Welcome. My name is Corbett Harrison, and I have been an educator and a teacher-trainer since 1991. 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 serve Northern Nevada for nine months of the year (August-May), and during summers and during our two-weeek breaks during the school year, I hire myself out to school districts and professional organizations around the country.

Summer of 2014 is all booked. If you would like to check my availability for the summer of 2015, please contact me at my e-mail address.

 

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

Here's one of my original writer's notebook lessons. To assist our students as they pre-write in their Writer's Notebooks for ideas that will become Writing Workshop topics, my wonderful wife (Dena Harrison), a fabulous fellow NNWP Consultant (Jenny Hoy), and I conceived and created nine Choice Menus for Notebooks/Workshop during a recertification class we took during Spring Break of 2012. In August of 2012, we will make available for the first time the entire set of nine menus which we will begin using this September. Each culturally-themed menu comes with five sections, each with three choices: appetizers, soup, salad, entrees, and desserts. Students can earn a special notebook sticker by making a complete "meal" using the different sections of the menu.

Want more than a sticker, you say? The "Salad Section" for each month's menu is actually an "extra credit" notebook option. Inspired by a different mentor text that we will display in class, each menu will feature a unique online challenge that comes with a teacher-model to inspire creativity. Students who read through the online notebook challenge below, enjoy the featured mentor text independently, and then peruse my teacher-model to create an original page in their notebooks will also receive a bonus notebook participation grade. The final notebook page must be neat, creative, illustrated, and colored!
An Extra-Credit Notebook Idea from the Irish Restaurant-themed Writing Menu:
A Creative "Irish Potato Salad":
Two Pi Poems:
One about Pie, and One about Pi

Overview of this Notebook Prompt:

Pie is good. I have always loved Derek Munson's charming picture book called Enemy Pie. In the story, two friends fight and become temporary enemies. One of the boy's father teaches the feuding playmates how to make an "Enemy Pie," which is a disturbing concoction of ingredients the boys must gather and prepare. As the boys create this enemy pie for each other, they are forced to cooperate, and--of course--they become friends again. Lesson learned. A great father in action!

We're used to seeing the names of fruit in front of the word pie, so we should be surprised to when someone throws a weird word in front of this dessert...like the word enemy, as the author of this mentor text has cleverly done. Those two simple words launched a story. What other non-existent-pies-but-interesting-sounding flavors could go in front of the word pie? Guilt Pie? Insubordination Pie? Compassion Pie? Independence Pie? Anarchy Pie? For part one of this extra credit challenge, you will have to write a poem about a unique pie that your creative brain "cooks up." Perhaps you'll be blessed with a whole idea from a story (like Derek Munson achieved) with this brainstorm.

Pi Day is coming. It comes every year on 3-14. It is the holiday celebrated on our March 14th Sacred Writing Time Slide.

The mentor text that inspired this notebook idea:

Enemy Pie
by Derek Munson

On March 14 at school, we will be celebrating "Pi Day" in your math class. For English, I will ask you to capitalize on your knowledge of the number pi for this extra credit assignment and create poems that we will call "Pi Poems." A Pi Poem needs to be--at least--15 lines long, but you can actually have an infinite number of lines since the number pi goes on and on and on. The structure of a Pi Poem is based on the number pi: 3.14159265... The way it works is this: The first line of the poem has to have three words in it that make a complete sentence (so they can be followed by a period, just like the point that exists between the 3 and the 1); the second line has one word in it; the third line has four words in it; the fourth line has one word, the fifth has five, the sixth has nine, etc. For this extra credit challenge, I'll say again, you have to go--at least--to the fifteenth digit of pi.

Here is a brief example about Halloween that only goes to the only the ninth number:

It has begun. (3.)
Halloween (1)
The night of fright (4)
Terror (1)
Looming behind anything frightening looking (5)
Children dressed as dark shadows creeping towards porch lights. (9)
Trick? Treat? (2)
A candy treat tossed into sacks, (6)
Because Sugar pushes shadows away. (5)

Make sense? If not, see my two examples on my notebook example below.

Part one of your creative challenge for your notebook...Choose either of these questions to come up with the name for an interesting pie:

  • What emotion word could you put in front of the word pie to make a dessert that doesn't really exist but sounds interesting? Jealousy Pie? Exhilaration Pie? Perhaps this handout of emotional faces might help you.
  • What abstract noun would make an interesting title for a pie? Creativity Pie? Intelligence Pie? Greed Pie? Wealth Pie? Friendship Pie?
Using half of a page in your Writer's Notebook:
Create an interesting name for a creative pie, then create a Pi Poem that describes that pie to us. Illustrate your Pi Poem about Pie.

Part two of your creative challenge for your notebook...

Brainstorm all of the things you've learned in math classes about either circles or about the number pi.

Using the other half of the page in your Writer's Notebook:
Create a Pi Poem about circles and the number pi. Illustrate your Pi Poem about Pi.

Need an example? Here's the page I created for my writer's notebook. What do you think? Let me know by telling me in class or--if you're not one of my own students--by e-mailing me at: corbett@corbettharrison.com. Can you create a writer's notebook page that's more original than mine? I'll bet you can...


Please note...those are meant to be Einstein's index fingers. I hate drawing hands.

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