writing Lessons of the Month
January '13
February '13
March '13
April '13

Our Writing Lesson:
Collective Noun Riddles

Our Writing Lesson:
Song Parodies
inspired by Ruth Heller's mentor text A Cache of Jewels and other Collective Nouns inspired by Margie Palatini's tub-boo-boo (Great book...Out of print...find an affordable copy!)   inspired by Brian Katz's Take Me Out of the Bathtub and other silly dilly songs
May '13
June '13
July '13
August '13

Our Writing Lesson:
Story Title Collections

Our Writing Lesson:
Have I Told You... Poems

Our Writing Lesson:
Ridiculous Essays

Our Writing Lesson:
Fixing Dickens' Comma Splices
inspired partly by Robert Munsch's mentor text The Paperbag Princess inspired by Barack Obama's mentor text Of Thee I Sing: a letter to my daughters inspired by Dr. Seuss' mentor text Green Eggs and Ham inspired by the opening of Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities
September '13
October '13
November '13
December '13

Our Writing Lesson:
Giving Hands/Taking Hands

Our Writing Lesson:
How Big is Your "Brave"

Our Writing Lesson:
Start & Stop Poems

Our Writing Lesson:
Epistolary Narratives
inspired by Gretchen Bernabei's awesome expository lessons from The Story of my Thinking inspired by Sara Barellis' video mentor text Brave inspired by Ralph Fletcher's mentor text Twilight Comes Twice inspired partly by Daniel Keyes' Flowers for Algernon

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2012's Writing Lessons of the Month
September '12
October '12
November '12
December '12

Our Writing Lesson:
A Classroom of Logophiles

Our Writing Lesson:
Fetching the Binoculars

Our Writing Lesson:
Root Attack! Vocab Poster
inspired by Roni Schotter's mentor text The Boy Who Loved Words inspired by Jack Gantos' mentor text Dead End in Norvelt inspired by David Guetta's Titanium video (with Sia) inspired partly by Alana Morris' Vocabulary Unplugged

 

Receiving our Monthly Lessons?

As soon as the new month's lesson is posted, we send an email to remind you to go check it out. If you're interested in having that email with a lesson link sent to you around first of every month, please email me at corbett@corbettharrison.com No gimmicks! Just a free lesson or lidea every month.

Last month's Writing Lesson of the Month

Rules Justified...Spuriously!
inspired by David Wisniewski's
The Secret Knowledge of Grown-ups


One of our best writing lessons to start the year:
Make an Alphabet-inspired List of Topics for Writing

Alpha Genres, Tones, and Topics
inspired by Susan Allen and Jane Lindeman's
Written Anything Good Lately?

Tired of boring book reports?
We were too!

Dena created these twenty-five reflective tasks for her students who were responding to chapters in novels. Each week, her students completed one new activity, and after four or five weeks into a novel unit , the students each had a small portfolio of writing about their book. They received bonus points if they made a "bingo" out of their activity choices.

Please try them before you buy them...

When you visit our Teachers Pay Teachers store-page for this product, select PREVIEW to download full, complimentary access to three of the twenty-five instead-of-book-reports writing response formats we created for this for-sale product. All proceeds from sales like this keep our Always Write website online and free-to-use.

Even if you don't purchase the entire set of twenty-five ideas from us, please use the three writing formats we share freely instead of summarizing a chapter one day in class.

"This is one of the best school supplies I've ever purchased! Thank you."

--Teachers Pay Teachers feedback


Smarter-Sounding
Socratic Seminars!

I created these "formula poems" with two purposes: 1) to build small group cooperation; and 2) to add a strong new word to our socratic seminars. The day or week before our next seminar, students group together to write one of these poems as a team.

Please try before you buy...

When you visit our Teachers Pay Teachers store-page for this product, select PREVIEW to download full, complimentary access to two of the eighteen Socratic Seminar poetry formats we created for this for-sale product. All proceeds from sales like this keep our Always Write website online and free-to-use.

Even if you don't purchase the entire set of poems from us, please use the two poems we share freely as a group-writing task in class one day.

"You put so much time into everything you do. These are great resources, thank you!"

--Teachers Pay Teachers purchaser


Do you appreciate free lessons but can't purchase our for-sale items?

That's fair, but did you know there are two less direct ways you can financially help our site. We actually receive a small "bounty" from Amazon for each person using the following referral links to try out one of their products. If you've been thinking about trying either of these out, kindly use these links so our site can pay the bills to stay online.

Try Amazon Prime for free, and we receive a small donation from Amazon that we use to stay online. Use our link above please to give us credit. Try Audible for free, and we receive a small donation from Amazon to stay online. Use our link please. You'll get two free audio books!

By the way, Dena and I are both Prime and Audible members, and we love everything about both services.

Support our Site through our Products at Teachers Pay Teachers
Our FIRST Product!
Beginner Prompts, Thoughtfully Presented:


-- Teachers Pay Teachers Link --
-- Free Preview of August & September --


-- a short video about SWT & Bingo Cards --

Our MOST POPULAR Product!
366 Ideas for Writing/Discussing:

-- Teachers Pay Teachers Link --
One of our most popular writing lessons:
Begin this one on school picture day, or somewhere thereabouts...


Worst School Picture Day Ever Lesson
inspired by Margie Palatini's Bedhead

A popular creative writing lesson:
Airplanes have First Class seats.
Shouldn't school buses?

First-Class School Bus Seats
inspired partly by Mo Willems'
Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!

We have challenges for your advanced writers too:
Teach your Students to
Make Original Oxymorons!

Develop an Ear for Oxymoron
inspired by Jon Agee's
Who Ordered the Jumbo Shrimp?

One of our most popular voice lessons:
A witty mentor text that sets up a delightful writing assignment:

"Normal or Nuts?"
inspired by Reader's Digest's annual column
Are You Normal or Nuts?

Color inspires student poetry:
One of the best mentor texts for teaching poems about colors

Color/Crayon Poems
inspired by Mary O'Neill's
Hailstones and Halibut Bones

Loved by both my gentlemen and lady writers
I got my money's worth from this mentor text! Tons of writing ideas!

Original Superheroes
inspired by Bob McLeod's
Superhero ABC

Music inspires ideas about concepts:
Sara Bareilles' "Brave" Video
Can be a Motivating Writing Lesson!

Show what your "Brave" Looks Like
inspired by the great Sara Bareilles'
Brave video

A Poetic Task / A Metaphorical Task
I got my money's worth from this mentor text! Tons of writing ideas!

Four Metaphor Poems
inspired by Mem Fox's
Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge

Using Grammar to Encourage Structure
Comparative Adjectives and Superlatives Aide Organization

Superlative Stories/Essays
inspired by Brian Cleary's
Breezier, Cheesier, Newest and Bluest

Enrich your Students' Vocabulary!
Will your Students will Take a Shine to "Word Art"?

Word Art
inspired by Jim Tobin's
The Very Inapprpriate Word

 

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