Welcome. My name is Corbett Harrison, and I have been an educator since 1990, and a teacher-trainer 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 steps of the writing process. Every year, I challenge myself to improve my writing instruction even more, and this website is where I post my most successful new ideas.

The Northern Nevada district I serve has a "balanced calendar" that has me teaching from early August to early June, and during my 7 weeks of summer and during my two annual two-week breaks, I independently contract to present workshops to school districts and professional organizations around the country.

I have no available dates left in 2017.

In 2018, I may have availability between January 8-12, March 26- April 6, and June 11 - July 27, October 1-5.

If you would like to verify my availability for a specific date or dates in the windows offered above, please contact me at this e-mail address.

You can find general information about my workshops here.


       Because writing--when taught right--can be the most enjoyable part of your teaching day, I created this website.

the "always write" homepage | email me | writingfix | pinterest | facebook | teachers pay teachers | twitter | youtube | lesson of the month  

My students see me as a writer because I publish these monthly lessons. This page features my monthly write-ups since 2012. I hope you find them beneficial and adaptable.

Nice find, teacher friends!
This Page Features over 60 Links to Free-to-Use Lessons!

"You should write for real, Mr. Harrison," my students say to me several times every year. By that, they mean write a physical book, but I don't have the discipline (or talent!) to be a published writer in that sense, which is what they mean by "write for real."

I do write for real. And I enjoy the writing I do. Once a month, I write up and post a detailed "Lesson of the Month" here at my website. I started doing this a few years back, and now I have a website with so many lessons and ideas on it that it's become difficult for even me to find them all. As a write these lessons, making my process evident to my students, they enjoy watching me struggle to keep deadlines, they enjoy finding the inevitable typo in the lessons I have sent out in the past, and--most importantly--because I am always working on something to publish, they see me as a fellow writer in the writing community that we build in our classroom.

On this page, I happily share a lesson every month as well as three other things from our website you may find helpful or interesting or worth adapting. Just below this month's resources, you will find the archive that allows access to all lessons going back to 2012.

As you will see, all of my lessons are inspired by a published mentor text that I integrate into the teaching of a writing skill. If you want to learn more about mentor texts, visit our Mentor Text Resource Page here at Always Write.

Welcome to Corbett & Dena Harrison's
Writing Lesson of the Month Resource Page

Featured Lesson
Word of the Month
SWT Slide of the Month
Best Mr. Stick

Lesson Title: Edge Postcards
Mentor Text: Punctuation Takes a Vacation by Robin Pulver

Continuing our theme of new ideas for writer's notebooks in 2017, this lesson provides ideas for using postcards in one's notebook as a technique for using VOICE in writing.

At the NCTE Conference in November, I will be sharing this and other ideas!

An EGOT sentence can be made by a student who discovers that their vocabulary word--like ARBITRARY--has a form for the four major parts of speech: Noun, Verb, Adjective, Adverb. Nate found an EGOT with this vocabulary task, and he acted on it.

Students try to write a silly sentence where all four forms of the word are used, plus two context clues are provided to help someone guess the word's definition. Visit our Vocabulary Workshop page for fresh ideas!

Our free preview of our sacred writing slides has come and gone, and we welcome aboard all of you who now are using the set daily with your students. By this time, you should be beginning to experience the benefits of having students prepare for and participate in ten valuable minutes of personal writing every day. Once your students have experienced SWT as a routine enough times, they should be coming in with their own ideas, and if you celebrate their innovation, the creativity become contagious.

It's not too late to start a Sacred Writing Time routine, and these slides will inspire one.

Recently, I saw a former student who had created this wonderful Mr. Stick self-portrait. I'm going to show Chris' Mr. Stick self-portrait, surrounded by words, as I teach my new students who Mr. Stick is, and how he can make your writer's notebook that much more fun to flip back through as you think about things you've learned.

Welcome to Corbett & Dena Harrison's
Writing Lesson of the Month Archive

2017's Lessons of the Month from Always Write!
January 2017:
Fortune Cookie Fortunes

inspired by Grace Lin's
Fortune Cookie Fortunes
February 2017:
Notebook Elections

inspired by Doreen Cronin's
Duck for President
March 2017:
An Ear for Oxymoron

inspired by Jon Agee's
Who Ordered Jumbo Shrimp
April 2017:
Vocab Frenemies

inspired by J. Ruth Gendler's

The Book of Qualities
May 2017:
Human Nature Haikus

inspired by Celeste Mannis'
One Leaf Rides the Wind
June 2017:
Camera Phone Snapshots

inspired by John Sheirer's
What's the Story?
July 2017:
Notebook Poetry Tiles

inspired by actual
Magnetic Poetry Kits
August 2017:
Dialogue BAUBLES

inspired by Jules Feiffer's


September 2017:
Sensational News

inspired by Colin & Jacqui Hawkins' FairyTale News

October 2017:
Language Comics

inspired by Jon Agee's
November 2017:
Edge Postcards

inspired by Robin Pulver's Punctuation Takes a Vacation

December 2017:


Coming December 1!

2016's Lessons of the Month from Always Write!
December's Featured Lesson:
The Road of Life Poems

inspired by Jim Croce's
"I Gotta Name"
November's Featured Lesson:
Student-Created Graphic Organizers

inspired by Jan Brett's
Daisy Comes Home
October's Featured Lesson:
Word Art Vocabulary

inspired by Jim Tobin's
The Very Inappropriate Word
August's Featured Lesson:
Writing w/ a Painter's Vocabulary

inspired by Blue Balliet's
Chasing Vermeer
July's Featured Lesson:
Transitioning through a Machine

inspired by Robert McCloskey's
Homer Price
June's Featured Lesson:
Serendipitous Characters & Aptronyms

inspired by Bertrand Brinley's
The Mad Scientists' Club
May's Featured Lesson:
Vocab-Inspired Fake Horror Movie Posters

inspired by posters from
classic horror movies
April's Featured Lesson:
My Own Darn "Math Curse"

inspired by Jon Scieszka's
Math Curse
March's Featured Lesson:
Vocabulary Haikus

inspired by Jack Prelutsky's
If Not for the Cat
February's Featured Lesson:
Historical Tour Guide Scripts

inspired by Cathy Morgan and Holly Young's Help Wanted at Mount Vernon
January's Featured Lesson:
New Year's Writing Resolutions

inspired by Chris Van Allsburg's
The Z Was Zapped
2015's Lessons of the Month from Always Write!
December's Featured Lesson:
Community of Writers=Talking Neighbors

inspired by Inga Moore's
Six Dinner Sid
November's Featured Lesson:
Rhe-TURK-ical Triangle

inspired by Keiko Kasza's
My Lucky Day
October's Featured Lesson:
Life is a Cookbook

inspired by Patricia Polacco's Thunder Cake and Notebook Bingo Cards
August's Featured Lesson:
Alpha-genres, topics, & tones!

Inspired by Susan Allen and Jane Lindaman's Written Anything Good Lately
July's Featured Lesson:
Tweeted Anecdotes

inspired by 140-character Tweets, and Hemingway's famous 6-word short story
June's Featured Lesson:
Positive Spin with Negative Words

inspired by Stephen Kramer's

May's Featured Lesson:
Job Descriptions & Noun Phrases

inspired by Harriet Ziefert's
31 Uses for a Mom
April's Featured Lesson:
Vocabulary & Character Anatomies

inspired by Dr. Seuss'
The Sneetches and Other Stories
March's Featured Lesson:

inspired by Jen Bryant's
The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus
February's Featured Lesson:
Four Verb Reviews & Two Verb Routines

inspired by Brian Cleary's To Root, To Toot, To Parachute: What is a Verb?
January's Featured Lesson:
Vocabulary-inspired Fake Phone Apps

inspired by the creativity of my
amazing 8th graders of 2013-14
2014's Lessons of the Month from Always Write!
December's Featured Lesson:
Plotting out a Musical Playlists

inspired by Dena's Harrison's
Reader's Notebook Bingo Cards"
November's Featured Lesson:
Four Metaphor Poems

inspired by Mem Fox's wonderful
Wilfrid Gordon Partridge McDonald
October's Featured Lesson:
New Ideas for The Important Book

inspired by Margaret Wise Brown's classic The Important Book
September's Featured Lesson:
Presenting Me #3...Heart Parks

inspired by Ralph Fletcher's A Writer's Notebook
August's Featured Lesson:
Imp-Int-Exclam Sentences

inspired by the updates to

Writing About Vocabulary Words
July's Featured Lesson:
Goofus & Gallant Parody

inspired by Children's Highlight's Magazine's"Goofus & Gallant"
June's Featured Lesson:
Summertime Sacred Writing

inspired by the completion of our new
366-slide SWT Packet
May's Featured Lesson:
Ridiculous Essays...Revisited

inspired by Dr. Seuss' One FIsh, Two FIsh, Red Fish, Blue Fish
April's Featured Lesson:
Normal or Nuts?

inspired by Reader's Digest's
"Normal of Nuts?" regular feature
March's Featured Lesson:
Primary Source Picture Books

inspired by Frank Keating's
February's Featured Lesson:
Pangrams for Writer's Notebooks

inspired by Margaret Wild's wonderful book Fox
January's Featured Lesson:
Extending Interesting Metaphors

inspired by Pat Benatar's song
Love is a Battlefield
2013's Lessons of the Month from Always Write!
December's Featured Lesson:
Epistolary Narratives

inspired by Daniel Keyes'
Flowers for Algernon
November's Featured Lesson:
Start & Stop Poems

inspired by Ralph Fletcher's
Twilight Comes Twice
October's Featured Lesson:
How Big is Your Brave?

inspired by Sara Bareilles'
song/video Brave
September's Featured Lesson:
Giving Hands/Taking Hands

inspired by Gretchen Bernabei's book The Story of My Thinking
August's Featured Lesson:
Fixing Dickens' Comma Splices

inspired by the opening paragraph of Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities
July's Featured Lesson:
Ridiculous Essays

inspired by Dr. Seuss'
Green Eggs and Ham
June's Featured Lesson:
"Have I Told You" Poems

inspired by Barack Obama's
Of Thee I Sing
May's Featured 2013 Lesson:
Story-Title Collections
inspired by Robert Munsch's
The Paper Bag Princess
April's Writing Lesson:
Song Parodies

inspired by Alan Katz's
Take Me Out of the Bathtub
March's Writing Lesson:
Superhero Origin Stories

inspired by Bob McLeod's
SuperHero ABC
February's Writing Lesson:
Crazy Time & Place for a Newscast

inspired by Margie Palatini's
January's Writing Lesson:
Collective Noun Riddles

inspired by Ruth Heller's
A Cache of Jewels
2012's Lessons of the Month from Always Write!
December's Writing Lesson:
"Root Attack!" Vocabulary Posters

inspired by Alana Morrris' book for teachers, Vocabulary Unplugged
November's Writing Lesson:
Inferrring a Narrative Story-Board

inspired by David Guetta's music video for the song Titanium
October's Writing Lesson:
Fetching the Binoculars

inspired by Jack Gantos'
Dead End in Norvelt
September's Writing Lesson:
A Classroom of Logophiles

inspired by Roni Schotter's
The Boy Who Loved Words

Have You Joined the Ning?
Our Ning sends out a lesson write-up every month!
"Writing Lesson of the Month"

Last month's Writing Lesson of the Month

Notebook Language Comics
inspired by Palindromania

by Jon Agee

366 Ideas for Writing/Discussing:

-- Teachers Pay Teachers Link --
-- Free Preview of August 15- September 15 --
For Writers Needing a Guided Challenge:

-- Teachers Pay Teachers Link --
-- Free Preview of Italian "Menu" only --

-- Teachers Pay Teachers Link --

Mentor texts to inspire Vocabulary Collectors:

The Boy Who Loved Words
by Roni Schotter

Boris Ate a Thesaurus
by Neil Steven Klayman