My older brother Andy's birthday is this week, and I felt we needed an odd metaphor to celebrate the event. Not that he's odd, but not that he's normal either; none of us Harrisons are all that normal, which is a good quality, I feel.

I decided to take a metaphor of the week--in honor of all that--from one of my favorite non-normal students--Jordan, who is in seventh grade.  Jordan is an incredible young man who can amazingly build anything out of a piece of construction paper.  He tried to start an Origami Club this year, but no one else seemed interested.  I told him that--based on his amazing creations this year (his stereo-optic viewing box for one of his essays, his pet construction paper Phoenix that actually flaps its wings, etc.) that we will make sure his club "flies" next year.  I told him he could make a fortune selling fellow students replicas of his Phoenix; it's quite incredible.

Anyway, Jordan, you are this week's "Metaphor of the Week" winner, and I love the weirdness of your metaphor.  You explore things with such interesting perspectives, and I am proud your metaphor shows that.  Good work, my young writer and friend.

--Mr. Harrrison

Our March Writer's Notebook Bingo Cards "Center-Square Lesson" was entitled "Rhyming Slogans Across the Curriculum."  I quickly discovered which of my students rhyme easily and which students can hardly rhyme to save their lives.  All in all, it was a fun month though...even for those who struggled.

I just published ten fun examples from (mostly) my seventh grader's notebooks.  I'm not sure why the sixth and eighth graders' pages were so "less than stellar," but they were.  I've challenged them to outshine every seventh grader with April's notebook challenge.

Please feel free to visit my Rhyming Slogans Across the Curriculum Student Samples Page to see the wonderful work my students do.  Next year, to have my notebook and ten pages from these students to show next year's students...well, I can hardly wait to teach this lesson again next spring; the more samples you have to share, I have found, the better off the lesson is.  I believe this whole-heartedly.

Here is one of my favorite samples, from my wonderful student, Wonje:


I really appreciate my student helpers.  On Friday before Spring Break, I handed Matt--my 4th period student aide--the pen and said, "Give me an original spring metaphor to think about as soon as they walk in next Monday.  The metaphor of the week belongs to you."

Matt created his metaphor out of two abstract nouns (spring and joy), which I always think is harder to do; I always shoot for an abstract and a concrete noun myself.  Here is his metaphor:

I had a few vocal students complain that the metaphor was made up of two abstract nouns, which means I must have taught them pretty well, if you ask me.  In defense of this metaphor, however, I will cite the fact that my daffodils and my hyacinths barely lasted ten days this year before it snowed on them and froze them until next year.

Thanks, Matt.

--Mr. Harrison

I like to save voice as the final trait of the year we look at.  I find Springtime to be a time when students start catching the "lazy worker fever," and I have to brag that I have great voice lessons: fun and engaging.

We have been enjoying Voice as our "Trait of the Month" since right before Spring Break.  The students were mostly appreciative, I think, of my wife's famous J. Peterman Voice Lesson, which I did on a Smartboard for the first time this year.

My classroom trait bulletin board & poster set.

I feel a little ripped off by Spring Break in Nevada once again, I'll admit...the weather rarely cooperates; we had a really beautiful day on Easter, but then the weather slowly fell apart after that.  Still, we risked having the two Westies shaved down in total anticipation that it has to become warmer ASAP.

I honor my sixth grader--Jacie's--metaphor of the week that inspired us to stay sane in the week that led up to Easter weekend.

I hope my students are excited about coming back!

Had a rough couple of weeks with my newly-diagnosed diabetic dog, Pudge.  I told my students--during the time he was at the vet and we weren't sure he was going to live or see again after finding him in a diabetic coma--that I wanted to write only good memories about him in my notebook--that I wasn't ready to write sad things.

Anyway, I ended up revising my entire "Song Parody" lesson online based on two pages I recently added to my own notebook.  Not surprising, one of the new pages is a song parody about my wife and I having to give him twice-daily insulin shots and blood tests.

I believe in teachers keeping writer's notebooks to show their students.  My students were very much inspired by my two new pages over the past few weeks.  Here's one of them: