Jenna Martinez, second grade teacher at North Ridge Elementary, heard about the grant opportunity through an email from Scholastic Book Clubs. She said she applied in June and found out that she received the grant in late September.
Martinez said she plans on getting books for her classroom that go with the “Be Kind” theme that North Ridge has set for this school year.
“One of my goals this year is to have a positive, inclusive, kind, classroom culture,” Martinez said. “This grant could not have come at a more perfect time. I plan on integrating ‘read alouds’ of the new books into our morning meetings and making them available for our daily reading time.”
Martinez said she uses her Scholastic bonus points to buy books often. She said she has bought books like “Too Many Tamales,” “Last Stop on Market Street,” Happy in Our Skin,” and “Hair Love.”
“My overall goal is to buy books such as these that help promote and celebrate diversity and inclusion of all students from all backgrounds,” Martinez said.
Martinez said she believes that, especially during times like this, the classroom is the place she wants her students to feel most included.
“I know that being home away from other people and away from school for so long was very difficult, even traumatic, for many of our students,” Martinez said. “I believe that having a classroom where everyone feels included and safe is an important step in helping students heal from these difficult times.”
Martinez explained that she teaches her students through the books in her classroom, and through the Frenship SERVE model, to show respect.
“Right now, respecting other people’s thoughts, feelings, opinions, and experience is very important,” Martinez said. “Respecting when students need a mental break and respecting people’s space and health through mask wearing and social distancing. In my classroom, we talk about respect through talking about kindness, and how it is important to show kindness to others by being respectful of them.”