Welcome. My name is Corbett Harrison, and I have been an educator and a teacher-trainer since August of 1990. I specialize in teaching writing using differentiated instruction. I also focus on critical thinking techniques, especially during the pre-writing and revision steps of the writing process. Every year, I challenge myself to improve my instruction: I am curretly developing grammar and vocabulary lessons so that they're differentiated and promote deep, critical thinking skills, and I incorporate them into my classroom routines to promote a student-centered classroom environment.

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.

The winter and spring of 2017 are mostly booked up at this point. Beginning in mid-June, I will be available to present at summer workshops in your district or state.

You can find general information about my workshops here.

If you would like to check my availability for summer of 2017, please contact me at this e-mail address.

Always
Write

 
       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  

To improve my own writing process, I make myself publish four monthly ideas based on my classroom techniques. Enjoy these write-ups:

Between 2007 and 2012, I helped our Northern Nevada Writing Project maintain an online forum that sent out a monthly writing lesson from WritingFix to all educators who joined the network. We used a Ning as our on-line distribution tool, and at our "heyday," we had over 20,000 members. In 2011, the NNWP lost its national funding, and their new website design--for reasons that still befuzzle me--did not include a page for the continuation of the "Writing Lesson of the Month" network at their site. It was a wonderful way to remind other teachers that we were still developing new ideas every month at the WritingFix resource website. Since I am no longer working with the NNWP and am instead developing new ideas for my own website, I moved the idea of a "Lesson of the Month" here for the 2012-13 school year.

Here's my favorite thing about this page at my site: it gives me a personal monthly writing goal and a deadline. I so subscribe to the "You can't teach writing well unless you're writing too" philosophy, that I make sure my students always see me writing and know that I am writing. My writers know I am always developing a new resource or lesson to write-up and post to the almost-30,000 subscribers of the Writing Lesson of the Month Ning, which we personally pay to keep going with the funds we earn by selling things like our Sacred Writing Time slides. I make my students write every day and publish something new every month, and they get to hold me to the same standard. I am regularly asked, "Is this going to be a part of your latest lesson, Mr. Harrison?" or "You want to use my sample at your website, Mr. Harrison?" They know if they are selected to have their sample posted, they have a new audience of potentially 30,000 teachers and their students. That's a great incentive to motivate my students.

Obviously every teacher can't create a network like the one we've developed through WritingFix and Always Write between 1999 and 2017, but every teacher can create a technique to make sure their students know they too are always writing.

New teacher to this Website? You've never signed up?
Join the Writing Lesson of the Month Ning
A Writing Lesson of the Month and Three Other Ideas for your Classrooms:
"You should write for real," my students say to me every year. They mean write a book, but I don't have the discipline to be a novelist, 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 on it that it's become difficult for even me to find them all. My students 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've built.

I actually was posting for a time two lessons a month: a writing lesson of the month and a writer's notebook idea of the month. The main lessons of the month from the past can all be accessed below. The past writer's notebook lessons can all be located at my writer's notebook resource page.

April's Writing Lesson of the Month:
Vocabulary Friends, Enemies & Frenemies

April's Exemplar from my own Writer's Notebook
Mr. Stick Humor

It was a rough election year, right? I know a lot of people want to forget this year's election, but I have decided to satirize it. I have two boy dogs under the age of five who are beginning to vie for the title of "Alpha Dog" in our pack. I'm treating it like they're running against each other for office. There's a phony but funny campaign for an "elected office" going on in the pages of my writer's notebook, and I am encouraging my students to play along and create their own elections.

Access our free-to-use Vocabulary Workshop Resources here.

We have our "Mr. Stick of the Week" extra credit prize in each class for students who go above and beyond in their writer's notebooks. Students who win a Mr. Stick of the Week prize are eligible to enter my "Mr. Stick of the Year" Notebook page contest in May, and those entries can get serious, as evidenced by this Pinterest Board of samples. I'm starting to prime my students' thinking about making a Mr. Stick-themed page for the annual contest, and below is one of my new pages.

Check out this Pinterest Board with other images from my own notebook.
April's Celebration from my Vocabulary Collection:
Word Art
Upcoming Free Sacred Writing Time PowerPoint Slide:
April 1 -- The April Fool's Day Slide
We have ten different writing options for our student vocabulary collectors in our Vocabulary Workshop, but my students have created a dozen more options that they are allowed to use for Friday Vocabulary tasks. One of their favorites is the Word Art option, which we turned into this full lesson a year ago. This year, I have been trying to have a new set of vocabulary words to share with my students every other Friday; I'm really behind in my deadline, but here is one of the tasks I completed based on Word Art.

See my Vocabulary Pinterest Board! Amazing student samples galore!

I think my two favorite slides from the set of 366 Sacred Writing Time Slides are the slide for Leap Day (February 29) and the slide for April Fool's Day. Last year, I challenged my students to create a better April 1st Sacred Writing Time slide than mine, and I received some excellent samples from my students. I offer you the April 1st slide so that you might challenge your students to do the same. However, if you've not been doing sacred writing time and showing these slides each day, this task probably won't make sense.

Click here to order our set of 366 SWT slides! One slide for EVERY day!
Missed any Lesson of the Month? Scroll down to access the entire archive...

Help Support our Website:

Dena I are proud to offer so many free-to-access resources and ideas not only at this website but also at WritingFix, which we proudly assumed sponsorship of back in 2012. People have written and asked, "Can we donate to help you two out?" which is so incredibly kind and generous. Honestly, the best way you can help us out is to consider purchasing any of our for-sale resources. Or spreading the word about our website to others.

95% of what we post at both websites is completely free to access and use. The ten classroom products we currently offer for sale at Teachers Pay Teachers are high-quality, reasonably-priced, ready-to-use materials. The purchase of any of our ten products (for yourself or for a colleague) is a perfect way to say "Thank you" back to us for our continued, online work, and the proceeds help us keep all of our websites up and running (and advertisement-free, which is incredibly important to me on a personal level).

______________________________

Three of our most popular "For-sale Products" that inspire daily writing:


366 Student-Friendly
"Sacred Writing Time" Slides

Click here for more information.

_______________________________


10 Monthly Bingo Cards
for Writer's Notebooks

Click here for more information.
_______________________________


Ten Standards-Friendly
"Writing about Vocabulary" Lessons

Click here for more information.

Writing Lessons of the Month: Unique Notebook Ideas from 2017
April's Featured Lesson:
Vocabulary Word Frenemies

inspired by J. Ruth Gendler's
The Book of Qualities
March's Featured Lesson:
Oxymorons and other Utopian Nightmares

inspired partly by Doreen Cronin's
Diary of a Worm
February's Featured Lesson:
Establish a Weird Campaign/Election


inspired by Doreen Cronin's
Duck for President
Writing Lessons of the Month: Lessons from 2016
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 with 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
Writing Lessons of the Month: Lessons from 2015
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 our Notebook Bingo Cards
August's Featured Lesson:
Alpha-genres, topics, tones, and more!

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
Caves

May's Featured Lesson:
Unique 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:
Mini-Autobiographies

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
Writing Lessons of the Month: 2014 Archive
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 Variations 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: Unlocking the Writer Within You
August's Featured Lesson:
Imp-Int-Exclam Sentences

inspired by the updates to our

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

inspired by Children's Highlight's Magazine's
"Goofus & Gallant" comic strip
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
Theodore
February's Featured Lesson:
Pangram Challenge 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
Writing Lessons of the Month: 2013 Archive
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:
Presenting Me! Giving Hands/Taking Hands


inspired by Gretchen Bernabei's book for teachers The Story of My Thinking
August's Featured Lesson:
Fixing Mr. 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 That You are ___?" 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
Tub-boo-boo
January's Writing Lesson:
Collective Noun Riddles


inspired by Ruth Heller's
A Cache of Jewels
Writing Lessons of the Month: 2012 Archive
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
 

 

Not seeing a featured lesson that you were looking for?
Here are a few options:

  • Go look in the really old archives of featured lessons by clicking here.
  • Go see if it's located on my newly-revised writer's notebook resource page.
  • If you remember the mentor text or the output of the lesson, you can search for it in Google. Use "Corbett Harrison" as part of your search and then write the name of the mentor text ("The Important Book") or the output ("recipe)". That's how I find most of my own lessons!