Lester and Lola

Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Lucky me! A group of amazing colleagues and myself went to Lester Laminack and Lola Schaefer Workshop a few weeks ago (or as we here in the ATL like to say, "presnowstorm.") It was a perfect mix of fiction and nonfiction, reading and writing!

I've been a fan of Lester for some time now. I admire his work as an author, speaker, and as a teacher. I also greatly admire his anti bullying work. He is a southern superstar and also happens to be a fellow Alabamian. Meeting Lola was a first for me though. My friend M had raved about her and I was thrilled to listen to her great ideas, too! 

I left the workshop feeling rejuvenated! It was a midyear pick me up! I wish I could write 25 blog posts to cover everything, but instead I want to share my top fives!

Top 5 Quotes

"Research is not the regurgitation of facts." Lola 

"If it's not worth reading twice, don't read it." Lester (read alouds)


"Verbs are the muscle of the sentence. Adjectives are the fat~you need a little." Lola

"Stop impressing people with hallway displays. Want to impress someone? Impress your students by inspiring them as writers." Lola

Top 5 Book Recommendations

Top 5 Things I Learned 
1. Terms are important. Teach students what terms are, how to use them. (Terms are technical vocabulary-CCSS-specific words that go with a topic. Ex-shark~scales, teeth, fin, etc.)

2. While I knew this term, I had not thought of its implications in my first grade classroom. Thinkers use emperical evidence (what you can observe or prove with multiple evidence.) My writers and readers do this all the time. Now I have a big word to go with it! 

3. All research starts with a question. Ok, so I knew that but I loved hearing it over and over. Children should be researching what THEY want to know more about. 

4. There is more than one way to use The Important Book. (Thank goodness!) Lola uses this wonderful book to write nonfiction poetry! Here is mine!
The important thing about a tree is that you can climb it.
It has branches and leaves.
There are many different kinds.
They can provide shade on sunny days.
But the important thing about a tree is that you can climb it. 

5. I'm doing it right! (well, most days!) My students do not write about the same topic. My students' writing is not perfect and I do not fix it for them. I do make time for read aloud. I do provide feedback. Ahhh. Sometimes you just need to hear that. Lester was so encouraging but with a push to be a little better than you were yesterday.

I could go on and on about Lola and Lester's workshop! I learned so much! I loved sharing with my team and knowing that these ideas will be used in all of our classrooms. Our readers and writers will be better for it! If you have the opportunity to see either of these teachers (yes, teachers!) GO! 

Have you been to any awesome PD lately?

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