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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.

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Contact us through this e-mail address with questions/comments about this lesson: Corbett@CorbettHarrison.com

Teaching writing should be two things: skill-focused and fun. If we forget the second half of that simple formula, we create students who dread writing anything at all. Bring a little fun back into your writing curriculum between the serious and academic writing tasks. This lesson might help you do just that...and teach useful and authentic writing skills at the same time!

An Adaptable Lesson--from the Harrisons to You:
How this free-to-use lesson came to be online: My wife, Dena, and I taught English, reading, and writing for 56 combined years before both retiring at the conclusion of the 2018-19 school year. We've had a lot of years to develop passion about certain teaching topics, but sharing unique ways to teach writing is the focus of this website and lesson. After I earned my Master's Degree in Educational Technology way (way!) back in 1999, Dena and I decided to establish a website and begin freely posting our favorite lessons and resources that we created or adapted and successfully used during our time in the classroom.

We write-up these lessons, attaching no specific grade level, as we prepare to share them. We do this on purpose. Dena taught fifth through eighth grade, and Corbett taught third grade through college, and it was the lessons given to us that we had to adapt that taught us to be better writing teachers. The lessons that were handed to us ready to go, well, those lessons didn't teach us much at all. "How would I adapt this idea?" is what we ask teachers to ask as they read through our lesson ideas and resources.

Thanks for checking out this month's lesson, and if you have any questions about it, don't hesitate to contact us using this email address: corbett@corbettharrison.com

reviewing poetic/figurative language skills...
Crayon/Color Poems:
Color Imagery Techniques

create a class anthology of poems for future review of imagery

Quick Overview: After playing with color ideas in their writer's notebooks/journals during Sacred Writing Time, students ultimately create a color-inspired poem, focusing on skills of imagery and unique description. They will then revise their rough drafts, attempting to sharpen their use of imagery and interesting details.

A story from Corbett (who believes every lesson should start with a story from the teacher):: One of my worst writing lessons involved asking my students to add color words during revision. When a well-intentioned lesson worsens your students' writing, you probably should admit your lesson needs some work before ever using it again. I've revised many lessons many times over my 30-year career as teacher. This is one of those lessons.

As teachers, I hope we all recognize that our job is to learn from our own mistakes like the kids do, and we must confidently believe that, from our lousiest designed lesson attempts, better pedagogy can emerge. The poorly thought-out revision suggestion I demanded in this particular lesson and story was from a group of fourth graders I had been working with as they prepped for the state writing test back in the late 90's. We were almost all ready to begin revising our narrative memories, which had turned out fair to decent as rough drafts--albeit many were quite short. So I threw in a last-minute revision suggestion and--without intending to--ruined a bunch of kids' writing in the process. I never provided a writing model as part of my instruction--not a mentor text, teacher sample or student sample--I simply told my writers during writer's workshop that day, "For revision, I want you to add color words. Make your memory story come alive with color words." This turned out to be a terrible suggestion.

Writing teachers all run the risk of harming students' writing as well as their feelings in a classroom where authentic writing is happening; writing is a personal process and we must speak carefully when suggesting improvements to some students who've worked hard on their drafts, even if they turn out not as good as they could. When I see students struggling to make a piece of writing better during revision, I've been known to throw out one-size-fits-all revision suggestions--like "Add five to ten color words if you see an area without enough color." These can easily wreck the papers of students who need more personalized suggestions, so take care how you provide and require revision suggestions.

With those poor fourth graders, I suddenly ended up with many stories where almost every sentence had an added color word (or two of five!), and their abundance had polluted the previously-adequate-but-not-quite-amazing-yet writing. Good descriptions become easily cluttered by adding an abundance of color terms. It's the truth.

My bad lesson worsened thanks to a fellow colleague's handout that had actually inspired my last-minute revision idea. It was a one-page list of color synonyms. It had me sharing with my writers crimson and puce since they already knew the word red. With 64 crayon color names (instead of those found in a simple 8 crayon box) and very little guidance from me, their revisions took some of their perfectly acceptable memoirs and transformed their sentences into what I have come to call "Crayon barf" when I spot it now.

Even after improving my own lessons on color words and color poetry over the years, now and then, I still end up with a creative writer who has confused the suggestion of "add some color" with "add color everywhere." During revision, they create a cluttered sentence or two that are almost too bad for words. I saved (but misplaced) my favorite "Crayon barf" sentences collected over the years, but here are three of them I do remember:

  • John wore cerulean shorts and his tawny hair fell down his darkly tanned back. He picked up the multi-colored beach ball and threw it to us. His smile was as white as the bleach bottle that helped him make them so pearly whit in the first place.
  • I aimed my blue tennis shoes at the whiteboard and crossed the orange carpet found in every classroom in my gray, concrete school. The alabaster fluorescent lighting made me feel even more nervous in front of my classmates.
  • The yellow sun chased away the ebon night, so I opened up my neon green tent flap to greet the morning. My dark green sleeping bag with its plaid lining was still from my night's sleep.

  • Post your students' best/worst "Crayon Barf" sentences at Twitter! See box below:
Celebrate Student Samples! Use Twitter!
Rockin' Robin,

#Tweet,
#Tweet,
#Tweet...

Join us on Twitter! Celebrate student samples with a hashtag.

If you have a student write a wonderful example of "Crayon Barf" in a story or poem (on purpose or by accident), publish it at Twitter, using the hashtag #CrayonBarf. You can post it anonymously, or by using the student's initials. Let's make an online collection!

If you want the sentence to be seen by even more Twitter-ers, post it also to hashtag #AlwaysWrite, and I'll retweet it to our website's followers when I see it.

Essential Questions/Objectives/Mentor Texts that Inspire:

  • How can color words be used effectively as both nouns and adjectives in sentences? Which is more effective to use when writing descriptions in a narrative?
  • How can color words be used to promote imagery and description? How can I remember color imagery as a revision option next time I'm asked to revise a narrative piece of writing?
  • How can I imply a color in my description without directly writing the name of the color?
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.*.3.D -- Use precise words and phrases, relevant descriptive details, and sensory language to convey experiences and events.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.*.5 -- With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.*.10 -- Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.

Mentor Texts that shaped this lesson: Far and away, the best mentor text for this lesson (and any writing with color lesson) should you ask me is Hailstones and Halibut Bones. Even though I am currently retired, I still kept a class set of ten of these lovely paperback books, and I use them during teacher workshops when I am teaching the writing process and lesson design to teachers. The poetry collection in this mentor text uses color imagery much more than it uses color words, and that's an important writing skill for students to identify and try to imitate through practice. When color is used well in writing, as this poetry collection has always shown my writers, writers don't simply place color words in front of nouns we want colored; we use imagery and figurative language to suggest color and enrich our details that use color.

Before my students go through the poetry lesson below (based on Hailstones and Halibut Bones), I strongly suggest they try some color writing in their notebooks. The other books I've listed, but especially the Dr. Seuss title, all make good potential topics/ideas for writing during sacred writing.

Starting from scratch on a color poetry unit? Reviewing personification? For a Sacred Writing Time idea, I invite you to share Red Sings from Treetops: a year in color by the great Joyce Sidman. Like Joyce's other mentor texts, the entire book is beautifully written with rich description. After I share favorite passages (or the whole book, if there's time) from this mentor text, I challenge my students to personify color by giving it verbs usually reserved for humans or animals. Red sings from the treetops is a nice use of imagery (painting an image of a red bird or an autumn leaf in your mind) and personification. I ask the students:

  • Which color laughs the loudest?
  • Which color always sleeps in too late?
  • Which color is the most meticulous about his/her appearance?
  • Which color might stalk you? Creep up on you?

My classroom mentor texts for color poetry:

Hailstones and Halibut Bones
(the original edition I have) by Mary O'Neill


Hailstones and Halibut Bones
(a new, less expensive edition!) by Mary O'Neill


Red Sings from Treetops: a year in color
by Joyce Sidman


My Many Colored Days
by Dr. Seuss


Mouse Paint
by Ellen Stoll Walsh
(Bonus lesson idea at the bottom of page)

 

With personification-loaded questions like these and Sidman's mentor text, I am always impressed with the kind of color-based descriptions I can squeeze out of my writers during ten minutes of Sacred Writing Time, during poetry drafting, or during poetry revision. If working during Sacred Writing Time on Personifying Color Words, some of my writers focus on just one,--maybe two--colors with their ten minutes of SWT while others write a series of unrelated-yet-interesting single personification sentences; "Gray and white took turns slapping my face during the blizzard," for example. They try this with as many color words as they can think of before time runs out. We'll be posting a full lesson on just this idea in the near future!

The best color-based mentor text for inspiring thoughtful ten-minute examinations that focus on moods, emotions and interesting states of being is a book by Dr. Seuss. Over the years, I have had many students inspired by the My Many Colored Days lesson at WritingFix, which can be found by clicking here. Dr. Seuss here provides a very easy-to-imitate mentor text whose ideas can be expanded upon easily, so this works very nicely with the little ones as single-sentence writes, or a paragraph/poem inspirers for your older/more sophisticated older writers. Older students can create their own variations that expand on Seuss' simple formula, providing a collection of details instead of a really nice single sentence with a detail, as Seuss' book does.

Perhaps a week before we start the crayon/color poem assignment below, I have my students create Seuss-like colored day descriptions in their writer's notebooks during Sacred Writing Time. Because I believe in teacher modeling as much as I do, I share examples of Seuss' book's influence on several pages from my own writer's notebook, which I write in once a day like I expect my students to. I invite you to share my two Seuss-inspired samples below with your students (or--better yet--make your own sample to share!) as inspiration for what they might do for ten minutes as a good writer's notebook entry:

Two Teacher Notebook Models inspired by My Many Colored Days


Mr. H's Black & White Days


Mr. H's Green Days

Prepping for the Crayon/Color Poem during SWT: Once my students have had the option (or--perhaps--the requirement) to try some different type of color writing during a ten-minute session of Sacred Writing Time, I can invite them one last time to focus on one single color as they write a color poem about one color and and the images it conveys. A pumpkin, for example, conveys orange more often than any other color. This task for their writer's notebook is actually when I first introduce them to Hailstones and Halibut Bones by having them quietly read the poem about the color white and the poem about the color orange. We quickly discuss the format of the published poems, and we discuss how both were a list of white or orange items with interesting descriptions attached to them. "In ten minutes in your writer's notebook, do you think you can do the same?"

Below are some first-try color poem samples my students did during a ten minute Sacred Writing Time I gave the whole class one day.

Ten-Minute Quick Poems about the Color Blue
these student samples were inspired 100% by Hailstones and Halibut Bones

What is Blue?

Blue is the sky
And the ocean and seas
And icy cold glaciers
Floating along.
Fish scales,
A blue jay's tail
And humpback whales.
Rain on your windshield,
And the sound of night lightning
The color of fear,
The color of fright.

--Sophia

Blue

Blue is a humpback whale,
The ocean,
The wind
That's in my sail.

Blue is the sky,
Blue is Dawn Dish Soap,
And blue is the air.

Blue is calm
And it is collected.
Peace,
Serenity,
And everything in between.

Blue is turquoise
And it is teal.
Blue can be different
Based on how you feel.

Blue can be hair,
Shining in the light
Of the moon
On a beautiful night.

--Lauren

What is Blue?

The bluebird sings,
The ocean rumbles,
The berries bloom,
The flowers blossom.

The whale breaches,
A fish leaps.
Not too bright.
Not too dark.

A perfect hole in the black of night.

--Andrew

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Teaching an Imagery-inspired Color Poem: Once we've practiced a color poem, we compose one on a different color, and we take it all the way through the writing process; they need to write a poem for a class anthology we'll be making that shows all steps of the writing process.

Here is an explanation and access to the resources I use when I inspire anthology color poetry from my students based on Hailstones and Halibut Bones. Generally, we publish and decorate our final drafts, and I compile them into one of our class anthologies, but building the skills to create a better-than-normal color poem for an anthology requires work. Students should have plenty of practice before they select their final color and compose their final poem. The teacher should plan for plenty of time for pre-writing, drafting, responding and revising, and publishing these poems. If you run short of time with this and gloss over the revision step, I believe you are not seeing the true value of this lesson--through revision, imagery develops. Good imagery in a rough draft of student writing is more rare than common.

Imagery is using visually descriptive language to convey mood or idea in writing--prose or poetry. As far as "visually descriptive language," your color words (like red, blue, and burnt sienna) are not ideal, especially if students mistake this lesson to mean that they are to add as many color words to their drafts as possible. I tell the students, "With good color imagery in writing, you almost never have to say the name of the color in your writing; instead, the writer provides the reader with enough visual "ammunition" to make a reader see a color instead of telling his/her what the color is in a more direct way. See the two examples below:

  • Her orange freckles stood out even more on her puffy cheeks after they removed her wisdom teeth.
  • Her pumpkin freckles were the most fascinating elements on her rounded face.

If I don't happen to like "pumpkin freckles," which I am not sure that I do, I can consult the list of orange-mostly items that I did as a brainstorm. I did my brainstorm this last year as a challenge. I said, "Today during SWT, I am going to choose a color and list as many items as I can in ten minutes that are that color most of the time. I've going to use orange as my color. Even though I know I've seen blue and white pumpkins, the majority of pumpkins in my experience are orange, as so the word pumpkin is on my list. A Tic-Tac can be orange, but probably only 10-15% of the population would think of orange when they thought of that candy, so I'm not including it, even though I admit there are orange Tic-Tacs in the world. Understand? Good. You can choose a different color today and try and beat the number of items I get, or your can try on a different day, but I'm betting I can think of the more items for my list than you can." Gauntlet thrown. Challenge accepted by many of my students. Here is the actual list I created in my notebook this year:

My Ten-minute, 36-item Brainstorm of Things that are ORANGE
pumpkins/jack-o-lanterns traffic cones/road construction sunsets Cheetos
Cheez-its carrots persimmons Elmer's glue bottle tops
cheddar cheese Doritos dust haz-mat suits Garfield the cat
bad spray tans spicy chicken wings circus peanut candy Home Depot buckets
St. James Place (Monopoly) Gatorade goldfish and Goldfish monarch butterflies
life preservers cantaloupe Ernie from Sesame Street poppies
mangoes sherbet tigers and Tigger basketballs
Reeses candy the Golden Gate Bridge sweet potatoes mac-n-cheese
sandstone in Utah and Ariz. tangerines prescription bottles Fall foliage
 
Click here to show my notebook's brainstorm.
 

With a brainstormed list of orange images, I created my own format for a poem in my writer's notebook, and I discovered a purposeful reason to make different stanzas in my poem. I made this rough draft, which you can show your own students, and it eventually it became the final draft of my poem inspired by Hailstones and Halibut Bones. I've read my Robert Marzano, and I believe that comparing and contrasting are two crucial thinking skills when trying to develop deep thinking; that said, you can be certain my students would analyze the subtle differences between my rough and final drafts as part of their learning process.

A Poem about ORANGE

What is orange?
It is certainly something delicious.
Be it sweet, like a tangerine or mango,
Be it fleshy, like a cantaloupe or persimmon,
Or be it dusty, like Doritos and Cheetos.
And cheese, delicious cheddar cheese, of course.

What is orange?
It is often something to pay attention to.
As in the annoying traffic cones of summer,
As in the life preserver supply on the HMS Titanic,
As in the spicy chicken wing that'll upset your belly.
And suits, haz-mat suits, of course.

What is orange?
It is often something beautiful.
Maybe the tangerine sky at sunset,
Maybe the sweet potato-colored sandstone of Arizona,
But definitely monarch butterflies flitting from poppy to poppy.
And leaves, autumn leaves, of course.

What is orange?
Orange is warmth.

Click here to show my notebook's rough draft.

Comparative Analysis and Thinking Task: Feel free to print out my rough draft of my poem and show them my final draft from the table above. Have them look for the subtle changes I made. Have students predict why I made the changes I did. Have students ask, "Did his changes help the poem become a better poem?"

Revising/Publishing for the Purpose of Creating a Classroom Anthology of Imagery Poems: The main objective of a color/crayon poem, according to the way I choose to teach this lesson, is to learn/review how using well-described images (imagery) can send visual hints to a reader's mind. We learn to "show, not tell," and learning to craft sentences with imagery is an effective "show-don't-tell" technique. Ultimately, the same imagery-inspired writing skill can be applied to hinting at a texture in a story, or an emotion, or a sensation. Imagery is a fancier and more specific technique for 'showing, not telling." The color poems provide a great opportunity to help students develop skills of imagery.

As we meet with partners and prepare to revise our color poem drafts--all poems having been composed in and shared from a student's writer's notebook--we analyze one another's a) use of imagery that "hints at the color while being descriptive" and b) use of imagery that feels more direct than "hinty." They usually have good conversations about the different degrees and types of hinting a writer can use, which is a great technique for "showing ideas in writing." Using imagery well as a writer is a) a skill that is pretty advanced (especially for my middle schoolers, as you will see below in the samples I've provided) and b) a skill that that can be transferred to writer's workshop pieces the students are working on.

I have had great success with transfer with this lesson: the imagery and showing skills learned in this poetry task easily, with strong reminders from the teacher, will find their way into the other assignments my students are writing for my classes.

I have a lot of binders on my shelves; most are anthologies made by classes of long-ago students. So that I can have a class anthology that'll remind my writers what imagery can sound like when it's used interestingly, we create an anthology with this lesson we can always pull off the shelf to remind us of a writing skill we've practiced. Because they are going in an anthology, we'll type our final drafts, decorate them if there's time, and they all go into a binder that gets passed around for a few weeks, then finds its way to one of my classroom bookshelves. When--weeks or months later--a child asks me during a quick writing conference, "What's imagery again, Mr. Harrison?" I can reply with, "Why don't you go read a few poems in that color poem anthology we made? If that doesn't remind you of what imagery is, come see me again with that question, and we'll look at a few poems together."

I love class anthologies because they make great teaching tools as well as classroom artifacts. Anthologies are also cheaper than yearbooks, and I love remembering the students I had long ago by looking through the anthologies I've saved after retiring.

Here are some of my most unique and interesting submissions to our class color/crayon poem anthology during the 2019 school year--my final year of teaching:

From our 2019 Color Poem Final Draft Class Anthology

What is Blue?
by Zach

Blue is the sea,
Crashing on the sand.
Churning waves in beach
Hand-in-hand.

Blue is blueberries,
Sweet like honey,
Like the sky so late,
Better than money.



The hottest of a flame,
Sending embers of roaring.
Or the dark blue of night,
Where you’re dreaming and snoring.



Maybe your eyes sparkle bright,
W with the shade of blue.
What also provides?
A blue whale does too.

What's Pink?
by Dylon (my favorite breast cancer warrior)



Pink is a cherry in the middle of spring,
Or the ruby that on top of a very special ring.
Pink is the horizon from day to dawn.
Pink's the color when your favorite voice sings.



When I think of pink I think of dawn,
The sun goes down, but not for long
When you feel a sense of happy running through your heart.
It’s even the color of a little pink hog.

The color food that’s very tart
When you feel good from your toes to your heart.
That feeling the drops from your hair to your feet.
The feeling when you hit the bull’s-eye in darts



Pink is when you cut into your meat
And the pink inside get you excited to eat.
When the sun has set its afternoon
It’s another of the world'

s feasts.



All of this in the color pink.

What is black?
by Sydney

Black is a tree
After a long lasting fire.
Black is a car,
Exterior of a tire.
It’s the color of sadness,
The color of gloom.
It’s a grieving child
Pacing around the bedroom.
Black is a house,
The haunted one across the way.
It is a cat,
Roaming on Halloween Day.
Black is a storm,
The opposite of the warm,
The goth-like college dorm
And not a preppy norm.
Black is the sky
After and eruption of a volcano.
It is a sigh
After a child has had to say, "No!"

Blue
by Lily

Blue is a frozen lake
The clearest sky,
The worst mistake.

Blue's the feeling of loss and sorrow,
The hopelessness of no tomorrow.
Blue is light and breezy too,
Covering birds in every zoo.

Blue is calm and focused and
splashes over grains of sand.
Blue is bold and powerful,
as well as kind and soft and humble.

Blue is water, air, and life, yet
Blue is happiness and strife.

Red
by Kayla

Bright as a strawberry
Sweet as an apple
Glowing with pride.


The brightest color you could find



Juicy like a watermelon
A dancing flame in the night
Her bright red lips
And the glass full of blood wine



A wound
Oozing scarlet
like a sparkly ruby gem.



A rose and its petals drifting in the wind,
A red velvet cake
And a bold cherry blossom tree.

Gray
by Ka den



Gray is smoke
it makes clouds
charcoal and ash



The stag's sad sound
Salmon scales
A an old gray mare, blue eyes turned pale

Gray grandma (not groovy)
Old brittle hair.
A gust of wind in the air,
Soot on your hands
Stones in the sea in the land.



Dust from the moon,
Silver ragwort in bloom,
Sadness juice
The noise of a noose.



That is gray.

 

Let us Publish One of Your Students Here: If you teach this lesson and end up with a student sample you're particularly proud of, contact us at: corbett@corbettharrison.com We'll send you--as our thanks for receiving a sample we can share here--our 500+ Journal/Writer's Topics with Question Leads to use with your students.

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A bonus color writing assignment idea: "Marble Paint Poems"

I do have to honor two of my teaching mentors--Carol Harriman and Sue Martin--who introduced me to the mentor text Mouse Paint when the three of us were teaching high school creative writing during the same semester. It was a messy project, the color poem my two wonderful mentors taught me inspired by this picture book. I credit these ladies with starting me on a journey of discovering the power of using picture books as inspiration for writing, even when working with high schoolers. If you click the image just below, you will be taken to a YouTube video where a reader shares the book, its story, and its pictures with you. I personally prefer the physical book I can hold in my own hand, but I recognize the power of video and story-telling in this day and age. So use the video, if you're inspired by this writing task.

As far as supplies and step-by-step directions. The lesson Carol and Sue shared with me required:

  • Cardboard box lids. Cardboard soda pop can carriers (24 cans) work too.
  • Tape just the corners of an 8.5" x 11" piece of white paper to inside of one of the lids.
  • Drop three marbles covered in washable paint on the student's paper in the lid: one red marble, one yellow, and one blue.
  • The three marbles represent the three mice, and the student's job is to carefully roll the marbles back and forth across their paper until it is sufficiently painted. I told my students to imagine the three mice have a dab of paint on their tails, and the marks left by the marbles on on the page, especially where they intersect (and mix in color) represent the mice running across the white page. Don't let students over-paint, and don't let them under-paint. They will want enough paint in their picture to be able to allow them to apply their skills of figurative and poetic language to the image that is created. To quote my favorite play, "Six Degrees of Separation," when the main character asks his child's art teacher what her secret to making them artists was, she replies with, "I don't have a secret. I just know when to take their drawings away from them."
  • Have lots of clean-up materials ready as the marbles will--sometimes--jump right out of the box lid and onto your carpet/flooring. As the Boy Scouts always taught me: "Be prepared."
  • Paintings should dry overnight. The can be taken out of the boxes and the same tape can be used to tape them to the wall to dry.
  • Students draft a poem based on literal and suggested images found in their paintings; their poems are not to be about the book Mouse Paint; their poems might easily contain similes, metaphors, imagery, alliteration, assonance, and creative use of verbs.
  • Students put poems and paintings away for a few days, allowing the words in the poems to "gestate" a bit, and then they share and offer word-smithing suggestions to each other before revising.
  • Students type a final draft that can be displayed with their marble painting. (These make great anthologies too!)
The Story of Mouse Paint read for you on video...
Basic instructions for marble painting...

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Let us Publish One of Your Students Here: If you teach this lesson and end up with a student sample you're particularly proud of, contact us at: corbett@corbettharrison.com We'll send you--as our thanks for receiving a sample we can share here--our 500+ Journal/Writer's Topics with Question Leads to use with your students.

Plan ahead!
October 22 is National Color Day,

and we have a Sacred Writing Time slide for that!
Set October 22 as a deadline for color poems?

Open #Color Day Sacred Writing Time slide by clicking here.

You can order all 366 Sacred Writing Time Slides by visiting our Teachers Pay Teachers store.

"Such a time saver! Thank you!"

MMMM--Teachers Pay Teachers purchaser


Here's another of our free-to-use writing lessons:
Teaching "Showing" Language?
Teaching Precise Details?

Click on the image above or here for lesson access:
Monster Sketches
inspired by Mercer Mayer's
There's a Nightmare in my Closet

Run Much 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


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.

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 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.

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Here's another of our free-to-use writing lessons:
Color Poems are often Free Verse.
Preposition Poems have Structure.


Prepositional Phrase Poems
The mentor text--Zoom-- by Istvan Banyai
is the picture book we use to teach this poetry format.

This resource page features one of the freely posted ideas we share with our fellow writing teachers. We hope this page's idea inspires the establishment of a writer's notebook routine in your classroom.

If you're a teacher who is just getting started with classroom writer's notebooks, welcome aboard. We fund this website--Always Write--by selling just a few of our products from our Teachers Pay Teachers store. Before buying, kindly take advantage of the free preview materials we share so you know if the resources will work with your grade level and teaching style before you purchase the entire product.

Our FIRST Product!
Beginner Prompts, Thoughtfully Presented:


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-- Free Preview of August & September --


-- short video about SWT & Bingo Cards --

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365 Ideas for Writing/Discussing:
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Here's another of our free-to-use writing lessons:
March 14th is "Pi Day." This lesson is designed to complement that holiday.


Pi Poems & Pie Poems
inspired partly by Derek Munson's Enemy Pie

Here's another of our free-to-use writing lessons:
Begin this one on school picture day, or somewhere thereabouts...


Worst School Picture Day Ever Lesson
inspired by Margie Palatini's Bedhead
Here's another of our free-to-use writing lessons:
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!

Here's another of our free-to-use writing lessons:
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?

Here's another of our free-to-use writing lessons:
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!

Here's another of our free-to-use writing lessons:
A witty mentor text that sets up a delightful writing assignment:

Justifying Rules Spuriously
inspired by David Wisnieski's
The Secret Knowledge of Grown-ups

Here's another of our free-to-use writing lessons:
Tired of Students Memorizing Vocabulary Instead of Learning it? Us too!

Vocabulary Frenemies
inspired by J. Ruth Gendler's
The Book of Qualities

 

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