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Tonight is a raw post. I am literally writing my thoughts and checking my grammar and clicking PUBLISH!  #reallife
I find it interesting that many teachers including myself struggle with perfection. We want to have a pinterest classroom, a perfect lesson, no problems, high achieving students, and no bad days. BUT! That is not reality. As I was driving home tonight after putting in almost a 12 hour school day, I was thinking about my dad and my students. I love my students. I truly love each one of them. Teaching is my passion. It is who I am. It is what makes me feel like a superhero. Sometimes even though I love my job I do not feel like a superhero. Some days or even weeks are HARD! As I was having an inter dialogue with myself about my day, the song "I'm only one Call Away" came on.

Teachers are SUPERHEROES. We are! Superman doesn't have anything on us. But! We need each other to help. We need the kids to help and the parents. We are not in this alone. Guess what, it is ok to have a bad day and ask for help.

Shelly Becker and I want you to know EVEN SUPERHEROES Have Bad Days! I found this book at Barnes and Nobel this weekend. It was screaming my name. It reminded me that sometimes you just need to have a bad day, eat ice cream, not finishing grading, sit on the couch, and then go to bed. IT IS OK! You're OKAY!

You might be wondering what I am trying to get at? Let me tell you. Kids are human just like us. They have bad days too. How can we help support them to know they are not alone? Well, as you might have predicted I think picture books can solve most problems. Even Superheros Have Bad Days delicately teaches kids and adults how to hand "bad days". The story shares when superheroes have bad days they could.... "use super-powers to crush wooden crates and bend metal gates" or "use laser eyes to ignite forest fires", BUT instead they use their powers to chase wanted bad guys with super-charged zings or taking them to jail. I like how the book acknowledges bad choices and demonstrates how to channel frustration, bad days, and more. The superheros find sunshine in their cloud.

Lets be each other's superhero because Even SUPERHEROES HAVE BAD DAYS. It's ok to be sad, overwhelmed, or mad. Howyou handle the situation determines your grit level. How high is GRIT meter? We all can be perfect in our own superhero way. (affiliate link was used)

Hi Friends,

Last night on facebook live, I shared two chapter books that I am considering reading when I start in just 2.5 weeks. Crazy how summer flies. I am excited to get back into the swing of things though. I have realized the older I get the more scheduled I like my life. #atype

I thought I would share my favorite 5th grade books recommendations list with my readers. I am going to giving this list to all the parents at Back to School Night. If you teach 4th or 6th grade, these books would also work for your classes. FYI-Some of the choices are geared more toward fifth grade.

Just click on the picture, download, print on colorful paper, and send home with students. For your convenience I have also linked books mentioned in list below.

Pax-Global Read Aloud 
BFG-Global Read Aloud

 What books do your students love?

Amazon Affiliate links were you used in this post to help my picture book obsession. :)

I love when authors reach out on instagram or email to share their newest prized book. It makes me feel well... kinda awesome. Sharing the same passion along side mine is like eating a whole jar of guacamole with scoop chips - nothing better.

Lisa Winkler, author of Amanda at Bat, wrote this picture book to help young people develop strategies to problem solve.

Meet Amanda who loves playing softball, but is too short, has end of the alphabet last name, and is born in December. Amanda at Bat came out at the perfect time of the buzz word GRIT. I think as a society we give up too easily. If something is hard we quit. Amanda At Bat helps kids see with perseverance anything is possible.

I highly recommend getting this book as a part of your #picturebookaday series. I plan to read this the first week of school. Get those kids to think outside of the box. This year in 5th grade, I am going to focus on student centered problem solving. Wish me luck. While you are wishing, go put AAB in your amazon cart. You can thank me later when you have problem solving superstars in your classroom.


What books do you use to help students with problem solving?

You know that special stack of books behind your desk that the kids are not allowed to touch or you might go a little cra cra. Yep, we all have that stack. Well I might have that huge stack nicely organized in my home office. I bring my books to read to the kids, but then they go straight home and put back in their place. #truth- They go in a pile on my office floor until the next day off and then I file them.

This week I did a meet and greet on my instagram page to reintroduce myself to new followers. #summerpd 
I was so grateful learn that many 5th grader teachers following me on my instagram (ramonarecommends)
because I truly feel that picture books are essential in upper grade classrooms. 

This year I plan to read even more picture books because:
1. They invite students into a positive learning environment
2. They teach hard to explain skills #directobject
3. They show students how to bring words alive on a page
4. They are awesome
5. Kids love being read to
6. Miss H loves them 

Below are my TOP BOOKSHELF favorites. They teach a variety of lessons. I will be honest I use picture books mostly in
Character Edition, Language Arts and Reading 

Now even though I have selected these books for 5th grade ANY upper grade teacher could you them. #promise 

The Incredible Book Eating Boy is one of my new favorites because of the message each page shares. This book cheers students who love to dive into books and encourage reluctant readers. I plan to read this book on the first day to promote #picturebookaday

What is the number one concept we learned in student teaching? RELATE to your students. Well heck if these two books do not relate well then I don't know what will. Selfies are all the rage and students speak in .com 
Sometimes my picture books have no real lesson but more of a fun treat. #thereisalwayslessonineverybook

When I first saw Lifetime I didn't love it, but then I opened it and started reading. Oh my! 5th grade teachers it is a GOOD one. It gives fun facts about different animals. Did you know a seahorse has 1,000 babies. Yes you read that correctly: ONE THOUSAND BABIES. 

Oh! Ya'll I CAN NOT wait to teach all about voting and election for this coming November. I am a very proud American and I find the whole election process intriguing. I plan to do a whole unit on presidents and the voting process. #willneedtofindtime
Stay tuned for a election picture book ideas. Coming to an instagram post near your iphone.
Amelia Bedila's First Vote explains the voting process in student friendly words. Enough said, right.

Here are some fun titles other fellow 5th grade teacher said I should share with you:
Both books are by Patricia Polacco so you know the kids will be learning tons! 

What are your go to picture books?

*I love all of these books and if you decide to purchase them through the links above I received a little something in return. Thank you!
Hi Reading Friends,

I am super excited to be back with you! Last school year, was AMAZING but was a whirlwind of combo crazy! For the next few weeks, I will be sharing what books I plan to use as part of my #picturebookaday

I am not sure if every upper grade is on my boat for picture books in the classroom, but I share hope one day you will join the party. Picture books are such a great resource to engage students and to teach life lessons. The first few weeks of school I like digging into my character education stack to teach and revisit important behaviors of a responsible 5th grader. The following books teach a different lesson that is vital for students to learn how to build relationships with their teacher and peers.

How I invision #picturebookaday working in my classroom....
 Honestly, it really depends on the day. If you have followed me in the past you know I always try to find different ways to bring in picture books during my content lessons.

One of my favorite rules Mr. Ron Clark shared during my time at RCA was the 3 second rule. If he gave a student something (anything) and the child did not say THANK YOU within 3 seconds he would retrieve the something back no questions asked. I think it is so important for students or humans for that matter to always show appreciation for whatever they receive. This book Please, Mr. Panda shares the power of the word PLEASE in the world of #iwantwhatiwant.

 The Secret Olivia Told Me shares a life lesson about secret telling. I intertwine this story into my rule lessons over the first couple days of school. We talk about the pros and cons of secret telling. Even in 5th grade, the kids need a good reminder of the power of secret. We know how kids can sometimes take a secret which turns into a lie...then a rumor. annnd then well sriracha sauce craziness!

Can I tell you? This book is one of my absolute FAVORITES.  Nerdy Birdy is my GO TO for the beginning of the year. This gem teaches students the power of acceptance and how to be a birdy in your own flock. I plan to read this story and then have each student write down an acceptance goal for the year. This goal can be a self or school goal.
I love the word kindness like A LOT. Teaching students the importance of kindness is key the first week of school. Holding the title of new kid more than once growing up, I understand what it feels like to move into new situations and dreading the awkward feeling of being the new kid. The Potato Chip Champ helps students discovery why kindness counts and why its important to always be kind. Here is how I teach kindness in my classroom. (contest over)

What books do you use to teach character education? I am always looking for great books! #youcanneverhaveenoughbooks
Amazon Affiliate links where used in this post.

I love books. Ah, like you didn't already know that! Last summer, I had the honor of connecting with Maria Dismondy, author and kindness counts advisor. Anytime I can spread news about new books that make a difference, count me in! 

This book speaks to the generation who has lost DETERMINATION. Technology has killed determination in our kids. Yep, I said it! Now, don't get me wrong, there are still so many kids who try their hardest and do not give up. BUT! There are so many that give up the moment something is challenging.

THE LITTLE LINEBACKER written by Stephen Tulloch and Maria Dismondy shares a story of determination like no other. I literally was cheering on Stephen, the main character through the ups and downs presented in this teachable moment tale. 

In the back of the book, Stephen Tulloch leaves kids thoughts to think about. My favorite is hard work pays off. I plan to have my students write a letter to their future self explaining what does, "Hard Work Pays Off" mean. In their future, will they need to work hard to become teachers, actors, athletes, bakers, bankers, fisherman? Let them come to their own conclusion about this loaded question!   Another activity- Have students take different pictures of what hard work looks like to them. Anything worth having is hard work.

I highly recommend The Little Linebacker! I am determined to keep DETERMINATION in our kids!

Hi everyone! I’m Amanda from the blog  My Shoestring Life. You may also know me from Twitter and Instagram as MsAPlusTeacher. I’m so excited to be guest blogging today! Courtney is awesome and I’m so glad we get to collaborate on #WeCantPutBooksDown. Thanks so much for this opportunity Courtney!

Courtney asked me to write about some of my favorite poetry books… I was so excited! But then it hit me… How was going to need to narrow down my poetry collection to some of my most favorite poetry books?!  This was a fun but daunting task!  So, I hope you find some new books to load into your Amazon cart or check out from the library. Here are my five favorite types of poetry to inspire middle grade readers and writers!

Drum roll please…

If you’re teaching haiku poems then books the next three books are where it’s at!. Haikus are wonderful because they are short and precise and you have to really choose the best words. They’re great because I can trick my fifth grader haters into “writing poems” because they just have to make three short lines! My favorite haiku models are Hi, Koo, Dogku, and Guyku!

My next favorite types of poetry books to include in the classroom are concrete poetry books! My students just can’t get enough of poetry books that take on shapes. They just can’t get enough concrete poems. I’ve had to order multiple copies of each of my concrete poetry books just because they are so popular with my students. Some of our favorites are Technically, It’s Not My Fault and A Poke in the I. Technically, It’s Not My Fault includes poems about Murray the Fart, skateboarding, shooting hoops and the woes of having a cast!

The next books are my lists are some of my favorites to share with my students! After reading William Carlos Williams’ poem “This is Just to Say,” I have my students write apology poems. The poems they create are always half-hearted and hilarious! To my surprise, there are two amazing books that serve as excellent middle grade mentor texts. This is Just to Say and Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It: False Apology Poems were just the books I was looking for! Poems range from hamsters expressing sorrow for biting to a dodge ball game gone too far. But perhaps my favorite is from a little brother that just so “happens” to destroy his sister’s Barbie by rubbing off her face with sandpaper. But he’s really sorry. You will be laughing along with your students as you read both of these books!

I love color poems. They can be super simple are very complex. A personal favorite, Red Sings from the Treetops.  This is a picture book of color poems about the seasons. The author crafts such beautiful phrases plus the pictures in the book will turn any poetry hater, into a poetry lover. My students love seeing the world through each color’s lens. The book is also great for teaching mood. You feel the icy cold of winter and the happiness of spring!  Another great color poem read is Hailstones and Halibut Bones: Adventures in Poetry and Color.

But perhaps my favorite form of poetry to share with my students is double voice. These poems are great for teaching voice and point of year throughout the year and not just during a poetry unit. These short poems are also great for practicing fluency and those speaking and listening skills! A recent favorite is Seeds, Bees, Butterflies and More! : Poems for Two Voices. These nature inspired poems would be great for cross curricular connections in science.

Hope you saw a few favorites and few new to you reads!  It’s been a pleasure guest blogging and sharing some poetry love with all of Ramona Recommends’ readers!

Please leave some of your favorite poetry books in the comments below! 

Come check out who is guest blogging over at Jen's blog.
Sparkling in Second

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