Saturday, September 28, 2013

An Evening with Lester Laminack

     The Williamsburg Area Reading Council enjoyed a fantastic event with author extraordinaire Lester Laminack on the evening of September 24th! Lester had a busy day while he was in Williamsburg, Virginia for his visit. The students of Bethel Manor Elementary in York County enjoyed a visit from Lester in the morning.  In the afternoon, Lester visited York County's Waller Mill Elementary School. This particular school was the school that won the author visit from WARC for having the most memberships this year! 

      In the evening, Lester Laminack spoke to a large crowd of local educators at the School of Education's Professional Development Center at the College of William and Mary. He inspired the crowd with words of empowerment and motivation. Lester reminded the attendees that they should constantly have the mindset of an "internal professional development model." If you are open to always learning and improving, "you have nothing to lose but your inhibitions."

      Lester shared about his current writing project, which is a picture book that has beekeeping as a component of the story. He shared a variety of bee nonfiction and fiction books that he has been reading in order to research honeybees and collect topic specific vocabulary. Lester recommended reading 12-15 nonfiction books in order to gather enough content to create a realistic fiction story. He also discussed the many ways learning can be cross-curricular. Lester gave examples using this topic of bees and how it could be tied in science, math, history, writing, and reading. 

     Lester shared several techniques on how to empower students to become authorities on what they write. Lester wrapped up the evening by generously signing the books that the attendees owned or purchased that evening. His most recent book, The Writing Teacher's Troubleshooting Guide, was available as well. You can learn more about this clever guide via Heinemann's website.

      Here is a neat side story! A teacher's young daughter attended the evening teacher event with her mom. The girl knew of Lester Laminack's work thanks to her second and third grade teachers using his books as mentor texts in their classrooms. She asked Lester if he would give her some writer's advice as part of a special homework assignment. Lester was so kind to sit down with her and write a thoughtful reply! Her current teacher hung up this special advice in a place of honor near the featured mentor text bookshelf in her classroom! :) Isn't that so special?

     Be sure to follow the Williamsburg Area Reading Council on Facebook! Invite your colleagues and teacher friends to keep up to date on WARC on Facebook and this blog as well. We hope that you were able to attend this wonderful evening and left full of inspiration!