ILA report

Hi everyone,

Home from Austin with many new good memories in spite of heat that reached 105-109 for record setting daily highs. Attendance was down somewhat but still several thousand people from here and abroad were there and it was time well spent.

I was grateful to Sandy for going with me and I know that Mary Jo was glad that Hank came too. The four of us have a good time together and when conference work kept Mary Jo and me busy, Sandy and Hank amused themselves sightseeing and shopping.

Mary Jo Fresch and I enjoyed doing a Facebook Live broadcast that has been viewed more then 8,400 times already, and on Sunday afternoon we had excellent attendance for our two-hour workshop. Also hooked up with Laura Robb to discuss a book we might do together and touched base with Glenda Nugent about the poetry article I’m writing for Missouri Reader. Had a good visit with Su Hutchens and talked her into contributing to my article about her experiences in using poetry in the classroom.

My thanks to the folks at Teacher Created Materials for their generous support and lovely breakfast on Sunday morning, and to my friends at Scholastic for their usual stellar author reception on Saturday evening as well as for putting us on Facebook Live and proving a signing time/space at their display area.

Welcoming a friend this week

Hi everyone,

The gremlins struck during the night so I’ve just now finally rediscovered how to post on my blog (I think). I’m keeping this short in case I’m wrong. A highlight of this week will be on Wednesday when my good friend Laura Robb will be in town to speak and we’ll take her out for dinner. I haven’t had a chance to visit with Laura for far too long so I’m excited to be with her again. We’ve been brainstorming for ages for a book to write together so maybe this time we’ll be lucky. laurarobb http://www.heinemann.com/authors/352.aspx
Otherwise it’s a work week focused on the upcoming trips to Pennsylvania and New York.

New one in the works

Hi everyone,
David publicity photo
I’m pleased to tell you that I have a new book of poetry in the works. The contract should be along shortly. I’ve written the first ten poems so I still have a long way to go but it’s always exciting to have a new challenge. I’ll add more later but for now I’d better hold off on naming publisher or subject matter.

I’m also about halfway through a collection of poems on a different theme for a different publisher. No contract on that one yet but good preliminary vibes. Not only is the artist already involved on that one, it was his idea.

The search is still on for an artist for a third book of poems. My work on that one is finished so it’s now a matter of waiting to find the right artist and move into that phase of development.

The book in verse that Sandy Asher and I wrote is with an editor who has expressed strong interest so we’re waiting for her final decision before doing a happy dance.

Haven’t placed the collection I did with Jane Yolen yet but it’s early in the hunt and I have high hopes.

A good many other projects are in the works, including professional books with Mary Jo Fresch, Tim Rasinski, and Laura Robb, so I’m not finding much slack time these days. Bring ‘em on!

David

Old treasure from the files

Pie in the Sky party 003

Hi everyone,

As you know from my whining lately, I’ve been filing and recording. This inevitably leads to leaping down rabbit holes and coming up an hour later wondering where the time went. One such side trip resulted in rediscovering this picture. In 2009 we held a conference in Springfield that I dubbed Pie in the Sky. After a day’s work the speakers assembled at our house for a meal and refreshments. It was a great experience and beneficial to area teachers who would normally have to attend a national conference to meet and learn from these headliners. They are, from left to right, Ruth Culham, Lester Laminack, Aileen Wheaton, Laura Robb, Evan Robb, Sandy, and Mary Jo Fresch.

Good times and good memories. There is something to be said for filing after all!

Introducing LET’S WRITE THIS WEEK WITH DAVID HARRISON

Hi everyone,

One of the highlights of my experiences at IRA was the chance to introduce my new DVD series called LET’S WRITE THIS WEEK WITH DAVID HARRISON. My co-author of the teacher’s guide and student journal, Laurie Edmondson, was also there to join the celebration. Now that the program is officially introduced, here is a fuller description than I’ve posted before. Let me know what you think!

LET’S WRITE
THIS WEEK WITH DAVID HARRISON

When I visit classrooms I like to give students tips on how they can enjoy their own writing more and improve the results of their efforts. Over the years I’ve developed a number of these tips, all of which are based on methods that real writers really use. I’ve used the same techniques myself so I know they work. Some are tricks of the trade, some are common sense advice, but student writers benefit from all of them.

When I became Drury University’s Poet Laureate, I began to consider worthwhile projects I could do that would fit my responsibilities. I decided to create video vignettes of me doing what I’ve been doing for more than 40 years when I visit classrooms. I began by making a list of five broad categories – how to get started, poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and how to rewrite. Under each of those headings I taped four presentations. For example, under Getting Started I talk about 1) finding ideas through association, 2) beginning with a single word, 3) the power of observation, and 4) reading to discover things to write about.

I kept each episode brief (five minutes) so that busy teachers can display me on a Whiteboard while I present to their students the tip for the week and then follow up with reinforcing activities. The episodes are not sequential so a teacher can choose any topic that fits the current unit being taught.

I’m finishing an accompanying Teacher’s Guide with Dr. Laurie Edmondson, Interim Director for Drury’s School of Education and Child Development. Each of the 20 Writing Tips featured in the DVDs is expanded for the teacher in the guide book. Laurie is providing classroom activities that teachers can use to complete the lesson. We also present what research says about each category, a home connection to help gain family support, and how each lesson ties into the Common Core State Standards.

In addition to the 20 video sessions and the Teacher’s Guide, the kit includes a set of 20 Student Writing Journals and three of my trade books – one each of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction – that we use as examples to help students see exactly what I’m talking about on the videos. What began in my mind two years ago as a set of taped writing tips for students has evolved into this hands-on, interactive, creative writing program that can bring me into classrooms anywhere. The full kit, which is designed for use in grades 3-5 (but could be used in later grades if desired) will be available by late summer or early fall and will be priced at $499. The publisher is Phoenix Learning Resources. Sales will be handled through Stourbridge Distributors. You can contact them at www.stourbridgedist.com  .

Further, Laurie is going to teach an online course for graduate credit based on LET’S WRITE THIS WEEK WITH DAVID HARRISON. Those who are interested in signing up for the course or learning more about it can contact Laurie directly at ledmondson@drury.edu