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I love a good T-shirt! What is even better is a T-shirt to remember your class! I have an awesome class this year and I can't wait to rock our Room 20 Tshirt ASAP!

Have you heard of A+ Images? They make the best shirts! A few years ago they made my pink blog shirt (old logo) and then last year I designed this shirt for them for my Disneyland meet up with Michelle from Apples and Abcs.

Did you know that A+ also makes clasroom designed Tshirts? All you have to do is have your students draw their faces and write their name on a special template from A+ images and then you will have an amazing keepsake to remember your class. Here are some examples.

Luckily you! I am giving away a class set (up to 24 students). More shirts can be ordered at regular tshirt price if needed). How do you enter? Click here to my instagram for details!

That's not all: Ramona Recommends Readers: You can SAVE $1 per shirt and receive a FREE TEACHER SHIRT with your minimum order of 15 paid shirts. All other instructions apply, including minimums listed here. Orders must be postmarked by April 15th, 2017. New orders only (no price adjustments on previous orders). Use promo code RR17 on your order form. As an added bonus, you will receive a coupon code for 20% off orders at A+ Images when your classroom faces order ships!



If there is one pillar of character that I had to say was most important, I would hands down go with KINDNESS. I tell my students  our number one rule is: BE KIND. It is the only way we do it. No {ifs, ands, or buts} Honestly, I pride myself in the kindness community I have created in my classroom because of authors like Maria Dismondy. The amazing author, Maria Dismondy, has written many picture books to teach students how to be the BEST them. By being the BEST them they are kind, thoughtful, trustworthy, special, and thankful.

Maria's latest book The Jelly Donut Difference {I digress- can we give her a high five for always having food titles.. HIGH FIVE.}, is a sweet story of two siblings who spread kindness to their elderly neighbor. The kindness gestures they do bring years of smiles back to Ms. Marvis' heart. As I read the story aloud, I kept smiling because this book teaches students that SIMPLE acts of kindness are valuable no matter the size.

Random  acts of kindness never stop traveling. - Ramona Recommends 

I highly recommend this book to on your classroom bookshelf to teach and encourage kindness all around your school and classroom. Here is a great Reader's Workshop Guide written by Emily Yost author behind Third in Hollywood. It's for you!!

Hopefully you use picture books to spread kindness around in your classroom! I can must say this book should be on your list!!!  #justsayin'(Amazon affiliate link used)
Sometimes you need a quick printable. Yes, I said it. Sometimes even the best teachers use worksheets. Using a worksheet is OK. Students still need to write! #promise When I need a worksheet, I love browsing Scholastic Printables. They are easy to use, great for review, or  providing students with a summative/formation assessment. Scholastic Printables are not fluffy and really review and provide rich content.  

Scholastic Printables give you instant, unlimited access to thousands of skills sheets, activities, lesson plans and more. These classroom resources are created by teachers and vetted by your trusted friends at Scholastic. Save time and money, and browse with confidence. To start your free trial, please click here.

Excited to share I am hosting a giveaway with Scholastic Printables to give one of my lucky readers a YEAR FREE SUBSCRIPTION. Details below how to enter!

 Using Grammar Cop is a great morning bell activity. Photocopy a class set, put on student's desks and then they have a quick grammar review before the day begins.
This is one of my favorite printables! It is a reader's theater activity. Such a perfect activity for students to practice their verbal reading skills. Both are free for you to download. Just click on pictures!

Here is how you enter: Leave me a comment telling me what is your favorite picture book to use in your classroom and how do you it? Then please leave me your email. I will pick winner by Friday afternoon! Good Luck!!! One entry per person. ONE winner will be selected.

The Small Print:
FTC Disclosure 
I have partnered with Scholastic to host this giveaway. Prizing and sample subscription were provided by Scholastic.

Cherished family memories are top on my list of picture perfect moments. When I was little, I would sit in front of the TV for hours watching old family movies (yes VHS style) and relive my favorite parts of childhood. There was never enough footage of all of 3 of us girls coming downstairs on Christmas morning to see what Santa has left for us. #everyyearuntiliwasinhighschool 

I want to share with you today a very special children's book that I believe has a beautiful message! 
Quickly The Magic Spatula written by Jeryl Abelmann and Miriam Kronish shares a well written series filled with magic moments of cherished family memories.


Before I continue, I want to let you in on a little secret. The author of this touching series use to be MY fifth grade math teacher. Yes, 21 years ago I was sitting in Mrs. Abelmann's math class with my butterfly covered math book learning how to do long division. I have not talked to Mrs. Abelmann since 1995, until about 2 months ago when we reconnected through my sister who happened to have a business meeting with her son. Yes, I know it just keeps getting better. Long story short, my sister (Beezus) shared with Mrs. A's son that I was now a fifth grade teacher who is the author behind Ramona Recommends. Of course I had to reach out and share my love of books. Guess what! She retired from teaching fifth grade and became a children's book author. #swoon #alwaysdream

 Now back to my regular scheduled post about Quickly!

Quickly the Magic Spatula is a wonderful story about 2 siblings who find Quickly the Magic Spatula one day in their old attic. Quickly isn't just a boring silver spatula he is filled with cherished memories and years of pancake batter splotches. You see, Quickly used to be a regular spatula in the kitchen, but as the years passed Quickly became the symbol of Sunday morning pancakes, happy times with mommy, and filled tummies. 

I highly recommend this book and all the books in the Quickly series because they symbolize what really matters in life-creating memories to bring a smile to your face. Who knew a little spatula would hold an ever lasting imprint of pure joy for Jeff and his sister. 


In Quickly's second book, Quickly's Magical Pancake Adventure, he takes adventures all over the world to learn how to make different pancakes. He traveled from England to Spatula Camp. This is a two for one in my eyes! Partially narrative and partially informational. He was a busy spatula flipping silver dollars to children everywhere. In the back of the book, there are TWENTY FIVE different pancake recipes to try with your students. What a fun lesson that would be! Learn about geography AND pancakes. #yesplease

Quickly has been busy! He just returned from a Safari in Africa to meet some new friends he made at Spatula Camp. In this highly awarded picture book, Quickly teaches all about Africa through the alphabet. He even made a coloring book to go with his latest pancake frenzy. One of my favorite parts in this book, is the authors use the word HUMDINGER! #lovethatword. This would a great mentor text for fifth grades to see how you can turn a picture book into an informational writing piece. 

 Hope you enjoy sharing QUICKLY in your classroom!

*Amazon Affiliate Links Were Used in this Post.

I hope you find this post while you are sipping hot chocolate as you bask in the glory of no school today! As many of you know Scholastic is one of my favorite companies because of their mission to spread the joy of reading. A few months ago, I was contacted by Scholastic to share how I use their Storyworks magazine in my 5th grade classroom. Without hesitation I wrote back, "Yes, please!". My students love this magazine because there are many different genres and topics covered in one magazine. Now I check off,"In partnership with Scholastic" off of my bucket list. :)

If you are not familiar with Scholastic Storyworks, each issue features narrative, information nonfiction, drama, paired texts, fiction, and many other common core genres. All of the articles are engaging texts to support our common goal of deeper level thinking. If you have the subscription, there is also an online component with videos and activities to engage your students. Storyworks is geared towards grades 4-6th. My fifth graders thought it was the perfect mesh of all genres. I had a student tell me, "It's like pizza there is a slice for every person".

Below I would like to share with you a #smartteachingtip on how to get your students to love ANNOTATING text using Storyworks. 

Before starting my READ like a Pirate lesson, I found a great activity on Teachers Pay Teachers by  Sally Buttons where students created their own pirate name. 
Remember it is all about how you set the scene! Get your students EXCITED about learning! 
My Pirate name is: Hook Blonde Boot

In 5th grade, many students have not mastered digging deep to gain knowledge as they read their Science or Social Studies textbooks. I have taught my students how to annotate fiction stories during RTI (reading instruction), which they have have become experts, but when I  told them to annotate their Social Studies books many blank stares filled my classroom. This got me thinking! 
I want them here, but before I can do this......

I had to create a mini unit on annotating Non Fiction text using a non-fiction based source. What perfect timing for Scholastic Storyworks articles. 

 Find the fun in reading non fiction text is important! I pride myself on the ability to make "boring" lessons FUN! My students and I embarked one afternoon on a pirate journey to find treasure! 

There are three parts to reading BEFORE, DURING, and AFTER! Today, I will be focusing on the during. In Room 20, we learned how to golden annotate using our pirate treasures (thinking marks). Before we dove in, we discussed what annotate and mega-cognition meant by inferring through pictures. 

My students had already been introduced to my Talking with The Text thinking marks, but I reworked them to give them a little PIRATE flair. 

Want a FREE copy of my Talk Like a Pirate Annotating pamphlet? Click here!

 We read The Search for Pirate Gold from StoryWorks Scholastic Magazine and annotated our thoughts through the entire article. The kids were pirates looking for treasure aka Talking with the Text thinking marks. 

When the students were finished annotating their text, they were able to read other articles and discuss with different partners about their favorite part or about something they learned. Storyworks brings a wide variety of engaging reading topics to reach all different interests. My favorite article from this edition was....

Some Pirate Treasures from my Readers:
Printables – 30 Day Free Trial

Lessons and activities on other websites can be unreliable and inaccurate. Only Scholastic Printables has a team of education experts to ensure you're getting the highest-quality, most up-to-date resources available for grades PreK-6! Start your free 30 days now!
Scholastic #SmartTeachingTips Contest! 
We love #SmartTeachingTips. Share yours for how you use Scholastic magazines creatively in your classroom. Tell us about it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram, and include a photo or video. Be sure to use #SmartTeachingTips.

Three winners will be chosen based on outstanding creativity. Each winner will receive a $200 gift card to the Scholastic Teacher store. We’re excited to see your ideas! Follow Scholastic Teachers on social media to learn more.

How do you engage your readers to find reading treasures?

I love teaching fifth grade, but the thought of teaching fifth grade during an election year is THE BEST. It is important to teach students about the process of  how our nation elects a leader. I work in a school district where many students are new to our country. Even when students are from here I am 99.9999% sure if you asked an average fifth grade what the Electoral College is, they would say I am not sure where that college is located. I find the election process quite interesting and I think it is vital that students have some knowledge of the process and how are leader is elected. Below I am going to share my favorite picture books to teach your students about the presidential election. No matter what your beliefs are, I think it a MUST to spend a few days or weeks studying this democratic process. I always tell my students it's not about the product it's about the process. I bring it back to their thinking. It is important to know the WHY and the HOW! It makes you a more intelligent person. 

 The books above give students a glimpse of the process, the office, and the branches in our democracy. How you use these books is up to you! You can display in your classroom and let the students research topics that interest them or you can do different lessons with each of the books. Ramona Recommends (I) held housed a voting poll for 5 minutes in her (my) office this weekend to select her (my) four favorites to share how she (I) use them in my classroom. Yep, I was the only voter. :)

 Before I open my bag of election books, I show my students BrainPop's How to be President Video. If you do not have BrainPop at your school, I highly suggest it. The videos are created at an elementary content level to engage all student learners. In the search feature, type in Presidential Election for this video. 


Before I start reading, I ask my students how many votes for the presidential race does our state (California) receive? This gives me an idea if any of the students have been learning about the race at home or have prior knowledge from previous grades. Most kids have no clue.  I share that our state (California) has 55 votes. Want a list of the each states electoral college numbers, Stephanie from Falling Into First has a great handout. Then we talk about how in order to win a candidate must have 270 votes. By know, the kids are raising their hands with a million questions. What do I do? Of course, I reach into my picture book bag and "presidentially" pull out Grace for President. Before that I read up on the electoral college because lets be real it is sometimes confusing. Want to read about it, click here?

After reading Grace for President, I have the students write in their own words what the electoral college is and how it affects the people.

How do we Vote? Amelia Bedelia shares how!

I found this book while I was sitting in Barnes and Noble one afternoon just browsing books. So You Want to Be President? is a Caldecott Medal winner. The story begins with the author sharing the good and bad of being POTUS (President of the United States) One of my favorite parts of the story is when they discuss about living in The White House. Now that George H. W. Bush is the President he never has to eat broccoli again! It discusses the jobs of the President and how they must take an oath to protect our country.

After reading this story, I have my students research more about the role of the President. We make a thinking map (Tree Map) to help categorize our ideas. We also use this handout about the roles of the president to guide our instruction. They take the information they have learned create a final masterpiece from the following choices: Create a song about the roles of the president, Create a powerpoint that is engaging to teach younger students, or create a game show about the roles president.


I love knowing random facts about the presidents and
Hanoch Piven author of My Dog is as Smelly as Dirty Socks, creates an artistic representation biography of each president.  What Presidents are made of is an ALL TIME favorite of mine! I have not done the following art project, but I think this would be fun. Have each student pick a president and have them create their own president selfie using materials from their desk, classroom, or home. Include an informational 1 page paper to go with.
Click on the picture to get a FREE copy of this list. Send home for parents or share with teachers at your school. :)

If all you have time for is reading these books and then moving back into scheduled content that is STILL AMAZING. Picture Books TEACH!

Ready to Buy Now: Here is a handy dandy list of all the books with links included.

The Process
Grace For President
Amelia Bedelia’sFor
Today on Election Day!
I Dissent 

 All of the books linked in this post are affiliate links. Thank you for helping support my love for picture books. :)
Since I am going to be teaching all about the Election in my own classroom, I went searching on TpT to find resources. There were a lot that grabbed my interest. I tried thinking of my students and they way they learn. Below are some of the ones I am thinking of purchasing. 

The Election Process

Running a Classroom Election

Reading Comprehension ELECTION DAY!

Letter to Parents About Election Classroom Instruction (freebie)

All About The White House

Election Vocabulary Posters

Comparing and Contrasting Candidates

Click here for a free copy! I also have provided a copy that reads "All Students" and does not say STORM bucks.

How do you teach about such an important event in our history? Do you use picture books? Share below!

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