When authors and teachers work together to share information, we all profit. I learn from you, you learn from me, and students benefit. Like the Sufi song says, "From you I receive,/To you I give,/Together we share,/From this we live."
I like to begin by asking what I can do to help make a difference in classrooms. There's an attraction between kids and authors who write their favorite books. We enjoy a natural bond. I take advantage of that trust by providing workable suggestions for how to find ideas, learn about the subject, get something down on paper, develop a story or poem, and learn to revise to make it better.
My Scholastic Guides book, WRITING STORIES, FANTASTIC FICTION FROM START TO FINISH, sold over 100,000 copies. I've co-authored ten professional books with teachers and professors plus my own works of 17 books of poetry, 41 of fiction, and 21 books of nonfiction.
When I get to be with teachers I offer classroom versions of what I do as an author and poet and help develop strategies tailored to specific needs. For information, contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Here is a letter from the librarian at a school I recently visited in Ohio.
April 19, 2011
Your visit to Maumee Valley Country Day School last week was absolutely wonderful! Our entire community: parents, teachers, and students, enjoyed every minute they spent with you. The parents who attended the evening event thought it was the best of the parent-child evenings we have had this year. One of the Primary teachers repeatedly expressed her dismay that she was unable to attend the evening event after she heard your presentation to her students on Friday. Your coming spurred us to reinstitute Poetry Week, resulting in our students reading and writing all kinds of poems to a degree greater than they might have otherwise. Many discovered the joy that doing so can bring. Your suggestions and techniques empowered the students. The impact of your visit and the encouragement you gave students will last, at least for some, a lifetime.
On behalf of the Maumee Valley community, I thank you for all your efforts and sharing yourself with us.
These are samples of thank-you notes from students in schools I recently visited in New Jersey.
Dear Mr. Harrison,
Thank you for visiting us. You are an amazing poet and teacher. Before you came to visit we hated writing. You changed my life. Now I love writing. I even bring my notebook to lunch and recess. Imagine that!
I had a super duper great time yesterday with you. I keep getting my notebook to write long poems. I showed them to Ms. Propersi. Guess what she did? She screamed so loud the world heard and New York heard it too.
Your friend, Ariel
I hated to write poems but now I love to write poems all because of you. Me and my class always bring our own notebooks to recess. Thank you for reading us stories.
Thank you for coming. Reading was boring until I saw you. You inspired me with your poems. You made me smarter.
I had a great time. Before I did not like writing and now that you came I love it. Now when Mrs. Propersi says take out your writing notebooks, we all do it quickly. You inspired me and my class.