E-Mail: peterlourie@gmavt.net

One School Prepares for

Author Visit

  

Leverett Elementary School, Leverett, MA

 

In January we began advertising our author event that was going to be held in March.  Peter Lourie, author of numerous children’s non-fiction books, would spend the day with a morning presentation in the gym for students in grades 2- 6 followed by two writing workshops: one for students in grades 3 and 4 and another for students in grades 5 and 6. We made three displays.  One was on the bulletin board outside our library and it depicted Peter as a world traveler – traveling the world in his canoe.

 

Bulletin Board

Outside

School Library

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We then made two additional displays that advertised the upcoming event.  One we displayed at the town library’s front hall and the other we placed right inside our library with a display of all the books that Peter had written. 

Table Display in the Library

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Over the next two months, teachers and students were encouraged to check out Peter’s books for recreational reading or for curriculum-related topics.  Some of Peter’s materials have been integrated into the curriculum. For example, the sixth grade teacher used the books about Lewis and Clark and Sacagawea in their study of American History and the fifth grade used the Aztec, Inca, and Maya books for their ancient civilization projects. 

We displayed flyers at the post office, town hall, and all the doors in the school, advertised often in the school’s Friday newsletter, and included a flyer in the town’s quarterly newsletter. 

March was the highly anticipated month…Peter Lourie! 

Peter arrived in Leverett on Friday, March 24th and the day was as successful as anticipated!  Peter was as entertaining and as informative as we had remembered him from a Keene State Children’s Literature Conference. 

The kids and the adults alike enjoyed Peter’s adventure stories and his advice on writing.  One hundred and two students in grades 2 through 6 along with about 40 staff and community members watched Peter’s presentation in the gymnasium.  The kids all remember Peter’s lasting phrase…”Good writing is detailed writing!”  In fact, the Grade 6 teacher used Peter’s phrase before the students began their MCAS English Language Arts test the second week in April!  The best way to describe the day is from the participants.  Evaluation forms (see below) are a true testament to Peter’s ability to bring his writing adventures to life.  Below are some photos from the day at Leverett.

Peter captured the students’ attention from the moment he started talking!

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Peter asked, “Am I really strong or is this boat really light?”

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His animated style held the kid's attention for a solid hour!

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A hat…

What do you pack when you travel down a river?

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and little pots for cooking and eating your food!

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One word…riveted!

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On to writing workshops in the library…

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Evaluations

5th Grade Teacher:  Wow!  Peter was an amazing presenter.  He was polished, practiced, engaging and responsive.  He was the best presenter to a multi-age group of children I have seen in 16 years of teaching.  Bravo!

Comments from his students:

  • I liked how he was very descriptive.
  • I liked it when  he said that not everything you write is perfect.
  • I think that he was a good storyteller.
  • I learned a lot about writing.
  • He really gets an audience’s attention.
  • I learned that “geezers” have a lot to say about exploring.
  • It was cool when he showed us rough drafts of his stories.
  • I liked to hear about his adventures.  I wish I could have heard more.
  • You used details, so I could picture it in my mind better.

 

3rd Grade Teacher:  I loved how Peter included personal stories about his children in his adventure stories.  He is very physical when he shares histories and brings his stories to life!  The canoe, pictures, and artifacts made it very engaging for the children and adults.

Comments from her students:

  • Yes, he taught me that good writing is DETAILED writing!
  • I loved the story about the Hudson River.
  • I liked the story about his daughter going camping.
  • It was interesting when he went to (find) the Inca treasure.
  • SUPER!
  • It was fun to learn how he got the ideas for his stories.
  • You made it feel like I was with you.  It made me feel like there were animals on the floor.
  • He had so much energy.
  • I liked the writing workshop.
  • I am thinking of reading the Lost Treasure of Captain Kidd next, after I finish the four other books I’m reading, of course.
  • You know how to make a gentle ride down the river dramatic.
  • I liked learning how he put his book together.

 

5th Grade Teacher:  Peter is an accomplished writer and a skillful actor.  He brought to life his experiences traveling down the Hudson River by canoe.  He knows from his own school experiences what motivates kids to want to write, and with humorous accounts, he recreated his struggles to write about his dog’s death.  By involving his audience in repeating refrains such as “Details!”,  he kept rapt attention through the gym presentation and the writing workshop.

Comments from her students:

  • I liked the story, “Daddy, I hear an alligator outside.”
  • I think my favorite part of (Peter’s presentation) was getting to know what his trips really meant to him.
  • He warned us about plagiarism.
  • Thank you for coming to our school to show us the entertaining and fascinating places that you went to.
  • I thought he was going to be a boring person, but I was wrong.
  • I was really interested when you talked about shark diving with your daughter.  I can’t wait to read the book.
  • It was worth waiting two years for him to come.
  • I learned a lot and hope to remember your visit for life!
  • I thought I would be nervous about meeting an author, but Peter was just an ordinary person.
  • It was like getting the inside, inside scoop (about writing).
  • DETAILS!  DETAILS!  DETAILS!
  • Write lots of drafts.

 

6th Grade Teacher:  It’s extremely difficult for a guest speaker to visit an elementary school and present as captivating a program as Peter Lourie did.  He was understandable and enjoyable on both levels-children and adults.  He injected humor and personal perspective.  A great experience.  While the students took their English Language Arts state tests, I put his quote “good writing is detailed writing” on the board.  I truly think it made an impact.  Superb!

Her student’s comments:

  • I learned that there are many ways to collect information like, recording what you are thinking and taking photos.
  • I learned that if you work hard you will come out with a good report.
  • His stories made me want to travel around the world and write when I grow up.
  • I would say first thank you for the writing tips.
  • I liked the workshop because I love to write.  It was fun to learn about how a REAL writer writes.
  • I liked how you put images of our trip in my head.
  • I learned that researching is not just a days work, it takes weeks.
  • I sincerely appreciated the tips on writing and have used them to improve my writing.

 

Other Staff, Parent, and Community Member Comments

 

  • His use of his actual notes and faxes (from his editor and publisher) really made it (writing process) come to life.
  • I’m sure he converted many children to want to become adventurers and writers!
  • Excellent presenter, completely engaging with superb ability to keep all the children’s attention.
  • OUTSTANDING!
  • Riveting and most informative!
  • Dynamic. 
  • FANTABULOUS!
  • EXCEEDED EXPECTATIONS! FABULOUS!