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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.


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       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 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 (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!

An Extra-Credit Notebook Idea from the TBA Restaurant-themed Writing Menu:
A Creative "TBA Salad":
Parody Poems:
Borrowing a Famous Poem's Rhythm to Write an Original

Overview of this Notebook Prompt:

A parody is an intelligent mimickry of something. I have always believed One of my favorite picture books has always been Jon Scieszka's Science Verse. I love his Math Curse too, but Scieszka's cleverness of writing parodies based on the greatest poems is pure genius. I have a lot of students who already know some of the great poetry, and I think challenging them to write a parody of a great poem is a fantastic way to show their appreciation of the poet's greatness.

Now Science Verse contains both song parodies (like It's Raining, It's Pouring) as well as great poem parodies. For this lesson, I am expecting my 7th and 8th grade students to find a famous poem (not song) to make a parody of. My sixth graders write song parodies for extra credit every spring, but my sevvies and eighties have to take a harder step and mimic a famous poet and his/her poem

Here are some famous poets who have poems that would be interesting to write parodies of: Emily Dickinson (all of her poems follow the same rhythm scheme), Edgar Allan Poe ("The Raven," "Annabelle Lee," "Bells," e.g.), Henry Wadsworth Longfellow ("Song of Hiawathia," "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere," e.g.), Lewis Carroll (anything from Alice in Wonderland), or Robert Frost ("Stopping By Woods on Snowy Evening," e.g.). You can certainly find others, but these are poets that I am going to suggest

The mentor text that inspired this notebook idea:

Science Verse
by Jon Scieszka

Once you have chosen a poet and a famous poem, you will want to divide a piece of scratch paper into two columns. On one side, write the original poem. Note which worrds rhyme and count (and mark) the number of syllables.

Here are two practice poems I tried to parody. I think I did a pretty good job but I wasn't inspired to make them longer. If you can't think of your own poem to parody, I invite you to borrow the initial lines I wrote and make the poem parody much longer.

E. A. Poe's "The Raven"
Robert Frost's "Stopping by Woods on Snowy Evening"
The original poem's first line:
My first line:
The original poem's first line
My first line:
Once upon a midnight dreary
As I pondered, weak and weary...
Once upon a playground empty
The monkey bars, boy, did they tempt me...
Whose woods these are I think I know
His house is in the village though...
Whose note this is is no surprise:
The boy whose skill is telling lies....

The poem I had the most success with was Emily Dickinson, whose poetry I love. I especially how you can sing all of her poems aloud to not only "The Yellow Rose of Texas," but also the theme song to "Gilligan's Island." I think that fact inspired me to take this poem to a fifth stanza, which you can read in the image from my notebook below. I share the first two stanzas I parodied just below, next to the original poem's first two stanzas.

Emily Dickinson's "Because I Could Not Stop for Death"
The original poem's first two stanzas:
My first two stanzas:

Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.

We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labor, and my leisure too,
For his civility.

Because I could not fix my Ford,
I bought a Subaru.
My Pinto leaked just too much oil
And braking fluid too .

Everywhere my Pinto drove,
Emitting blackened fumes,
It choked dogs, old ladies too,
And fragrant springtime blooms.

And that's the challenge. Can you mimic the rhythm and rhyme scheme of a famous poem that you know about?

Your creative challenge for your notebook:

In your Writer's Notebook:
Write and illustrate the final draft of a famous poem you have parodied.

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...


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