Monday, August 19, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 08/19/2019

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:
Last week I read more of The Bridge Home and I read some great picture books with my students! 
Last Week's Posts:
jen vincent, classroom, teaching, education, school

Getting Ready for Students!

donalyn miller, jilian heise, classroom bookaday. bookaday


Upcoming Book Adventures: 
This week my goal is to finish The Bridge Home and start The Other Half of Happy by Rebecca Balcarcel. 

So, what are you reading this week? 
Link up below and check out other blogs to see what they're 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!

Sunday, August 18, 2019

My First Week With #classroombookaday!

donalyn miller, jilian heise, classroom bookaday. bookaday

This year I'm joining in on classroom bookaday fun with my 7th and 8th graders. We started this on day one and after three days are already into a nice routine. It's been so fun to share stories with my students. I missed reading picture books with kids everyday!

If you're new to Classroom Book A Day, you can find all sorts of information that Jilian has curated here. The idea is to read a picture book every day of the school year. To get started, I created a bulletin board with 180 blank squares to represent all of the books we're going to read and I picked out a few picture books. After we read a book, I add the cover of the book to our chart so we can keep track of our progress and we'll be able to look back at the books we've read throughout the year. 

Here are the three books we started the year with:
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The Day You Begin
written by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by Rafael López
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My Teacher Is A Monster! (No, I Am Not.)
written and illustrated by Peter Brown
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Imagine
written by Juan Felipe Herrera and illustrated by Lauren Castillo

As a connector, I'm a person who likes to find ways to intertwine learning and to make the most of what we've got. My goal is to keep our Classroom Book A Day simple and fun but I couldn't help but add on a few opportunities that I spotted. One opportunity is to discuss some vocabulary which I'll share in another post later this week. And another is to discuss theme. 

To start, after reading the book we chat a bit and then I ask students to turn and talk to a partner and to discuss what they think the theme or message of the book is. To start, I've been keeping it simple. Students turn and talk and then write what they think the theme is on the board. After students return to their seats, I read out the themes and we see if there are commonalities or differences. I've then been capturing these into a doc so we have them to refer back to.

Here are examples students came up with as the theme of The Day You Begin:

And are some examples after reading Imagine:


To me, asking students to think about theme is simple but also important. Eventually, we'll talk about how a writer incorporates theme throughout the text and discuss it more deeply. 

But even after the first day, just asking students to think about theme, we were able to discuss a lot. For example, one group wrote, "No matter how light or dark you are, or how many languages you speak, you are still a human being." And another group wrote, "Even if you are of a different race, gender or interest you should still be included." In looking at both of these, I pointed out how the ideas were similar but the word choice was different.

I can't wait to keep going with Classroom Book A Day! Here are the books we'll be reading this week:
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Nerdy Birdy
written by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Matt Davies
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My Name is Sangoel
written by Karen Lynn Williams and Khadra Mohammed and illustrated by Catherine Stock
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Louise Loves Art 
written and illustrated by Kelly Light
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Boy + Bot
written by Ame Dyckman and illustrated by Dan Yaccarino
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The Teacher's Pet
written by Anika Mrose Rissi and illustrated by Zachariah Ohora

Classroom Book A Day is new to me but it's been great and already worthwhile so far. Already, I'm thinking about my thought process as I choose books. I'm being intentional about which books I read when and how I might be able to use them to introduce a topic we might expand upon. It's really fun and I'm sure I'll have a blog post to share about it too. Have you tried Classroom Book A Day? I'd love to hear about it if you have! Or if you are curious and have questions, please ask!


Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Getting Ready for Students!

Tomorrow is the first day of school! 

I'm so excited to meet my students.

They are the most important part of our classroom. 

They'll make the biggest difference when it comes to our space but I still wanted to do a few things to get ready for them. I'm new to my position and I haven't taught in seven years so I was basically starting from scratch except for my classroom library (which I'll share in another post!).

My goal was to keep it simple (and not spend much money) but I did want to do some work to turn it into a more welcoming space. 

Here's what the room looked like at the beginning of the summer:

jen vincent, teaching, classroom

jen vincent, teaching, classroom

jen vincent, teaching, classroom

jen vincent, teaching, classroom

Here's what I did to make it more welcoming. 

1. At the beginning of the summer, my friend Carly posted on her Instagram that she was moving. She was selling some of her furniture and the two tall teal bookshelves came from her. My older son and I took the seats out of the van and drove down to Chicago one Saturday morning to carry them down from her 3rd floor apartment and get them home. These were free besides the gas we spent to get down there (and the breakfast I bought son for helping me!).

jen vincent, teaching, classroom
***Since these were the first addition to my classroom, 
I chose my color scheme based off of these bookshelves.

2. My younger son helped me cut and staple up the special fade-less paper on the bulletin boards. One roll from Michael's $10 minus my 20% teacher discount and we had a little paper left over but not much. I liked how simple it looks and decided not to do any borders. 

jen vincent, teaching, classroom

3. I had been thinking about not having a teacher desk so I wanted to buy a cart for my supplies. As of right now, I still have my teacher desk but I also have my red cart which I bought for $40 with a 40% off coupon at Michael's. I really really really love my red cart.

jen vincent, teaching, classroom
***Because of this red cart, I decided to use red as my accent color. 
My little helper put together for me and helped me carry it in!

4. I was thrilled to have bookshelves but they weren't in the best shape. I bought a can of paint for $30 and painted the three white and pink bookshelves. My aunt bought me a mini roller, a tray, and a paint brush and I had some sand paper in the garage that I used. It took me a few hours to sand and get a few coats of paint onto all three bookshelves but otherwise, I only spent money on the paint. 

jen vincent, teaching, classroom

jen vincent, teaching, classroom

jen vincent, teaching, classroom
***With my teal bookshelves and my red cart, I knew I needed a fairly neutral color that would also be complimentary so that's how I ended up with navy blue for these bookshelves.

5. I'm not very good with plants but I love them and definitely want plants in my room. I have a gorgeous south-facing window with a ledge which is a perfect spot for plants. The cans were free and my aunt had paint for me to use. I started with a coat of primer and then used acrylic paints to add some color. I found indoor plants at Home Depot for $4 each. For $12 total, I bought 4 small pots and then divided them into the six cans.

jen vincent, teaching, classroom

jen vincent, teaching, classroom

jen vincent, teaching, classroom

jen vincent, teaching, classroom

jen vincent, teaching, classroom
***The colors don't exactly match my bookshelves but they're close. 
I also added in one yellow can because yellow is my favorite color.

6. My friend Jenni shared that Menard's had rugs for sale so I dragged my family there when we were in Bourbonnais for Bears training camp. I was able to find two 4 x 6 rugs that match each other and my color scheme. They were each $15 so I spent $30 total but waaaaay cheaper than most rugs I've seen. 

jen vincent, teaching, classroom

7. Finally, we stopped in at Goodwill on my search for word games and stumbled upon two wooden benches. I might paint them at some point but for now I just wiped them down and found a spot for them. They might be my favorite addition. I paid $15 for each of them so another $30 total.

jen vincent, teaching, classroom

jen vincent, teaching, classroom

And here's what it looks like now:


Students come tomorrow! 


Monday, August 12, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 08/12/2019

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:
I didn't get as much reading done this week as I had hoped...but I did start The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman. 

Last Week's Posts:
exploring identity, jen vincent, identity, teaching, middle school

Shared Art Project

Founding Story Exploratory

story exploratory, giveaway, jen vincent, writing

Story Exploratory's Back to School Giveaway!

(Click on the image and/or links to visit the posts.)

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I'm going to keep reading The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman and I get to read some picture books with my students this week! I can't wait!!! I'm starting with The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Rafael López. 

So, what are you reading this week? 
Link up below and check out other blogs to see what they're 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!

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Story Exploratory's Back to School Giveaway!

story exploratory, giveaway, back to school, jen vincent
Yesterday I shared how my identity is still evolving and how this year I became a small business owner. I'm so proud of Story Exploratory and am excited to share it with the world. 

story exploratory, jen vincent, writing

To celebrate back-to-school season, Story Exploratory is hosting a Back to School Giveaway!

story exploratory, back to school, giveaway


story exploratory, back to school, giveaway

Here's the link to the Story Exploratory Facebook page so you can join in on the fun!

jen vincent, story exploratory

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Founding Story Exploratory #exploringidentity

jen vincent, exploring identity, blog

I'm a small business owner.

In some ways it was a monumental change in my life and in other ways it was no big deal. 

Mentally, it took a lot to get Story Exploratory up and running. Physically, walking into the county building and submitting my application was a piece of cake. 

story exploratory, writing, workshops, stories, jen vincent

I dreamed up Story Exploratory because 
I wanted to be 
seen, 
celebrated, 
and empowered. 

I felt overwhelmed and tired and stuck. 
I felt under-appreciated. 
I felt like life had more in store for me.
I felt like I just had to figure out how to share it with the world. 

I wondered if maybe others were feeling this too. And I wondered if maybe I could create a space where people could feel seen, celebrated, and empowered. 

Story Exploratory is my contribution to the world. 

Story Exploratory is for awesome people who are ready to make the world a better place. If you are self-reflective, willing to put in the work, and not afraid to take action, then Story Exploratory is for you. By exploring our stories, we own the people, places, and experiences that have shaped us, share our journeys, and use our stories to impact change in the world. 

I believe you are more amazing than you know. 

My job is to see you and celebrate you. At Story Exploratory, I give you the time and space and love to explore your story, own your headspace, and maximize your potential. YOU will make the world a better place. I'll be there to guide you and help you along the way. It's not easy, but together, it will be an epic adventure. 

As the founder of Story Exploratory, 
see, 
celebrate, 
and empower people.

story exploratory, jen vincent, writing, workshops

It's the best! I help people unlock their stories and polish them up so they can shine. I help people navigate the ups and downs of life, tackle self doubt, and face their inner critics. I help people take action and live up to their amazing potential. I support people at every point in their journey. Best of all, I get to celebrate people and have fun. 

I'm a proud, small business owner.

Just when I think I'm old enough to know who I am, I start a small business and suddenly I'm taking on a new identity. It's exciting to think about how our identity can evolve over time and I want to be sure to share this with my students. I also am so proud to be able to share this new identity as a small business owner. I'm a Latina woman who started her own small business and that's pretty rockstar, right?!

If you're interested in checking out one of my upcoming workshops, you can find more information and register here.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 08/19/2019

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