With two major holidays, November and December strike me as more family-oriented months, which began my thinking as I decided on next week's "Mr. Stick Metaphor of the Week."  We also had our first freeze this last week (so long, cherry tomatoes and basil plants!), and--add to all that--my wife is undergoing some pretty serious back surgery on Tuesday, which is going to make us both really reliant on both our mothers' care and attention as we recover from this over the next three or four weeks.

As I weighed these three influences Friday afternoon, our classroom metaphor of the week just kind of fell into place without much help.  It was almost odd; I just kind of started writing it on the white board without thinking about what exactly I was writing.  As I started sketching the picture, one of my students in the last period of the day on Friday (which is when I usually change the metaphor) said, "Oh, that's a really good one, Mr. Harrison."

And it is...Hats off to metaphors that just fall into place without much effort.

Here's hoping your family serves as a "warm blanket" in your lives between now and the end of 2011.


We're still working on our "Life is a Cookbook" pages in our writer's notebooks (since it's the "center square lesson on our October Bingo Card).  In the last two weeks, I have photographed and added two student samples that did fun things--I thought--with "Mr. Stick," our writer's notebook "Margin Mascot."   My goal is to post a sample every week from (hopefully) a different student so that by year's end, I have 30+ great Mr. Stick samples in the on-line gallery I have set up.  Just having the page up and showing it to kids each week (plus awarding chosen students a special "Mr. Stick Badge" I created for my classroom Edmodo site) is proving to be a great motivator for my students.

Here is Sarah's personal recipe, which I posted last week:

Here is Ian's example from this week:

Take a look at the whole on-line gallery I've collected so far.  I think is going to be a pretty special page at my website when all is said, drawn, and done.


We've successfully created our personal recipes in our writer's notebook and turned them in for an assessment today.  Next week, in honor of Common Core Standards' Writing Across the Curriculum strand, my students are bringing to my language arts class their ideas for science-inspired recipes.  Eventually, they'll all have a two-page recipe spread that resembles my teacher model.

To move those students brains towards their science recipes, I have dedicated next week's "Mr. Stick Metaphor" to the following metaphor:

I hope my metaphors of the week continue to inspire you--as well as my students!  Our set of nine Writer's Notebook Bingo Cards are still available at our website...

Have a great week, fellow teachers!


I have a fifteen-minute "advisory period" every morning, where my 8th graders are supposed to organize themselves for the day before they head off to their first period.  Our principal has--more or less--admitted that "advisory period" is in place to make sure our students who are regularly late to school don't miss any content in their real first period, which I think is a ridiculous reason to have this period.

But...I'm going to make lemonade with this lemon of an idea.  I am gong to be giving my 8th graders an "interesting word of the day" during this block of time, and then challenge them to use the word of the day with their other teachers over the course of the school day.

Friday, we celebrated the mythological story of Sisyphus, and I introduced them to the word Sisyphean.  They found the Mr. Stick sketch of Sisyphus so amusing that I decided to move him over to my "Metaphor of the Week" white board for Monday.  Here is next week's "Metaphor of the Week!" based on Friday's "Interesting Word of the Day!"  Enjoy!

Keep rolling your boulders uphill, my friends!


This metaphor is inspired by a poem I shared the first week called "Fire" by Judith Brown, which has a nice message that we compared to WB Yeats' quote: "Education is not the filling of the pail but the lighting of the fire."  I felt in week #7, we needed to remind ourselves of the discussion we had back during week #1:

Inspire by Judith Brown's poem, Fire, and a W.B. Yeats' quote about education.
Have a great week, everybody!


I did switch my "Trait of the Month" Bulletin Board while my students worked in writer's workshop this week.  We're following IDEA DEVELOPMENT with WORD CHOICE so that I can focus them on VOICE next month.  Why?  Because these are the three traits that work best together when teaching students to "Show more, and tell less."

Here's my photo!  Here's the bulletin board set I used to make this!


I am figuring I will be offering my "metaphors of the week" to my students for the first ten weeks, then I will be taking nominations from my students for educationally-based metaphors.  I'll probably set it up as some sort of competition, giving a prize to students who have their metaphors chosen.  I will post them and provide a "Mr. Stick illustration" to make them laugh.

Anyway, here's my sixth metaphor for the year!  Enjoy!

Click here to access my "Metaphor of the Week" Archive!

If you have a metaphor of the week to share, I'd love to hear it...