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. I have spent the last five years honing my vocabulary and grammar lessons so that they're differentiated and promote deep, critical thinking skills.

The Northern Nevada district I serve has a "balanced calendar" that has me teaching from early August to early June, and during my 8 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.

Summer of 2016 is starting to fill. I already have speaking engagements scheduled in Texas, Minnesota, and Ohio.

I am no longer available for the week of October 26 in 2015. I will be presenting in Oklahoma.

I am still available in 2016 during the week of March 21 and the week of March 28.

You can find general information about the cost of my workshops here.

If you would like to check my availability for 2016, please contact me at my e-mail address.


       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 | linkedin | twitter | our ning  

Access to the "Writing Lessons of the Month" Archive, 2007-2012:

Between 2007 and 2012, I helped my 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 baffle me--did not include a page for the continuation of the "Writing Lesson of the Month" network. I am still amazed at their choice not to keep this page at their new website...

And so...Here is a page I salvaged from the old NNWP webpage and now house it here at my website to allow teachers to access the current and past "Lessons of the Month" from the NNWP's 2007-2013 program for teachers that I coordinated for them. I am no longer confident the NNWP will re-establish this page at their website, so please update your links to this page to be able to access the lessons below.
Here is the Archive for 2007-2013:

Accessing the Writing Lesson
of the Month

Already a member?

If you're already a member of our Writing Lesson of the Month Network, you can easily access the Ning and all its features by clicking here. Come explore the Ning & join one of our interest groups.

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Interested in joining 20,000+ members who receive the monthly e-mail directing them to the Lesson of the Month? Click here to create a profile and become a member! It's easy, and it's free to join!

Do you appreciate these free lessons? You can easily say thank you for providing them by purchasing--if you need to--the lessons' cited mentor texts using the link to Amazon.com that I have provided. By doing so, I receive a very small percentage of the sale, but those small amounts add up and help me keep this website online, free of advertising.
December's Writing Lesson of the Month:
Epistolary Narratives & Notebook Pages
November's Writing Lesson of the Month
Start & Stop Poems

An epistolary story is one told through documents, not normal narration. My students created original 6-document epistolary stories and epistolary summaries of books we had already read.

This lesson was just a fun idea I had while showing my students how many times they had to use a new vocabulary word--epistolary--before they "owned" the word as one of their vocabulary words. Their final products turned out exceptionally well...and they all know a new vocabulary word.

The "Center-Square Lesson" from our November Writer's Notebook Bingo Card remains one of our most popular original poetry formats. Since I have 6th-8th graders who "move up" with me each year, I now have three purposes of this notebook prompt I introduce when they are only eleven:

  • My sixth graders do Start & Stop Poems about the seasons and about the novel Animal Farm.
  • My seventh graders write Start & Stop Poems about the writing genres, and the eighth graders write them about the writing traits.
Featured Writing Lessons of the Month from 2013--my seventh year sponsoring this program!
January's Writing Lesson:
Extending Interesting Metaphors

inspired by Pat Benatar's song
Love is a Battlefield
February's Writing Lesson:
Crazy Time & Place
for a Newscast

inspired by Margie Palatini's
March's Writing Lesson:
Origin Stories

inspired by Bob McLeod's SuperHero ABC
April's Writing Lesson:

inspired by Alan Katz's Take Me Out of the Bathtub
May's Writing Lesson:
Original Story-Title

inspired by Robert Munsch's The Paper Bag Princess
June's Notebook Prompt:
"Have I Told You That You are ___?" Poems

inspired by Barack Obama's Of Thee I Sing

July's Writing Lesson:

inspired by Dr. Seuss'
Green Eggs and Hame
August's Writing Lesson:
Fixing Mr. Dickens
Comma Splices

inspired by the opening paragraph of Dickens' ATale of Two Cities
September's Writing Lesson:
Giving Hands &
Taking Hands

inspired partly by Gretchen Bernabei's The Story of My Thinking
October's Writing Lesson:
How Big is
Your Brave?

inspired by Sara Baraellis'
song/video Brave
November's Writing Lesson:
Start & Stop

inspired by Ralph Fletcher's
Twilight Comes Twice
December's Notebook Prompt:

inspired by Daniel Keyes'
Flowers for Algernon

Featured Writing Lessons of the Month from 2012--the sixth year of this program!
January's Writing Lesson:
Repeated Lines

inspired by Mary Ann Hoberman's Fathers, Mothers, Sisters, Brothers
February's Writing Lesson:
The Skin
You're In

inspired by Sharon G. Flake's The Skin I'm In
March's Writing Lesson:
An Environmental
Alphabet Book

inspired by Stephen Johnson's' Alphabet City
April's Writing Lesson:
Digital Photos as
Writing Prompts

inspired by Hank Kellner's Write What You See
May's Writing Lesson:
Poems to Bug
Your Reader!

inspired by Douglas Florian's Insectlopedia
June's Writing Lesson:
Let's Celebrate

inspired by Barry Lane's 51 Wacky We-Search Reports

July's Writing Lesson:
Let's Celebrate

inspired by Barry Lane's 51 Wacky We-Search Reports
August's Writing Lesson:
A Hare's

inspired by Holly Young's
The Underachievers
September's Writing Lesson:
A Classroom of

inspired by Roni Schotter's
The Boy Who Loved Words
October's Writing Lesson:
Fetching the

inspired by Jack Gantos'
Dead End in Norvelt
November's Writing Lesson:
Inferrring a Narrative

inspired by David Guetta's music video for the song Titanium
December's Writing Lesson:
"Root Attack!"
Vocabulary Posters

inspired by Alana Morrris' book for teachers, Vocabulary Unplugged
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Featured Writing Lessons of the Month...the 2011 Archive:
January's Lesson:
Leads for an
Embarrassing Moment

inspired by Christopher Paul Curtis's The Watsons Go To Birmingham--1963
February's Lesson:
Beyond the Basic Bibliography Report

inspired by Louise Borden's
A. Lincoln and Me
March's Lesson:
The Vocabulary
Fashion Show

inspired by Debra Frasier's Miss Alaineus
April's Lesson:
Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow Poems

inspired by a Beatles' song and two other songs
May's Lesson:
Don't Eat Me!

inspired by Steven L. Layne's My Brother Dan's Delicious
June's Prompt:
Show What Your
Mind Sees

inspired by Roald Dahl's
The Twits
July's Lesson:
Showing Creative Problem Solving

inspired by an excerpt from Jack London's Call of the Wild
August's Lesson:
Showing with Participial Phrases

inspired by Debbie Allen's Dancing in the Wings
September's Lesson:
Showing Nice without Ever Saying Nice

inspired by Jospehine Nobisso's Show; Don't Tell

October's Lesson:
Showing Plots
& Conflicts

inspired by Ralph Fletcher's
Live Writing

November's Lesson:
Thanksgiving Turkey Protests

inspired by Keiko Kasza's
My Lucky Day

December's Lesson:
Showing Credit Where Credit Might Be Due

inspired by Robert Lawson's
Ben & Me

Featured Writing Lessons of the Month...the 2010 Archive:
Unique Imaginary

inspired by
by Tony DiTerlizzi
I Say to You...
I Have a Dream!

inspired by U2's
Pride (in the Name of Love

inspired by Sandra Cisneros' The House on Mango Street

inspired by J. Ruth Gelder's
The Book of Qualities
The Color
of Love

inspired by I Love You the Purplest by Barbara Joosse
One Minute
in Time

inspired by 10:15 on a Saturday Night
by The Cure
Scheming Against
an Adversary

inspired by
Enemy Pie by Derek Munson
How Big
is Hagrid?

inspired by J. K. Rowling's first Harry Potter book
Fierce Wondering

inspired by Marissa Moss's first Amelia notebook

What Your Room Says about You!

inspired by Robert McCammon's 1st chapter of Boy's Life

To Imitate Two Natural Writers

inspired by Patricia MacLachlan's Sarah, Plain and Tall

Serendipitous Character Descriptions

inspired by Mem Fox's
Tough Boris

Featured Writing Lessons of the Month...the 2009 Archive:

Field Trips

inspired by Rattletrap Car by Phyllis Root

Overcoming a
Personified Fear

inspired by There's a Nightmare in my Closet by Mercer Mayer

Giving Voice
to Opposites

inspired by I Am the Dog. I am the Cat by Donald Hall
What Got

inspired by Grandpa's Teeth by Rod Clement

inspired by various renditions of he song Summertime from the opera Porgy and Bess by George Gershwin

What If...

inspired by What If... by Regina Williams

Moving through
the Machine

inspired by Homer Price by Robert McCloskey
Things I Love
Songs & Poems

inspired by I Love, sung by Tom T. Hall
Narrative Skills
from Mr. Fletcher

inspired by Marshfield Dreams and How to Write Your Life Story, both by Ralph Fletcher
Special Places
to Love

inspired by All the Places to Love by Patricia MacLachlan
With Your Own
Two Hands

inspired by With My Own Two Hands, sung by Ben Harper, and Waiting on the World to Change, sung by John Mayer
Short Adventure

inspired any of the Choose Your Own Adventure Books by R.A. Montgomery
Featured Writing Lessons of the Month...the 2008 Archive:

You're on a
Gigantic Roll

inspired by James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

Start with What
ISN'T There

inspired by Caves
by Stephen Kramer

So Much
Depends Upon...

inspired by Love That Dog by Sharon Creech
Pros, Cons,
and Hooks

inspired by How I Became a Pirate by David Shannon
Writing Like
an Artist Paints

inspired by Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett

Rolling with
the Animals

inspired by Duck on a Bike by David Shannon

A Time
Traveler's Log

inspired by The Time Machine by H. G. Wells
Fairy Tale

inspired by Fairytale News by Colin and Jacqui Hawkins
Using 90th
Street's Advice

inspired by Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street by Roni Schotter
A Moment Like

inspired by Milkweed
by Jerry Spinelli
Poems of

inspired by This is Just to Say by Joyce Sidman
Between Repeated
Catch Phrases

inspired by Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
Featured Writing Lessons of the Month...the 2007 Archive:


inspired by No, David! by David Shannon


inspired by If Not for the Cat by Jack Prelutsky

Powerful First

inspired by
Brave Margaret by Robert De San Souci
Top Secret
Rule Reasons!

The Secret Knowledge of Grown-ups by David Wisniewski
A Scientific

inspired by Dogzilla
by Dav Pilkey


Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi & Ron Barrett

Fairy Tales in
New Settings

inspired by Bubba the Cowboy Prince by Helen Ketteman
I Wanna

inspired by I Wanna Iguana by Karen Kaufmann Orloff
"Knot" the
Whole Truth

inspired by Maniac Magee
by Jerry Spinelli
Floating Down
a River

inspired by Daisy Comes Home by Jan Brett
Silly Animal

inspired by Dog Breath
by Dav Pilkey
Four Metaphor

inspired by Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox