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. Every year, I challenge myself to improve my instruction: I am curretly developing grammar and vocabulary lessons so that they're differentiated and promote deep, critical thinking skills, and I incorporate them into my classroom routines to promote a student-centered classroom environment.

The Northern Nevada district I serve has a "balanced calendar" that has me teaching from early August to early June, and during my 7 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.

This October, I am presenting in both Carson City, Nevada (October 8) and Billings, Montana (October 21).

Our spring break here is March 20-31, 2017. As of yet, I have had no requests for either of my two weeks off. As soon as I book a session during one of those weeks, I will take down the availability of the other so that I have a little time off this spring.

I have already begun receiving requests for the summer of 2017, but nothing has been officially booked yet.

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

If you would like to check my availability for 2016-17, please contact me at this e-mail address.


       Because writing--when taught right--can be the most enjoyable part of your teaching day, I created this website.

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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 eight 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 (the Italian menu is freely posted below) 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!

On this page, you will find the "Extra Credit Salad Section" lesson that comes with our Greek-themed Notebook/Workshop Menu. You can preview our Italian Menu by clicking here.

Like this lesson's creative approach? Like the teacher samples? Follow Me at Pinterest to access all my educational boards. I even have a special board featuring pages from my own writer's notebooks that gives quick access to all of my favorite notebook pages--many of them are linked to a write-up that explains how to use the idea as a Common Core-friendly lesson.

A Writers Notebook Challenge...from my notebook to yours:
"Creative Horiatiki" (a Traditional Greek Salad):
Two Pangrams:
One To Summarize & One To Showcase Your Creativity

Overview of this Notebook Prompt:

Our Greek restaurant menu this month should inspire us to think about Greek roots we have learned. Let's apply our knowledge of Greek roots to what will probably be new word for you: pangram.

Greek for all

See also panorama, panoply, pandemonium, or Pangaea.

Are there other words with pan-?

Greek for letter for writing or unit of measurement

See also: telegram, milligram, grammar, program, or gramophone.

Are there other words with -gram you can think of?

Definition: pangram (noun): a single sentence that contains all letters of the alphabet, each being used at least one time.

The mentor text that inspired this notebook idea:

by Margaret Wild

Visiting Teachers: I have a two-page hand-out that I use as a "riddle" on the Smartboard on pangrams when I introduce them to the whole class. You can access it by clicking here. I show the top half of the first page and allow students to discuss it before I show them the bottom-half of the first page.

The most famous English is pangram is the following sentence, which only contains 33 letters:

The quick brown fox jumps over a lazy dog. (33)

The "quick fox" sentence is a great test for typists. If you can type the sentence without once looking at your hands, then you clearly know where every key is on a standard QWERTY keyboard. Once you can type it without looking at your hands, the question becomes how fast can you type it. It's no wonder the pangram above has been used as a typing test for decades.

I recently re-read a really interesting picture book by Australian author Margaret Wild. Fox tells the story of three animals: a fox, a dog, and a magpie. It's a well-written tale with some excellent use of fire as a metaphor, and I love the way the sentences wrap around the pages. I believe the author must have intended the story to be an allegory about something specific or a parable about how people treat other people. Even though the story is sad and the fox is pretty creepy, it ends with a positive gesture. I love the last sentence of this story. I hope you do too.

I was thinking how you could almost summarize this picture book with the famous pangram above...almost. The dog in the book isn't lazy, so you would need to think up another z-word to use to describe him, and the fox never literally jumps over the dog, so that verb would have to change. And so, the first half of this notebook challenge is this:

In your Writer's Notebook, using the top-half of one page:
Accurately summarize the story Fox with a single, original sentence that's also a pangram. Illustrate the pangram.

The second half of this notebook challenge is this:

In your Writer's Notebook, using the bottom-half of the same page:
Write an original pangram that makes sense. Can you keep it under 50 letters? Illustrate your original pangram

Need a visual 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...

Click image above to be able to zoom in on details.

Like this lesson's creative approach? Like the teacher samples? Follow Me at Pinterest to access all my educational boards. I have a special board featuring pages from my own writer's notebooks that gives quick access to all of my favorite notebook pages--many of them are linked to a write-up that explains how to use the idea as a Common Core-friendly lesson.

Three more interesting facts about pangrams:
  1. If you don't like the word pangram, a few years back someone tried to rename these word challenges as holalphabetic sentences. Your teacher prefers the term pangram.
  2. If you wanted to find an opposite of pangram, the closest would probably be a lipogram, which is a paragraph (or longer piece of writing) that completely avoids using a certain letter--like an e or an s.
  3. Different languages use different alphabets. If a pangram is defined as a sentences that uses ever letter of the alphabet, then other languages could have very different looking pangrams. For example:
    • "Pójdźże, kiń tę chmurność w głąb flaszy!" is an pangram that uses all 32 letters of the Polish alphabet. Can you find an interpretation?
    • "В чащах юга жил-был цитрус? Да, но фальшивый экземпляр! ёъ." is a pangram in Russian. Can you find an interpretation?
    • "El veloz murciélago hindú comía feliz cardillo y kiwi. La cigüeña tocaba el saxofón detrás del palenque de paja." This Spanish pangram uses every letter including every diacritical mark. Many of you will be able to interpret this one.
    • أبجد هوَّز حُطّي كلَمُن سَعْف َص قُرِشَت ثَخَدٌ ضَظَغ is a pangram in Arabic, I am told. I am fairly confident none of you will find a way to interpret it.
    • Can anyone interpret this pangram in Hebrew? זה כיף סתם לשמוע איך תנצח קרפד עץ טוב בגן.

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