Sunday, August 23, 2015

Peter Brown is Coming to Town!

        Mark your calendars for the 2nd Annual WARC Fall Mini-Conference! The keynote speaker will be author and illustrator Peter Brown. You won't want to miss this event! Stay tuned for additional details about the night via our Facebook page and the WARC blog.

Now is the Time to Join for the 2015-16 School Year!

    Joining the Williamsburg Area Reading Council is quick and easy! Here's the information on how to join online. Remember, when you are joining WARC, you are also joining the Virginia State Reading Association. Together, the dual membership costs only $30 ($20 for paraprofessionals, retired teachers, and college students.) You more than get your money back in the following opportunities: 

  • If you attend all the main events for the year (the Fall Mini-Conference, Book Talk, and the Reading Teacher of the Year reception), you will earn recertification points for licensure renewal. 
  • Non-members who wish to attend the Fall Mini-Conference have to pay $20 at the door to come to the event. Current members will not have to pay anything, because it is a part of your membership. 
  • Non-members who wish to attend the 4th Annual Book Talk have to pay $5 at the door. Again, current members do not pay to come as it is also included in your membership. 
  • Your membership card will have a list of local businesses who will give you 10% off your purchase throughout the year. You will just need to present your card!
  • Nominees for the WARC Reading Teacher of the Year honor must be WARC members to be eligible.
  • WARC members that participate in the summer Teachers as Readers will receive a professional book to keep (which can range from $25-40 in cost, depending on what text is selected.) TAR participants also earn recertification points for fully participating in the TAR summer events and assignments. (You must be a member of WARC in order to participate in the Teachers as Readers group.)
  • Free prizes, such as children's books, free Joy of Literacy and Literature conference entries, and Barnes and Noble gift cards are given away at the various events of the year. The more you attend events, the more chances that you have to win a prize! 
  • Your dual membership in WARC and VSRA are great professional organizations to include in your portfolio and resume. 
  • Additional benefits with the VSRA can be reviewed via the VSRA website.  

As you can see, the more that you participate, the more that the benefits of joining stack up! 

    A drawing will take place for members who join by October 6th. WARC will select two lucky members to win a Peter Brown book collection, as well as several Barnes and Noble gift cards! 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

1st Annual Teachers as Readers Summer Professional Development

    The 1st Annual Williamsburg Area Reading Council's Teachers as Readers was a fantastic success! There were approximately 35 participants in the group this summer. The professional book that was used for study was Mentor Texts: Teaching Writing Through Children's Literature, K-6 by Lynee Dorfman and Rose Cappelli (Stenhouse, 2007).

    You can preview part of the text via Stenhouse Publisher's website: Preview Mentor Texts

    Participants who signed up by the deadline received a copy of the text to keep as a membership benefit. Independent reading assignments were given throughout the summer. The group met at the Berkeley's Green Club House on June 23rd and August 17th to discuss the reading and ideas for mentor texts with colleagues. 

     Participants were also required to join the group's private Edmodo page to share ideas in mid-July about the assigned reading. Group members also replied to posts made by other people in the learning community. An optional group Pinterest board was also created, where members of the TAR group shared links to mentor text suggestions. The Edmodo group will continue to share ideas, links, book ideas, and pictures of charts throughout the year to keep the learning going. The Pinterest board will also continue indefinitely, so feel free to follow our board by clicking here for the link: WARC Pinterest Board for Mentor Texts. Group members who completed the assignments earned recertification points for their efforts. Members enjoyed the book selection and look forward to putting the text to work during this upcoming school year! 

    If you want to participate in casual and informative professional development in the summer with us next year, mark your calendar. We'll post information about TAR for the Summer of 2016 in the spring via Facebook and on the blog. We look forward to you participating!

The Year in Review

    The 2014-15 school year was an exciting one for the Williamsburg Area Reading Council! Here are the highlights of the year's events.

WARC Winners

    Members were eligible for several special opportunities during the year. At the October 2014 Fall Mini-Conference, membership drive winners were announced for WARC members. The grand prize of a school visit with Brian Floca went to member Ellen Picard of Stonehouse Elementary School in the WJCC Public School System. The First Prize of $200 money for literacy purposes went to member Melissa Butler, reading specialist at James River Elementary School of WJCC Public Schools. The Second Prize of a $30 Barnes and Noble gift card went to Deanna Guiseppi of WJCC's D.J. Montague Elementary School. 

Annual Author Visit 

      We had the 2014 Caldecott Winning Author and Illustrator Brian Floca visit us in October. He also made school visits at three different local schools. His presentations were engaging and insightful! We highly recommend him! 
Matthew Whaley Media Specialist and WARC Member, Mrs. Rachel Corliss, posed here with  Brian Floca after his presentation at the school in October.
One of the schools that Brian Floca presented at was Matthew Whaley Elementary in Williamsburg, VA.
Brian Floca shared more specific details about his Caldecott Award winning text Locomotion with Mrs. Katie Plum's third graders. Mrs. Plum is also a member of WARC.

Brian Floca stopped by the second grade classroom of WARC member Mrs. Charlotte Bush. He drew this drawing for her class in just a few minutes!

Brian visited the second graders in the classroom of WARC member Mrs. Susan Alis. They were having a Publishing Party that day, and Mr. Floca was the V.I.P. guest!

1st Annual WARC Mini-Conference

     The Williamsburg Area Reading Council branched out with its variety of events this past year! The 1st Annual WARC Mini-Conference took place in October at the College of William and Mary's School of Education in the Professional Development Center. It was a big hit with attendees! Two different times for mini-sessions occurred prior to the keynote presentation with Brian Floca. Attendees had a selection of two different choices for each of the two time frames, which allowed for attendees to choose the best option for their teaching niche. 

 Caldecott Award winning author Brian Floca served as the keynote speaker at the First Annual WARC Fall Mini-Conference.
     The four presenters who shared their expertise for the sessions were members of WARC. Mrs. Denise Trainor, a 1st grade teacher in York County, shared effective strategies for taking on Writer's Workshop in the elementary grades. Mrs. Kristy Haight, a librarian with York County Public Schools, presented on technology integration for nonfiction research. 

 Kristy Haight, a WARC member and York County Media Specialist, shared how to integrate kid-friendly technology into nonfiction reading and researching experiences. 

     Mrs. Lisa Smith, reading specialist at Norge Elementary, and Mrs. Wendy Lucy, reading specialist at Matthew Whaley Elementary, presented "sister" presentations on nonfiction mentor texts. Mrs. Lucy shared fresh mentor texts for science topics, and Mrs. Smith presented on mentor texts that supported social studies and history.

Mrs. Lisa Smith, WARC member and reading specialist for the WJCC Public Schools, presented on history and social studies nonfiction mentor texts. 

  The opportunity to meet Brian Floca and have him sign copies of books rounded out the evening. Attendees were also able to enjoy a boxed dinner from Jimmy John's while hearing the opening presentations, too. 

 WARC Member Susan Alis had a copy of the book Locomotive signed by Brian Floca. This book was donated by WARC to the Matthew Whaley Media Center in honor of her nomination for WARC Reading Teacher of the Year.

3rd Annual New Book Talk 

     The popular 3rd Annual New Book Talk took place in early December of 2014. Three WARC members presented on new books for elementary, middle school, and high school age students. The event was held at the Bruton Parish Center in the heart of Colonial Williamsburg, which is also right next door to Barnes and Noble. Kelly Pratts, of Bethel Manor Elementary in York County, presented fresh picture books for the elementary crowd. Nellie Williams, from Grafton Middle School in York County, presented on chapter books that are popular with middle schoolers. Lee DeGroft, of Jamestown High School in Williamsburg, shared what was popular with a variety of high schoolers. A hot chocolate and biscotti bar was enjoyed by all as well!

   WARC Reading Teacher of the Year

Mrs. Susan Alis found out about her WARC Reading Teacher of the Year honor during a guest read aloud visit from Dr. Constantino on Read Across America Day. Dr. Constantino is the Superintendent of the Williamsburg-James City County Public School Division. 

      February was the due date for the WARC Reading Teacher of the Year nominations. This year, the WARC Board Members selected Mrs. Susan Alis, second grade teacher at Matthew Whaley Elementary in Williamsburg, VA. All applications for TOY are judged based on the grading rubric provided by the Virginia State Reading Association, as well as letters of recommendation and a review of each applicant's philosophy of reading instruction. Mrs. Alis will represent WARC at the state level in this upcoming year's VSRA State Reading Teacher of the Year. We are proud to have Susan represent the passion and principles of our organization! Be thinking of who you would like to nominate for the WARC RTOY for the 2015-16 school year! It is a special accomplishment to add to your resume and portfolio. Winners receive an engraved pewter award plate, as well as a $250 dollar award at a reception held in April! Also, a picture book is donated to the winner's Media Center with a special book plate to honor their award.

 WARC member Susan Alis was the 2015 Williamsburg Area Reading Council's Reading Teacher of the Year. She was honored at a reception attended by WARC members. In the photo above, from left to right, Peggy Constantino, WARC President Dr. Denise Johnson, WARC RTOY Susan Alis, and WARC Board Member Sarah Lichtel.

 In the photo above, from left to right, Matthew Whaley Principal and WARC member Robin Ford, 2015 WARC RTOY Susan Alis, and WARC Board Member Sarah Lichtel.

 Building Reps Happy Hour

     An annual Happy Hour for WARC Building Representatives and WARC Board Members was held at Carrabba's in early June. The board shared thoughts for the upcoming school year, and got feedback from building representatives as well. The Happy Hour is WARC's way of thanking the building representatives for their advocacy of WARC at their respective schools.