Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Here is a great resource as we prepare to go back to school. Courtesy of Corbett and Dena Harrison. Enjoy:}

Hello, Teacher & Writer Friends,
Since I was a few days late posting the lesson last month, this month I'll be a few days early.  Actually, Dena and I celebrate our 8th anniversary on August 1st, and we'll be driving home that day from two-day sneak-away, so I have to post now; it'll be the first time we leave puppy Tucker in the hands of our house-sitter, and Dena is nervous about her "baby."
My wife and I have spent the past month working on our two new classroom products.  My project--10 Common Core-Friendly Vocabulary Lessons--is showing strong interest and sales, which is nice, and two of the package's ten vocabulary/writing lessons are posted for anyone to peruse, in case you want to determine if this new product will work for you or not; click this link to preview the two PowerPoints and read about ordering the product.  Dena's project--Reader's Notebook Bingo Cards--has been drafted; we are revising the  online instructions that come with each of the 25 writing-about-reading prompts and challenges, and we are fancy-ing up the layout of the Bingo Cards themselves.  Dena's new project should be ready for pre-sale in the next two weeks.
Here are this month's writing lesson and writer's notebook prompt:
  • August's Lesson:  Finding Unique Antonyms & Fixing Mr. Dickens' Comma Splices  So each of our new 10 Common Core-Friendly Vocabulary Lessons comes with not only a PowerPoint lesson that's pretty easy to follow and teach from, but also each lesson comes with direct access to a complementary on-line lesson that can be used right before showing the PowerPoint lesson or right after.  One of the vocabulary lessons is on antonyms and synonyms, for example, and there is an online writing lesson that focuses on the same topic.  This month's writing lesson is the lesson that can accompany the PowerPoint Vocabulary Lesson on antonyms and synonyms.
  • August's Notebook Prompt:  The Acropolis of Acronym Tasks  Early on, I believe you need to set up the notion that a writer's notebook's pages can become collections of things: words, phrases, titles, jokes, puns, quotations, etc.  I like my students to learn how English words were formed, and we do writing tasks when we learn a new etymology technique.  Acronyms (and initialisms) are interesting words to be aware of, and they are fun to poke fun at, as this writer's notebook page task attempts to do.  This prompt has students play three games with acronyms--each game is designed to tap into a different part of the thinker's brain.
We report back to school on the 7th here in Northern Nevada, and we have the kids back on the 12th.  If you're in a similar boat, I hope your transition back is a smooth one.  If you still have most of the month to play, then play!
--Corbett & Dena Harrison
Visit Writing Lesson of the Month Network at:

Sunday, July 7, 2013

I am posting the following article for all educators - but am asking this audience to think about the implications technology will have in the area of writing, i.e. focus on research, use of the keyboard, collaborative writing, etc. - courtesy of ASCD SmartBrief.

Technology changes the role of school librarians

The role of the school librarian has changed in Massachusetts and elsewhere, with some districts turning librarians into technology specialists and others eliminating the positions entirely. Fairhaven Public Schools Superintendent Robert Baldwin said his district eliminated librarian positions in favor of hiring technology specialists. "The instructional technology teachers are not just going to be teaching the students, they're going to be teaching the adults how to integrate technology into their instruction," he said. "I look at it as expanding and enhancing the role." (New Bedford, Mass.) (tiered subscription model) (7/1)

Monday, July 1, 2013

Here are two great opportunities for this summer. Enjoy!!

Katie DiCesare and Franki Sibberson are leading online classes for Choice Literacy next month. Katie's course, Designing Primary Writing Units with the Common Core in Mind, is offered July 8 - 15, and Franki's course, The Tech-Savvy Literacy Teacher, is offered July 16 - 24. For details and registration materials, click on the Workshops link: