I want to talk about my books for teachers, #3

Hi everyone,

In September of 2009 the offices of Scholastic Professional Books was one of my stops during my annual trek to New York City to see editors. We visited about my first two titles with Scholastic and the idea came up about pairing me with Timothy V. Rasinski, a professor at Kent State University and noted authority on reading development. When I returned home, I sent Tim a note and we corresponded for two and a half months while we considered ways of combining our talents and interests. By December we’d honed in on doing a book of poems for two or more voices — partner poems — with me writing the poems and Tim providing classroom activities. We would each write an introduction and Tim would bring in one of his former doctoral students, Gay Fawcett, to do some of the classroom activities. The range would be for grades 2-4.

I loved writing all those partner poems and we felt good about the finished book. But when our samples arrived, the cover read: PARTNER POEMS FOR BUILDING FLUENCY, GRADES 4-6. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I alerted Tim and Gay and then called our editor. She was apologetic but said at the last minute someone discovered they already had a book with that exact title, for grades 2-4, so they had no choice but to change our grade range to avoid confusion. She was sorry but there was nothing she could do.

Tim and I insisted they destroy the books, change the title, and keep our 2-4 grade range because most of the poems, as well as the activities, would make little sense to kids in the 5th or 6th grade. The answer came back, “Sorry.”

As predicted, I took some arrows from teachers who quite rightly pointed out that my poetry was not suitable for grades 4-6 and accused me of not understanding my audience. I still burn when I think of how stupid it was to pull that switch at the last minute and without even discussing it with us. The book did okay but should have done much better. A poem that emerged as a favorite is this one, which I’ve presented several times at conferences and in classrooms over the year.

It’s a Lollity Popity Day

(1st voice)
It’s a lollity popity day

(2nd voice)
It’s a lollity popity
hide-and-go-seekity day.

(1st)
It’s a lollity popity
hide-and-go-seektiy
read a good bookity day.

(2nd)
It’s a lollity popity
hide-and-go-seekity
read a good bookity
roll in the grassity day.

(1st)
It’s a lollity popity
hide-and-go-seekity
read a good bookity
roll in the grassity
talk with a friendity day.

(2nd)
It’s a lollity popity
hide-and-go-seektiy
read a good bookity
roll in the grassity
talk with a friendity
sit on a lapity day.

(1st)
It’s a lollity popity
hide-and-go-seekity
read a good bookity
roll in the grassity
talk with a friendity
sit on a lapity
play with your petity day.

(2nd)
It’s a lollity popity
hide-and-go-seektiy
read a good bookity
roll in the grassity
talk with a friendity
sit on a lapity
play with your petity
happy-go-luckity day.

(Together)
Hooray!
Hooray!

Summing up

ANNOUNCEMENT: In case you missed it yesterday, I apologized for failing to change the Word of the Month word for August. The new word is MEN. See what you can do with that. Again, I’m sorry for going to sleep at the wheel this month. Blame it on overload, not my age!

Hi everyone,
David from 417 Magazine
Good week at Goose Lake. I finished a manuscript, which is always a good feeling. Before I went to sleep Sunday night I planned how much I could expect to get done each day this week. I decided that by Wednesday I should be able to sigh and send, and it worked as I’d hoped. This is the manuscript I mentioned recently that began as a collection of poems about one thing and eventually evolved into something quite different. In the end I removed most of the original poems, revised others, and wrote several new ones. Now it’s wait to see.

On Monday the contract arrived from Scholastic for the educational book that Mary Jo Fresch and I proposed. We’re both eager to get back on task. I think we can finish this one sometime during the winter.

Yesterday I received a contract offer from Holiday House for a nonfiction picture book story. I love working with Grace Maccarone so I look forward to that too!

By the way, I thought I had ten signed up for my poetry workshop starting the 21st but one decided not to make it. Anyone want to jump in at the last minute? I love the number ten.

Gay Fawcett

VOTED YET? DON’T FORGET TO SHOW YOUR APPRECIATION FOR OUR NOVEMBER POETS! THE VOTING BOXES ARE POSTED NOVEMBER 24. TO SEE ALL THE POEMS, CHECK NOVEMBER 23. Adult leaders through yesterday are STEVEN, MARJIE, and JENNIFER. MIMI currently has the most votes but can’t win a second time in twelve months. Young poet leaders are CLAIRE, TASHA, and SOHPIE.

I promised to post today more of Gay Fawcett’s biographical information, so here it is.

Gay is a former teacher, principal, curriculum director, and director of Kent State University’s Research Center for Educational Technology. She now teaches online and face-to-face university courses, consults with schools, and writes (of course!). She has authored or co-authored over 100 educational articles, book chapters, and books. She collaborated with David Harrison and Tim Rasinski on the recently published Partner Poems for Building Fluency: Grades 4-6.

Working with Gay has been a delight. She’s the mind behind nearly all of the classroom activities presented in our book. We’ve never met in person so I look forward to the day when we will. I’m so pleased to present Gay’s remarks tomorrow as my second blog guest!

David

David Speaking to Teachers

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “David Speaking to Teachers“, posted with vodpod

 

This is an interview by Susan Kolwicz of Scholastic Professional Books. The session was videoed at an American Library Association national conference and appears on the Scholastic website. I’ve posted it here with permission. You can also find the interview added to my website on the Teacher page.

Today I announce the upcoming guest appearance of Nile Stanley. Some of you have read comments from Nile in the last day or two. After you’ve had time to investigate Nile on your own, I’ll post his bio. Hints: He’s a professor, poet, author, and speaker, and he has an unusual nickname. What rhymes with Nile?