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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 created 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

After our Sacred Writing Time Slides, our second best-selling product at our Teachers Pay Teachers store has become our Vocabulary Workshop materials. Of all that I created during my thirty years in the classroom and among educators, Vocabulary Workshop is what I consider to be my best contribution to my student-centered writing classroom.

In a Vocabulary Workshop, students select four words from their reading they personally like enough to add to their vocabulary; these words come from independent reading, assigned reading, and reading analyzed and discussed during reading and writing lessons. Over a month or six weeks, the teacher demonstrates multiple ways for students to write about the vocabulary words they find throughout the first quarter; then, students choose from those multiple ideas when they prepare writing about each of their words. They come to class prepared to teach their four vocabulary words' meaning to other students, using their own writing about the vocabulary word as a tool with which to teach.

When I began using Vocabulary Workshop in my classroom, it started as an every-Friday routine. Over time, it became an every-other-Friday routine but the writing tasks became a bit more challenging. During my last year in the classroom, my writers marked their student calendars with "Vocabulary Workshop" on every other Friday just a few weeks into the school year. My students knew they were important assignments, and they knew the Fridays they had to come to school with their assignment ready to share.

My main objective of the goal for my students was to teach them to organize themselves so they weren't completing their entire vocabulary workshop assignment the night before it was due.

When a student PERSONIFIES a VOCABULARY WORD, he/she writes about in such a way that teaching another student the word's meaning should be simple. If students truly master VOCABULARY PERSONIFICATION, they will also develop descriptive skills and skills of critical thinking.

An Adaptable Lesson from the Harrisons' Classroom to Your Classroom:
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, and focusing on unique ways to teach writing has become a combined passion for both of us. 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 and successfully used during our time in the classroom.

We began this online task by--first--creating WritingFix in 1999, and there we began posting writing methodologies and techniques from our own classrooms. Two few years after WritingFix had been established, we teamed with the Northern Nevada Writing Project for several years, and through their popular inservice classes, we began adding the ideas of many Nevada teachers who enrolled in those classes for recertification credit. When the federal budget floundered in 2008, the NNWP was no longer able to sponsor WritingFix in any way shape or form, but Dena and I keep the site online through user donations and our own cash.

In 2008, we began creating this newer website with writing lessons that specifically focused on our favorite topics and techniques for writing instruction: 1) the six writing traits; 2) writing across the curriculum, 3) writing lessons that differentiate, 4) writer's notebooks, and 5) vocabulary instruction. This "Always Write" website has been growing--month by month--since the summer of 2008. Below, you will find a lesson we posted to inspire a unique type of writing.

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

Determine a type of writing you'll use all year long
and teach it REALLY well to ensure student success.

Personified Vocab. in Three Steps

This Lesson is about Mastering a Short Type of Writing that can be Used throughout the School Year

After thirty years as a teacher, I honestly think my best personal creation for my own classroom was Vocabulary Workshop. As teachers, we build lessons and routines; some of them we learn to love year after year, and if we're good teachers, we make sure even the lessons we love can be improved upon.

I learned to love teaching PERSONIFYING VOCABULARY to my students. Over thirty years, I have become really good at teaching it. Every year, I found a way to introduce it with even more "oomph."

I love assessing my students' PERSONIFIED VOCABULARY because the students produce short pieces of writing that show didn't take very long to assess, but the thinking the students had to do to create the writing was high up on Bloom's. I believe shorter writing tasks that truly promote deep thinking are just as valid as longer writing assignments that produce essays and reports.

PERSONIFIED VOCABULARY became one of my favorite short-but-challenging writing tasks in class. I didn't expect the kids to do it well based on their ability to simply define and hint at personification; I taught it so students absolutely learned skills that I expected when the students became independent PERSONIFERS of VOCABULARY.

This write-up shares how I--during my final year of teaching-- meticulously taught the three skills I expected my students to practice and perfect when PERSONIFYING VOCABULARY, which they would be doing regularly as a class writing task: a) connecting a new word's meaning to an abstraction that takes the form of a personification; b) using both quality details and unique details while personifying; and c) creating a five-sentence description that shows control of periods, apostrophes, and eventually commas and dialogue punctuation, which improve our continued attempts to personify.

Quick Overview: This on-line write-up shares in detail (which I hope you like but also adapt) the three steps I go through to teach my students how to personify vocabulary words. I do this early on in the school year so that we can use personification as a writing response three or four times a month for the rest of the school year. With repeated practice, most of my students begin to produce quality pieces of short writing.

Essential Questions/Objectives/Mentor Text Suggestions:

  • How can I clearly connect a difficult word's meaning to a fictional character, if I was asked to personify the vocabulary word?
  • How can I ensure I'm using quality descriptive details that are also unique while I'm personifying? How can I ensure I am writing as a reviser, not writing it to simply have a bare bones rough draft to turn in to the teacher? Great writing never takes the final form of a rough draft; it must go through the revision and editing process..
  • How can I use our classroom community of writers to help me publish a five-sentence personification that is correct with its use of writing conventions?


    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.*.2.B -- Develop a topic with relevant facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples.
    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.

This lesson's suggested (but certainly never required) mentor texts:

  • The Scallywags by David Melling. I love this book. I wish I had the idea for it because my students personify vocabulary words so often. This book provides a great example (filled with memorable details) of how a great vocabulary word--Scallywag or Scallawag--can cleverly be used as a last name. Then, the family that has that last name can live up to the word's meaning, which the family certainly does in The Scallywags. When I shared this book, everybody got the initial idea of what it meant to personify a word.


  • Miss Alaineus by Debra Frasier. Another great story that promotes personification of a word; in this case, the word is miscellaneous. The character creates a character named Miss Alaineus whose appearance and behavior help convey the word miscellaneous's meaning. The book ends with the students having a Vocabulary Fair, where they dress up as their favorite words and act their meanings out all day, and I always will regret that I never found time to host a proper Vocabulary Fair while I was in my own classroom.


  • Meet the Planets by John McGranghan with optional use of Holst's symphony "The Planets" to show how music and personality can be connected by a skilled artist and thinker. There are some great tier-2 vocabulary words that come from the names of our planets, and this book bases some of the personalities it gives the planets on those words, but not all of them. Saturnine is a good word, but I don't believe there is a similar vocabulary word named for Neptune. It's a very interesting compare/contrast exercise to learn vocabulary words named for gods/planets/satellites (like mercurial and martial and lunatic) and to compare those words' meaning to the music from Holst's symphony, asking, "Do you think this music matches the personality of the word named for the god/planet/satellite?")

My classroom mentor texts that I use to introduce PERSONIFYING VOCAB:

The Scallywags
by David Melling


Miss Alaineus
by Debra Frasier


Meet the Planets

by John McGranghan


The Planets

by Gustav Holst

Teaching students to show quality thinking and writing through the personification of vocabulary words
Practice Session #1: Using Vocabulary Words as a Last Name for an imaginary personified character

Students' initial task:

  • Select a vocabulary word from the provided list. Read its meaning. Explore different ideas you have for using the word in sentences with a partner.
  • Pretend there is a fictional person whose last name is the vocabulary word you've chosen. Invent a character whose personality, whose lifestyle, whose clothing, whose job, etc., are appropriate because of what the word that's the last name means. If 'jovial' means 'jolly,' then if you create a character named Jim Jovial, he better do things in the description that prove to me he is indeed jolly.

The initial skill I focus on when first teaching students to personify vocabulary? Teaching students to solidly link their vocabulary word's meaning to the personified character they are creating. You will have students who kind of miss the point and simply use the vocabulary word as last name and/or make only loose connections to the vocabulary word's meaning. You have to conquer that common misunderstanding early on.

Let's start our practice by building a three-criteria rubric in front of our students as we introduce the skills of personifying vocabulary words to our writers during these three practice sessions:

Rubric for Personifying Vocabulary Words, Practice Session #1
  "A" work "B" work "C or lower" work
Skill #1: the personified description links to vocab word's meaning
Every important detail used in the student's description can be linked back to the vocabulary word's meaning.
While most details in the description can be connected to the vocabulary word's meaning, there are also some details that seem out of place or confusing.
Too many details have been included that don't seem to a solid link to the word's meaning.
Criteria #2: TBA This skill will be introduced during practice session #2    
Criteria #3: TBA This skill will be introduced during practice session #3    

Here's a printable version (PDF) of the rubric just for this part of practicing personifying. The PDF comes with lines for students to compose their drafts on, and keeps the rubric in the forefront of their periphery.

The Scallywags by David Mellin is the mentor text I bring out for this portion of practice. It's a fun book about a family whose behavior makes them live up to their surname, which can be scallywag or scalawag in the dictionary. This idea translates into an adaptable writing lesson. The teacher can have students create characters with vocabulary-inspired last names. Below are some resources I use when i do this as my first practice session of personifying vocabulary.

You can also introduce this lesson by sharing the word aptronym with your students. An aptronym occurs when you have a last name that suits who you are professionally; think of a professional baseball pitcher named Armstrong, for example. Armstrong is an aptronym to that particular profession, as well as professional arm wrestler, I suppose.

In The Scallywags, the last name is an aptronym based on the word scalawag, and if you have the chance to share the book, have the students try to remember the specific details that made the Scallywags live up to their surname. For this practice session, students are inventing a character (or a whole family) who aptly live up to their last name, which happens to also be a vocabulary word.

Here are the choices for personified last names I give my students for this first practice session:

These vocabulary words will make good surname choices for this practice session
(I added a link to Google dictionary, which provides pronunciation help if any of these words stymie you.)

Here's my two-page nametag handout with the above sixteen words on them for students to cut out and make nametags from. If you happen to be at a school that has a budget that can buy you supplies, please know I purposely created this handout so that it could be printed on Avery Self-Adhesive Nametag Template 5395; it does make the task a bit more fun for the kids to wear them on actual nametag templates.

When the student enter, they are each given a nametag. They are told to:

  • Check with me if they aren't sure how to pronounce their word. If this screen is displayed, they can click the word links above to hear the computer pronounce the words.
  • Check with me if they aren't sure how to explain what their word means to another (a definition is written at the bottom of each nametag).

I say, "Here's the scenario. You are at a party, trying to meet new friends. However, you are not going to the party as you. You are going to the party as someone who has the last name that's the vocabulary word on the nametag you've been given. At the bottom of the nametag, you'll find a definition of your assigned word. Just like in the Scallywags story, your job will be to make a character--male or female--who can attend this party and live up to his/her last name." I ask the students--on scratch paper--to:

  • Come up with a few ideas for the character's first name. My students tend to go alliterative, like "Tim Tenacity." I tell the students to never settle for the first name that pops into their heads, which is why I ask for more than one when they brainstorm for this.
  • Come up with two ideas for what their characters might actually say out loud at a party to SHOW they live up to the meaning of the word that is their last name. Again, I remind them of the Scallywags and ask, "What are two things--say--Steve Scallywag might say at a party to SHOW he's an actual scalawag?"
  • Come up with two ideas for what their characters might do/perform/pantomime at a party to SHOW they live up to the meaning of the word that is their last name. Again, I remind them of the Scallywags and ask, "What are two things Steve Scallywag might be doing at a party to SHOW he's a scalawag?"

When students have their ideas written on scratch paper and their final choice of their characters' first names ready to go (you have to move around, helping those who are struggling with the idea already), have them transfer the name to their nametag and be ready to go to the Vocabulary Social Party.

  • The "vocabulary party" starts when the teacher says "Go." The goal is to go meet interesting new characters with interesting last names.
  • Each student finds a partner and introduces himself/herself as his/her own character name from the nametag. Students ARE NOT to try and read the definition at the bottom of their partner's nametag when they first meet. The goal here is for the students to try and demonstrate the meaning of their characters' last names.
  • Each student says to his/her partner, "So what's your deal, [insert Vocabulary Name here]?" and the partner has to respond by saying something or doing something that begins to SHOW the partner what his/her character's last name means. If a partner can't guess, well, that's why we brainstormed four ideas for clues on scratch paper: two things we might say + two things we might do. They need to keep trying to SHOW their partner what their character's last name means.
  • When students both guess each other's words with fair accuracy, they wait until the teacher yells, "Rotate!" If they finish before the other partners finish, I have these three questions displayed so that students can talk about them while they await the rotation.
    • What kind of clothes would your character wear?
    • What kind of job or hobbies would your character pursue? What would he/she do for fun?
    • What interesting habits or quirks (good or bad) might your character have?
    • Remember, every answer should somehow link back the the meaning of the character's last name!
  • When it's time to rotate, we do. Usually, we rotate five times so they can see and discuss many words.
  • After rotations, we return to our seats, and we spend five or ten minutes discussing:
    • Based on the last names' meaning, did anyone find someone who shares any of their values?
    • A frenemy is an interesting concepts. Did anyone meet a potential frenemy when they met a character?
    • Based on the last names' meaning, did anyone find someone who they would not want to meet again at a future party?

It's now time for student's first personified vocabulary writing assignment (which can be written alone or with a partner, depending on your students' comfort level with being figurative):

Inspired by the previous tasks, students will...

  • ...write a description of the character they just played at the vocabulary party. This description will make clear connections between what the character does or says (or wears) and the meaning of the character's last name.
  • ...create a 5-sentence (minimum) descriptive paragraph that introduces us to the character.
  • ...double-check that every detail shared about the character must somehow link back to the definition of the character's last name.

Before they begin, have students look at these two samples I created. I have my students decide and then justify what score each sample should receive using the rubric provided for this first practice session.

Two Models from the Teacher for Student Analysis
Which is the better piece, based on the rubric? Who linked the word's meaning to person the best?
charitable (ad) -- relating to the assistance of those in need, or describing someone who's likely to be more lenient. miserly (adj) -- showing the qualities of a person who hoards wealth and spends very little
Charlie Charitable comes from the best family around. For years, Charlie's ancestors have just been good people with good in their hearts. Charlie likes to help people across the street, especially old people. Charlie plans on starting his own charity someday because it seems like a good way to spend your time. It will probably end up being a charity for orphaned amoebas or reptiles with colds because that seems like a good thing Charlie can do to help society. Millie Miserly keeps forgetting where she hides the jars of money she buries in her backyard. Some time back, Millie kept her money at the bank, but she hated not physically seeing it every day, holding it, rolling around in its paper-meets-fabric goodness. Her clothes and soles are filled with holes because she thinks buying new clothes is a waste of cash. "Shouldn't shoes last my whole life?" she wonders. All charities know to avoid Mrs. Miserly's front door during fund drives.

Use the rubric below when analyzing the two teacher models above:

'A' Work
'B' Work
'C' Work
Every important detail used in the student's description can be linked back to the vocabulary word's meaning. .
While most details in the description can be connected to the vocabulary word's meaning, there are also some details that seem out of place or confusing.
Too many details have been included that don't make a solid or obvious link to the vocabulary word's meaning.

_______________________

Back to the top of the page
_______________________

Teaching students to develop quality thinking and writing through the personification of vocabulary.
Practice Session #2: morphing vocabulary words into imaginary people's names before personifying them

My students' second task for personification practice, done a few days or a week after the first practice session:

  • Students are placed in groups of three or four. Groups are handed these eight nametags (cut them out or print them out on Avery Self-Adhesive Nametag Template 539. Each nametag has a word at the bottom that can be personified. Each student selects a different word from the eight choices. Extra nametags are set aside.
  • These eight name tags each have vocabulary words that can easily be morphed into proper-sounding names, which is a practice many of my students really like adding to the thinking process when they are personifying (cerebellum can become Sarah Bellum, for example). The top four words are tier-2 words, or just good words for writers and readers to know; the bottom four words are more content-inspired vocabulary words (what we call tier-3 in our district), and students who choose these need to be guided to think more figuratively about the words they are personifying than literally about their meanings.
  • Students ask their groups, "For my word/personified character, what are three things I might do to SHOW me being the vocabulary word's definition? What are two things I might say to SHOW to the same thing? What might my character wear or do to hint strongly at the word's meaning?" Before they write their own to share with their group, they analyze these four students samples, using the rubric, which now has two skills for students to work on, not just one.
  • Students write five- or six-sentence descriptions on this rubric-infused drafting sheet that personify the character whose name they've recorded on their nametags. They apply the rubric as they write. They add a picture as soon as they are finished drafting; if they write slowly, they don't get to add a picture. Students share, and help one another fairly self-assess their writing based on the rubric.
Four Personified Vocab Words from my Sixth Graders for Students to Analyze& Suggest Ideas
Which is the better piece, based on the rubric? Who linked the word's meaning to person the best? Whose details are the best?
indefatigable (adj) -- describing a person or behavior that shows tireless dedication to completing a job or task. effervescence (noun) --the quality of bubbliness or excessive enthusiasm
Mister Indy Fatable is a hard-working man! He always fights for world justice, and he will never stop at his job. He would walk through rain and hail to get the job done. F. R. Vescence is the happiest clown in town. He makes people smile and makes each moment worthwhile. He smiles with glee as the day goes by--to make people happy, that is why. "F. R. Vescence is my name and happiness is my game!" With his rainbow afro and red, squishy nose, his happiness never, ever goes.
hypocrisy (noun) -- behavior that contradicts what one claims to believe or feel. cipher (noun) --something written in secret code
Mr. Hippah Crissy loves to contradict himself. He will tell one person that he likes him/her. Then, he'll tell everyone else that he hates that person. Mr. H. Crissy is a lawyer because he likes to tell people to obey the law. Secretly, he doesn't obey the law when he is defending his client. Cy Fur is a mysterious man. He wanders around town, slipping secret notes to shady people. If you would read the notes, you will see. You cannot read them. They are written in a highly secret cipher. You go, Cy!
Use the rubric below to analyze the four student models above; give each model a grade for
the two skills now listed on our rubric:

'A' Work
'B' Work
'C' Work
Every important detail used in the student's description can be linked back to the vocabulary word's meaning. .
While most details in the description can be connected to the vocabulary word's meaning, there are also some details that seem out of place or confusing.
Too many details have been included that don't make a solid or obvious link to the vocabulary word's meaning.
Without over-doing it, this writer used quality details throughout his/her personified description. This writer also tried using description with a figurative language tool (other than personification) in it. This writer used quality details throughout his/her personified description, but he/she did not include another type of figurative language. Some sentences may have too many details.

This writer used details that are more commonplace than interesting and unique.

This writer has either over-detailed or under-detailed some or all of his/her sentences.

_______________________

Back to the top of the page
_______________________

Teaching students to develop quality thinking and writing through the personification of vocabulary.
Practice Session #3: personifying a random vocabulary word that you select because you want to remember its meaning

I am developing a new product that will provide 15 sets of five thematically-linked vocabulary words; the intention is that a teacher can initiate fifteen different"word of the day" weeks, where a new word is revealed every day to the students, and the theme is analyzed deductively.

One of my sets of five words will--thematically--be: "Words named for the Greek gods who have heavenly bodies in our solar system named for them." Here's the list, which is coincidentally the list I use during part three of this practice session:

  1. martial -- named for Mars, god of war-- (adj) warlike; describing a situation of or appropriate to war, as in "The governor declared martial law during the riot."
  2. earthen -- named for Earth, of course -- (adj) made up of compressed soil or baked clay, as in "The earthen path was gentler on his bare feet than the sharp gravel of the previous road."
  3. lunatic -- named for Luna, goddess of the moon -- (noun) a person suffering from mental illness, or an extremely foolish or eccentric person, as in "The lunatic stopped the busy highway by dancing in the middle of traffic wearing his pajamas." The word was named based on the superstition that people act a little crazier when the moon is full, as in "Must be a full Moon. The lunatics are out tonight."
  4. mercurial -- named for Mercury, the messenger god -- (adj) describing a person who has unpredictable mood changes, or changes of mind, as in "His mercurial behavior at his own surprise party had us wondering if he truly might not like to be surprised."
  5. saturnine -- named for Saturn, father of the Olympians -- (adj) describing a person who is slow and gloomy, or whose features are dark and moody, as in "Eeyore is the most saturnine of all the characters who live in the 100-Acre Wood."

For this third and final practice personification, I want students to practice something we do in Vocabulary Workshop: we purposely select the four words based on how likely we see ourselves using the words again--based on their meaning--in conversations in the future. The four words my students choose for our twice-monthly Vocabulary workshop are words they will have to write about in a unique way--personifying one of their words being just one of their choices; my experience taught me that by writing about the words in a way that requires personal choices, students remember the words more authentically. Their writing also improves because they are creating paragraphs based on skills and based on words they like.

I ask my students to look at these five words they may encounter while reading for my class or on their own. I ask them to choose one word from my five that is a) new to them and that b) they saw themselves possibly using in future class discussions or writing they are doing. The word they select, they are going to personify. To start the process, I remind them they have learned two options:

  • Students can simply use the vocabulary word as a surname (like the Scallywags). They can learn to add a variety of interesting prefixes that go beyond Mister, Miss, and Missus: Doctor, Nurse, Judge, Major General, Agent, Officer, etc.). When Dena and I watch television with the subtitles on at home (because we're deaf now), we sometimes see that the loud crowd-talking that's not distinguishable as individual lines of dialogue, well, it gets labeled by closed captioning as "General Hubbub," and we always think he'd be the best vocabulary word to personify as a last name.
  • Students can try to cleverly turn the vocabulary word into something resembling a name, like we did in practice session #2 above.

Each student chooses a word from my list of five vocabulary words based on the solar system's heavenly bodies. Each student prepares a 5- or 6-sentence personified description based on a character they will create inspired by the word's meaning. This time, students will assist each other after drafting in revising and editing, so the rubric now has a third criteria.

While they are drafting, and throughout this lesson when I can, I play a few of the planets' symphonies, especially the symphonies for Mercury, Mars, and Saturn. I ask, "Does the music match the meaning of the word the planet is named for? Does the symphony for Mars sound martial? Etc.?"

I also have a new picture book--Meet the Planets--that I'll use in a similar way to how I use Holst's symphonies. Is the planet personified in the book in a way that matches the word named for the planet?

In case your students need to see it when they are personifying vocabulary for this third task or for future personifications, here is the full rubric, for you to display for your students.

Rubric for Personifying Vocabulary Words, Practice Session #3, #4, #5, etc.
  "A" work "B" work "C or lower" work
Skill #1: the personified description links to vocab word's meaning
Every important detail used in the student's description can be linked back to the vocabulary word's meaning. .
While most details in the description can be connected to the vocabulary word's meaning, there are also some details that seem out of place or confusing.
Too many details have been included that don't make a solid or obvious link to the vocabulary word's meaning.
Skill #2: the writer uses quality details, showing care to use descriptive words that are interesting & unique. Without over-doing it, this writer used quality details throughout his/her personified description. This writer also tried using description with a figurative language tool (other than personification) in it. This writer used quality details throughout his/her personified description, but he/she did not include another type of figurative language. Some sentences may have too many details. This writer used details that are more commonplace than interesting and unique.

This writer has either over-detailed or under-detailed some or all of his/her sentences.
Skill #3: the writer uses the assistance of classmates to double check spelling and punctuation. One or fewer mistakes in spelling or punctuation are present in the finalized, neat copy. This writer really used classmates to ensure no mistakes! Only two or three mistakes in spelling or punctuation are present in the finalized, neat copy. This writer needed to have one more reader at least. More than four mistakes in spelling or punctuation show the teacher that this writer hasn't sought out editing for this piece of writing.
What's Vocabulary Workshop?
a learner-centered routine that teaches writing and vocabulary skills while building a stronger community of learners.

Vocab Workshop Resource Page
free resources and lessons for helping
students truly learn vocabulary

If you're interested in purchasing our Vocabulary Workshop PowerPoint Lessons, visit our
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"Love this resource - so easy to use. Much more creative than standard vocabulary tasks. My students love it.

--Teachers Pay Teachers customer review


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 customer review


Here's another of our free-to-use writing lessons:
Creating Acrostic-Styled Lists of
Examples and Non-Examples

Vocabulary Acrostic Riddles
inspired by Bob Raczka's Lemonade and Other Poems Squeezed from a Single Word

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

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

Breaking Down the Parts of a Whole...
Designing a Character
with arrows and labels

Character & Vocabulary "Anatomies"
inspired by Dr. Seuss'
The Sneetches and Other Stories


Show Students How Language is Fun!
A Plethora of Fantabulous
Words Await your Students in
Ruth Heller's Books...

Collective Noun Riddles for Writer's Notebooks
inspired by Ruth Heller's
A Cache of Jewels and Other Collective Nouns

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?

In this text, punctuation marks send postcards!
What other unusual items might send your notebook a postcard?

Edge Postcards
inspired by a fun idea in Robin Pulver's
Punctuation Takes a Vacation

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

"Fake News" for Writer's Notebooks!
Create a Sensational News Story to Practice Elements of Journalism:

Sensational Notebook News
inspired by Colin and Jacqui Hawkins'
Fairytale News

Don't forget to challenge those strong writers too!
Share Word Play Texts with your
Writers who Word Play during SWT.

Unique Language Comics
inspired by Jon Agee's
Palindromania


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

Writing across the Curriculum:
Anachronism takes the form of a Live Newcast

Strange Time/Place for a News Reporter
inspired by Margie Palatini's tub-boo-boo

Researching historical places?
A book by one of my favorite math teachers and one of my favorite history teachers:

Historical Tour Guide Scripts
inspired by Holly Young and Cathy Morgan's
Help Wanted at Mount Vernon

An inspired STRUCTURE mentor text
Impersonating A Test's "Voice"
in a Math-Crazy World? Fun!

My Own Darn Math Curse
inspired by Jon Scieszka's
Math Curse


 

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