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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 well--can be the most enjoyable part of your teaching day, we created this website to provide fun, adaptable ideas for teachers.

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Contact us through this e-mail address with questions/comments about this prompt we specifically designed for elementary-aged writers: Corbett@CorbettHarrison.com

One of my favorite people I ever called a colleague and friend is Jodie Black, who retired the same year I did. As a teacher, I mostly worked with all levels of middle and high school while Jodie was exclusively kindergarten, but she taught me so much about establishing classrooms environments that put students in charge of things, and yet somehow the classroom still functions. When Jodie and I co-taught a graduate-level class at our University for seven years, I am certain that I learned more from Jodie about good teaching philosophy than I learned from many of my mentors at my own grade level. Jodie Black and I shared the ability to adapt just about ANY idea for writing and make it work for our respective grades. I hope you all end up with a colleague like I did; Jodie taught me the importance of adapting ideas from good teachers.

A Story-Writing Prompt Specifically for Primary and Upper Elementary Writers
How this free-to-use lesson came to be online: In 2008, working under the direction of Jodie Black, I participated on a team that created a new publication for our local writing project chapter:

The 6 x 6 Guide: 36 Lessons for K-2 teachers
(use the link to freely download this guide, with permission from Jodie Black)


My
writing teaching skills, admittedly, are quite good when working with 4th graders and older, but I always struggled to design lessons specifically for the younger grades. My job in Jodie's project was to create a website where we could share some of the lesson contributors' write-ups in online form, and I also volunteered to create a series of online, choice-driven writing prompts.

On this page, you'll find one of those original prompts for young writers that was posted at WritingFix. Since its original posting there in 2008, I have made some improvements upon it.

Thanks for checking out the writing prompt and the student samples below, and if you have any questions about this page's content, don't hesitate to contact us using this email address: corbett@corbettharrison.com

Can these three buttons inspire a story from you today?
The Wacky Word Game

press each button below until you create a sentence
that puts a fun story into your head.

Student Instructions: Press the three buttons below until you have three ideas that you could write into one one story idea. Plan your story in your head. Think of some good details you'll want to include. Then write the story and share it with a friend.

Write about

                                                          

__________________________________________________________________

Teacher Instructions: Play the "What if I found a(n) ______ that allowed me to teach ________ to _______?" game. The goal is to fill in the blanks with crazy ideas that tickle the imagination, which needs a warm up before beginning to write. Some examples your students might make:

  • What if I found a computer that allowed me to teach juggling to random people?
  • What if I found a magic coin that allowed me to teach stray cats to win the lottery?
  • What if I found a diary that allowed me to teach myself to find pirate treasure?

Ask your students, "How would you start your What If story idea?" and "How would it end?" Forbid them from using "Once upon a time..." and "they all lived happily ever after." Challenge them to start and end the story they write in a unique way.

Have students press the three interactive buttons above until they find a combination of words that sparks a story in their brains. It's perfectly okay of a student wants to change one of the words into a better word from his/her own mind. The buttons are just there to start the spark of inspiration.

Before writing the draft story, spend some time thinking about a perfect sentence that might start their story, and maybe a perfect sentence to end it. Here is a link to my wife's handout--Little Red Riding Hooks--which may give you some ideas on different ways to start a story that you can share with your students.

Have students draft their stories. If they include enough details and events, help them establish a paragraph or two or three out of their story in the most logical division points.

When I worked with little ones, we would try to put a story away for an entire day--at least--then come back to it to see if there is a place or two where we might add a detail or two that would make our reader enjoy the story a bit more.

Also, when I work with students, I believe if they write, the writing needs to be honored somehow, like being shared. My students always were assigned a partner who not only listened to their stories but also gave suggestions on how to maybe make the story even better than it already is.

Student Samples? If you have a student sample inspired by this page's interactive prompt, and if it would excite that student to have it be seen, please post it as a reply to this Pin at our Pinterest Board of Kid Prompts. Kindly, do not post students' last names. I'm looking for K-5 samples to share on this page, and I'll send you a gift from our Teachers Pay Teachers store if we end up publishing your student at this page as an exemplar for other students to enjoy and analyze.

What wacky skills might this wacky dog have? Can you think of a story idea based on a skill?

Wordless Mentor Texts w/ Wacky Premises

Tuesday by David Wiesner


Sector 7 by David Wiesner

 

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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.

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