Sunday, January 29, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 1/30/2017

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 
It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!
Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and I decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them. 

Last Week's Book Adventures:
Eep! We were on a surprise long-weekend trip to Orlando to watch the Probowl practices and make the most of two days at Disney World. I spent so much time soaking up as much of the Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios as I could so I didn't get much reading in. Peanut and I did keep up with Harry Potter. We're almost to the end of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This is one of my favorites. I do so love Sirius Black and it's fun to enjoy rereading with Peanut and reliving the story as it unravels with him. 

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
It's one of those times when I have so many books going that I'm not getting much read in any of them so I'm hoping to focus in this week. I need to finish A Boy Called Bat and I'd love to finish Rising Strong as well. If I can get through those two, it'll be a success for me...and then I'll let myself get back to others I've started like Orphan Island, Here We Are, and the March graphic novels.

This Week's Reviews:
Check back throughout the week to read these reviews/posts. 

So, what are you reading this week? 
Link up below and don't forget to check out other blogs to see what they are reading!
To help build our community and support other bloggers, 
we ask that you comment on at least three other blogs before you. 
Also, if you tweet about your Monday post, don't forget to use #IMWAYR!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

WATCH: Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson


In today's world, being connected is more possible than ever. Of course, there are advantages and disadvantages to connecting with others through social media but the fact is that technology makes it must more possible to connect with someone in another part of the world. 

I'm a person who thrives from being connected to others. Being part of the writing community and having critique partners helps me continue to write. Without others who are there with me along the way, I know I wouldn't be where I am at this point in my life.   

There is power in being connected. I'm sharing Steven Johnson's TedTalk: Where Good Ideas Come From because it helped me think a little more closely and a little more differently about where ideas come from and why being connected is so critical.

Did you catch these words there at the end:

"That is how innovation happens.
Chance favors the connected mind."

Watch and think about some ideas you've had recently. Did being connected to someone or a group of someones in some way help this idea come to mind? How does sharing your ideas with someone else help make your idea better? How does being connected impact your writing life?

I know for me, I use mentor texts to help me think about how others have written stories and how I might try what they've done. Whether it's word choice or how to get into a story or how to work towards the climax in a story, mentor texts help me so much. Similarly, when I'm writing, I love to hear what others do to navigate the writing process. I love Stephen King's On Writing and Anne Lamott's Bird By Bird but also Blake Snyder's Save the Cat and Kate Messner's Real Revision and 59 Reason to Write...not to mention all the blog posts I read about writing and all the ideas friends share with me when I ask, "How do you analyze your chapters as you revise?"

I'm so glad WE are connected!
I'd love to hear your thoughts on the power of being connected.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 1/23/2017

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 
It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!
Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and I decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them. 

Announcements:
My friend Erin Jackle and I started a fun project on Thursday!


You can read more about it here.
We took a picture every hour at 44 after the hour on Thursday, January 19th. 
You can search #lifecaptcha on Instagram to see our posts and posts from others who joined us. 
We'll be doing it again every 19th of the month for the rest of the year. 

Last Week's Book Adventures:
I finally finished Between the World And Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. It's such a beautiful book but also powerful and honest and heart-breaking. We have work to do. In so many ways, our country has so much work to do. Now that I'm done with it, I'm excited to pass it on to co-workers and share his words with others. I've also been telling everyone I know about the documentary 13th because it is equally important. If you haven't seen it, please try and watch it. We were able to stream it on Netflix. This week I read more of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban with Peanut and read lots of picture books and some non-fiction books with Little Bean. I also started the March graphic novels and Laurel Snyder's Orphan Island.

Reviewed Last Week:
Click on any picture above to go read my review/post.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
There are so many books I want to read and just not enough time. This is a super busy week for me but I'm hoping to continue reading Orphan Island and the March graphic novels. I didn't get to Hear We Are yet so I'm hoping to dive into it as well.

This Week's Reviews:
Check back throughout the week to read these reviews/posts. 

So, what are you reading this week? 
Link up below and don't forget to check out other blogs to see what they are reading!
To help build our community and support other bloggers, 
we ask that you comment on at least three other blogs before you. 
Also, if you tweet about your Monday post, don't forget to use #IMWAYR!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

JOIN: Celebrating the Women's March



Every Saturday, join me as I CELEBRATE This Week 
with Ruth Ayres from Discover. Play. Build.


I won't be in Chicago marching with so many others in the Women's March today and it breaks my heart. 

But, in less than two hours, I'll be at school with third through eighth graders. Today is the first day of our Saturday enrichment programs and I'm teaching three sessions: Telling Your Story as a Graphic Novel, Vocabulary Fiesta: An Introduction to Spanish, and Silly Videos. As a technology integration specialist, I get to work in schools with teachers and students but I don't have my own students any more. Teaching these three mini-courses is super exciting because I get to teach again. 

So even though I won't be with friends downtown, I'm celebrating that I can still stand for the cause in teaching my classes. 

I'm a working mom. 
My kids know I'm teaching these Saturday classes.
One of my sons is in my classes and will see my excitement and enthusiasm. 
He'll see me alive and passionate.
They'll both see the work I do today. 

The kids I teach today will experience and learn something new.

My courses will inspire 
creativity, 
critical thinking, 
collaboration, 
and communication.

Kids will be 
drawing and dancing and singing
laughing and having fun as we learn. 

But more than anything, I hope they'll be engaged learners. 
Kids are our future.

I won't be at the Women's March.
But I will be making an impact in another way. 

Thank you to everyone who is marching, in Chicago or anywhere else. 
I wish I could be there but even though I'm not, I'm with you. 

Friday, January 20, 2017

Our Country's Presidents: A Complete Encyclopedia of the U.S. Presidency

Title: Our Country's Presidents: A Complete Encyclopedia of the U.S. Presidency
Author: Ann Bausum 
Publisher: National Geographic 
Publication Date: January 10th, 2017 
Genre/Format: Non-Fiction/Informational 
GoodReads Summary: National Geographic presents the 43 individuals who have led the U.S., plus America's newest commander-in-chief, in this up-to-date, authoritative, and lavishly illustrated family, school, and library reference. It features comprehensive profiles of the 43 former presidents along with timelines and descriptions of crucial events during their terms. Information about the 2016 president-elect is also included. 
Thematic spreads cover a variety of topics from the history of voting rights to writing a presidential letter. Full-page portraits, famous quotes, and fascinating facts help kids get to know each leader. This new volume is a fascinating read and excellent reference for students and kids of all ages." 
What I Think: This book is a wealth of knowledge. It's colorful and the photographs are vibrant. It gives information about each of the presidents and his place in history but also ties ideas from the past into our current context. That's what I see as the power of history. We can learn from the past if our discussions come back to what we know now or what is happening now.
     Today is an important day to the United States. It's the inauguration of a new president. We as people should all be aware of history and how our government works, as we all play our part. I'll be reading this book with my own kids, talking about presidents of past and helping them see what they can do to impact local and federal governments. Reading books like this is the one of the best ways to open kids up to the history that has shaped our world and to help them see themselves in it.
     In the section about Barack Obama there is a quote,

"For as long as I live, I will
never forget that in no other
country on Earth is my story even possible."
Barack Obama
March 18, 2008
And that is a great message to celebrate with students. Their story is possible. Even when it might feel like we as citizens are far away from the officials elected to hold office, the truth is, they are people too. Students can reach out to local representatives and senators or others in office locally and connect with them. This is a start to realizing that they are people and that they listen to the people they represent and work for. Now as much as ever, we have to help students see the active role they can take in government matters.
     I'd also recommend reading Our Country's Presidents with Time For Kids' Presidents of the United States to spur even more discussion. The books are similar but different but both share the stories of the presidents of the United States. As with any discussion of history, it's important to gain different perspectives so I wanted to share this resource as an example of how to do this with students.
Writing Prompt: Write about one things you would like to see the president (or even local legislatures) do for the world?

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Introducing #lifecaptcha!

Introducing #lifecaptcha! My friend Erin from Mischief Managed and I are super excited to share a project we've been working on. We hope you'll follow along and maybe even join in!
#lifecaptcha.png
Stories are the heart of the human experience.

Life is but small moments,
         one after that another,
                   woven together.

I have a story.
He has a story.
She has a story.
You have a story.

To live is to have a story.

We have long seen the value of telling our story.
As bloggers, educators, mothers,
we share our stories
to impact change.

Right now, we live in a time of endless avenues to
tell our story
show our work
leave our mark
make the world a better place.

When we tell our stories, we
celebrate our actions
inspire others
show how change is possible.

Likewise,
when we listen to stories, we
recognize noble actions
are inspired
see how change is possible.

We wondered:
What if we dropped everything and took a picture at random times throughout one day?
Would this tell a clearer story of our lives and empower others to see that they can impact change too?
What if we asked others to join us and take pictures at random times throughout one day?
Would this let us learn from the lives of others and empower us to do more?

And so, #lifecaptcha was born.

#lifecaptcha to share.png

Because we’re fans of Chimamanda Adichie’s TedTalk The Danger of a Single Story and we strongly believe it’s relevant to life today as much as ever. But we also agree with Sisonke Msimang and the message of her TedTalk If A Story Moves You, Act On It.

Because Donald Trump makes unkind remarks directed towards African Americans, Latinos, Muslims, and women (to name a few…). But we know his eyes aren’t open to the beauty in each and every individual on this Earth.

Because Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” But to do work to move justice for all forward, we need to continue to learn to see the world through others’ eyes.

We all share the human experience.
Stories
bring us together
bridge us together
bind us together.

The more stories we share
the more our understanding and empathy grows.

Life is short and there’s work to do.
So we asked ourselves, “Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?”

We do.

And now we’re asking you, “Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?”

You do.

Small moments tell your story.
Small moments amplify your impact.

We’re blending Instagram and spontaneity throughout the year
to share “a day in the life” as a way to tell our stories.

What exactly is a “day in the life” really like?
What are the small moments that add up to a day?
What are the small moments that add up to a year?
What are the small moments that tell your story?

We invite you to join us.
Follow #lifecaptcha on Instagram.
Ever hour at 44 minutes past the hour,
drop everything and take a picture.
Share on Instagram using #lifecaptcha.
Connect with others.

Tell your story.

Show how change is possible.
See how change is possible.
Make the world a better place.

To join Erin and I on our #lifecaptcha journey this year, follow us on Instagram:

Jen Vincent - @mentortexts
Erin Jackle - @maraudererin

While Erin and I are both educators, 
we hope to share this with educators and non-educators alike. 
If you know someone who would be interested in #lifecaptcha, 
please share with them!

Introducing #lifecaptcha!

Introducing #lifecaptcha! My friend Erin from Mischief Managed and I are super excited to share a project we've been working on. We hope you'll follow along and maybe even join in!
#lifecaptcha.png
Stories are the heart of the human experience.

Life is but small moments,
         one after that another,
                   woven together.

I have a story.
He has a story.
She has a story.
You have a story.

To live is to have a story.

We have long seen the value of telling our story.
As bloggers, educators, mothers,
we share our stories
to impact change.

Right now, we live in a time of endless avenues to
tell our story
show our work
leave our mark
make the world a better place.

When we tell our stories, we
celebrate our actions
inspire others
show how change is possible.

Likewise,
when we listen to stories, we
recognize noble actions
are inspired
see how change is possible.

We wondered:
What if we dropped everything and took a picture at random times throughout one day?
Would this tell a clearer story of our lives and empower others to see that they can impact change too?
What if we asked others to join us and take pictures at random times throughout one day?
Would this let us learn from the lives of others and empower us to do more?

And so, #lifecaptcha was born.

#lifecaptcha to share.png

Because we’re fans of Chimamanda Adichie’s TedTalk The Danger of a Single Story and we strongly believe it’s relevant to life today as much as ever. But we also agree with Sisonke Msimang and the message of her TedTalk If A Story Moves You, Act On It.

Because Donald Trump makes unkind remarks directed towards African Americans, Latinos, Muslims, and women (to name a few…). But we know his eyes aren’t open to the beauty in each and every individual on this Earth.

Because Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” But to do work to move justice for all forward, we need to continue to learn to see the world through others’ eyes.

We all share the human experience.
Stories
bring us together
bridge us together
bind us together.

The more stories we share
the more our understanding and empathy grows.

Life is short and there’s work to do.
So we asked ourselves, “Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?”

We do.

And now we’re asking you, “Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?”

You do.

Small moments tell your story.
Small moments amplify your impact.

We’re blending Instagram and spontaneity throughout the year
to share “a day in the life” as a way to tell our stories.

What exactly is a “day in the life” really like?
What are the small moments that add up to a day?
What are the small moments that add up to a year?
What are the small moments that tell your story?

We invite you to join us.
Follow #lifecaptcha on Instagram.
On the 19th day of the month,
Every hour at 44 minutes past the hour,
drop everything and take a picture.
Share on Instagram using #lifecaptcha.
Connect with others.

Tell your story.

Show how change is possible.
See how change is possible.
Make the world a better place.

To join Erin and I on our #lifecaptcha journey this year, follow us on Instagram:

Jen Vincent - @mentortexts
Erin Jackle - @maraudererin

While Erin and I are both educators, 
we hope to share this with educators and non-educators alike. 
If you know someone who would be interested in #lifecaptcha, 
please share with them!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 1/16/2017

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 
It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!
Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and I decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them. 

Announcements:
My friend Erin Jackle and I are starting a fun project on Thursday!
I'll be sharing more here and at Story Exploratory.
We hope you'll join in and share smalls moments to tell your story.
Be sure to check back on the 19th for details about #lifecaptcha. 

Last Week's Book Adventures:
I've spent the week reading Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban, Green Bay Packers informational texts, Rising Strong and Between The World and Me. 

Reviewed Last Week:
Click on any picture above to go read my review/post.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I was really excited to receive a review copy of National Geographic's Our Country's Presidents to read with my kids. We flipped through it and looked at all the presidents we've had since GeorgeWashington and we had interesting discussion as we did. I'm planning to start reading Here We Are: 44 Voices Write, Draw, and Speak About Feminism for the Real World. This week I'm also starting another ESL course so I'm sure I'll be cracking the textbook open!

This Week's Reviews:
Check back throughout the week to read these reviews/posts. 

So, what are you reading this week? 
Link up below and don't forget to check out other blogs to see what they are reading!
To help build our community and support other bloggers, 
we ask that you comment on at least three other blogs before you. 
Also, if you tweet about your Monday post, don't forget to use #IMWAYR!

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 07/15/2019

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA!   It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme ho...