Home from IRA

BULLETIN: Poets, forgive me for being slow to post the May Word of the Month! Blame it on IRA. I’ll remove April’s poems and comments this morning. In the meantime, you can start thinking about your new poems. The word is WINDOW.

Hi everyone,

I’m back at my computer this morning, trying to decide how and where to begin playing catch up. IRA was a whirlwind and I loved it. Sunday at 5:30 I met Janet Wong, April Halprin Wayland, and Esther Hershenhorn for conversation at Mercat a La Planxa then attended a wonderful dinner party at Dee’s Mandarin Restaurant hosted by Highlights Foundation where I had a chance to greet my friend Kent Brown.

Monday began with breakfast at 8:00 with Tori Bachman from IRA followed by meeting Laurie Edmondson at the Phoenix Learning Resources booth to help introduce our new DVD series and kit, LET’S WRITE THIS WEEK WITH DAVID HARRISON. (More about that later).

From 11:00 – 1:45 I participated in a symposium called “Using Poetry for Word Study, Fluency, and Instruction.” The other presenters were Tim Rasinski, Brod Bagert, and Alicia McCartney. I divided the afternoon into signings at Boyds Mills Press, Scholastic, and Phoenix Learning Resources.

At 5:30 I attended the Scholastic Authors’ Reception at the Cage Restaurant, which was splendid, as always, and then caught a cab to join my friends and hosts, Dona Rice, Conni Medina, and Sharon Coan, at the Teacher Created Materials dinner at Gene & Georgetti Steakhouse. What a great evening. However, during dinner I received a phone call that the manufacturing plant on my property in Springfield, which was formerly my firm, Glenstone Block Company, was on fire. Sandy went to the scene, which was blocked by six firetrucks and three squad cars and had a hard time getting close. She finally spoke with the fire marshal and learned that the fire had been set by someone. It took hours to bring it under control and the building is a total loss.

There was nothing I could do, of course, except grind my teeth. I haven’t been to the scene yet but yesterday’s and today’s papers show pictures and explain more about the situation. The original plant was built on that spot in 1945 by my dad and his partner. Lots of memories went up with the flames and smoke.

Later in the evening I left the Teacher Created Materials dinner and barely made it to the Poetry Olio held in the Hilton in time to present a couple of poems and enjoy hearing a few by other poets. I was supposed to meet Mary Jo Fresch for a nightcap but it had been a long day and we both decided to put off getting together until Tuesday.

Tuesday began with breakfast with Ruth Culham and then I spent the rest of the day signing at Boyds Mills Press, Phoenix Learning Resources, Zaner-Bloser, and back to Boyds Mills Press. Mary Jo and I managed to squeeze in a brief meeting about the book project we’re doing together. I finished there at 4:00 as the exhibit hall was closing for the day, grabbed a cab to the airport, and made it to my gate with a few minutes to spare. For some reason I napped in the cab going out.

That’s my report. It is always stimulating to attend IRA and see so many old friends. Every year I meet new ones too. I’m already looking forward to next time.


Things are a little hectic

Hi everyone,

Sorry to step back for a bit but today is my deadline to prepare the last of 19 scripts for my upcoming series of podcast programs to be known as “This Week with David Harrison.” I mentioned this before when we were completing the initial trial episode. Everything is a go so now I have to come through with all these writing tips for classroom teachers and their students. Next Saturday I’m to shoot all 19 spots in this first phase of the series. Wish me (and my voice) luck!

I’l be around tomorrow with my second response to WRITERS AT WORK. The subject this month is The Perils and Joys of Writing in Many Genres. I hope you are enjoying this ongoing series.

This Friday I’ll introduce my Featured Guest for the week, Carole (C. S.) Adler. You are going to love her. On that day I’ll be in a school getting more shots for my series but I already have Carole’s spot in the schedule.

More as I can,


Progress report on This Week with David Harrison

SUGGESTION: I’m not good at Facebook but it’s my understanding that when I post something there, everyone who is a friend sees it. IF that is true, and IF you would like to become a friend in order to receive my occasional reminders about something good going on here at the blog, THEN I hope you will become my Facebook friend. I don’t chat much but I do post now and then.

Hi everyone,

On Monday morning I met at the Communication Center studio at Drury University to shoot the first episode of THIS WEEK WITH DAVID HARRISON. I mentioned this before when we did a test video to help clarify goals and procedures.

This time we were in a studio with a team of four people to help bring the show to life and I think I’m going to like the results. Over the coming months I expect to get up to speed with a weekly podcast program. Each episode will be 5-7 minutes long and fall under the broad categories of GETTING STARTED, POETRY, FICTION, NONFICTION, and MAKING IT BETTER.

Teachers and others who wish to take the series as a course for credit can contact Drury University for information (soon). As I do here on the blog, from time to time I intend to invite specialists in children’s literacy to be my guests.

When THIS WEEK WITH DAVID HARRISON is up and running, I’ll cross reference the show so you can get to it from here, just as my web page on the Drury site can lead viewers to this spot.

Here’s a list of categories and themes planned for upcoming episodes.

Ideas by Association
Where Does One Word Take You?
The Power of Observation
Making lists
Reading for Ideas
Keeping Journals

Starting with a Single Word
Some Poems Rhyme
Some Poems Do Not Rhyme
Playing with Lines
Some Poems Have Meter
Some Poems Do Not Have Meter
Some Poems are Short
Some Poems are Long
Some Poems are Funny
Some Poems are Not Funny
Importance of Reading Aloud

Realistic Fiction
Science Fiction
Historical Fiction

Importance of Reading
How to Make Notes
Having a Word Budget
Who is Telling the Story?
Rough Draft
Checking Facts
Importance of Reading Aloud

How to Revise
How to Rewrite
Importance of Spelling, Punctuation, and Paragraphing
From Rough Draft to Finished Copy

Let me know if you have thoughts or suggestions.

This Week with David Harrison

BULLETIN: I enjoyed my week in Florida and look forward to catching up on all these posts and comments that came in while I was away. Please be patient with me for a few days while I work away at the back list.Thanks!

Hi Everyone,

I’m working with Drury University to creat a regular, online show for The School of Education and Child Development. It’s to be called This Week with David Harrison.

Our initial effort was recorded on September 15. As the first show gains focus and polish, our creative team is coming together. Technical director is Damon Hargraves. Dr. Laurie Edmondson is in charge of professioinal development. I do content and presentation. Our fourth member, the show’s director, should be named soon. Dr. Chris Craig, Director of Drury’s School of Education and Child Development, also sings, plays guitar, and writes music. Chris is creating an original theme song for the program. If all goes well, we’ll shoot the second show on November 15. Once we get the framework perfected, we’ll pick up the pace considerably.

The goal is to air a new show weekly or at least on a regular basis. Each episode will last 8-12 minutes, be suitable for sharing in the classroom, and will feature a theme that supports literacy. These will include How to Find Ideas, Getting Started, Keeping Journals, Rewriting and Revising, Writing Stories, Writing Poetry, Writing Nonfiction, Choosing What to Read, and numerous others.

Over time each theme may accrue more than one show on the subject. Laurie and I are working on professional development for teachers so this can also be made available as a course for credit. Although the program is geared toward students and teachers in the classroom, we’re keeping a much broader audience in mind. Thanks to the magic of technology, it will be available everywhere.

Sometime this fall I’ll start linking these shows to the Drury site to make it easier for readers of my blog to follow the program. For now I just wanted to let you know what’s in store. Please share this with those others who might be interested. Thanks.