Yes, I get super excited when I learn about new books. It is almost like the feeling when you wake up the morning of your birthday. I still get super excited when it is my birthday. If you know me in real life, you are totally nodding your head right now. :) On Monday, the American Library Association announced the 2013 Newbery Medal winner at its convention in Philadelphia. The winner is Flora and Ulysees. Have you read this book? Since it came out in September, im sure most of you have not. Well, get to your nearest bookstore or amazon shopping cart and cha-ching! It is so cute. It is about a 10 year old who can't imagine her life without comic books. You might also learn about a flying squirrel who is the next Langston Hughes. I suggest this novel for upper elementary. The reason I do not go into to much detail about the plot and such is well because I like readers to create their own "summary". That is what I love about books we can all learn something new. Anywho...sorry for the birdwalk. Do your students love quirky, silly, light-hearted books? If so, this one is for them! This one is  for surezzzz going on my read-aloud list.

Do you have a read-aloud list? As you might know, I LOVE books. There are so many I want to share with my students or kids I tutor. The list goes on for days. Now, I have a pretty incredible memory, but sometimes I cant think of that one book I want to read.  Problem Solved- I have started a Read-Aloud list. Everytime, I hear of a book that would excite kids I add it to my list. I create a new list each year. As we all know children have different strengths and interests so a new list each year is the way to go. Before a book can be added to my list there are a few prerequisites.
1. I have to read it before it can be added to list
2. My students must not know a lot about the book. (I like sharing new books)
3. Grade/age appropriate
3a. Shares common interests- Student can relate to topic.
4. We can create wonderful engaging book conservations

Thank you reading. Please grab my copy of "Read-Aloud List". Click here or on the picture for your free copy. Post on instagram when you have started listing your wishes and tag @ramonarecommends
Clip Art- Melonheadz Font- KG Fonts Border-Borders by Kelly B and Background Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah Designs

What is your favorite read aloud? Share below in comments. I love learning about new chapter books and pictures books.

Come link-up and share what is going on in your classroom or TpT store with...

Mommy and Me Creations
I am so happy that the BRONCOS won that I have decided to share my favorite Civil Rights Movement literature with you today! Besides reading, history is my other favorite subject. This weekend, I drove up to Barnes and Noble and spent about 2 hours in the children's section. For most of the time, I was browsing the history section. I love how many books there are for kids about history. I get this warm and fuzzy feeling when I read books about history because I love to show how our society has progressed and how making changes can spread wealth to the world. Look how far we have come since MLK's I have a Dream Speech. I love how history teaches our children that one person can make a difference. When I was teaching in Tucson, our Gate (called SUN) coordinator created a powerful project where students had to research someone who had made a change. She opened her lesson with one of my favorite songs, "Power of One". Bombshel's lyrics  lyrically remind us of all the people who performed an act of love or stood up for human rights.

Today, I am going to focus on upper elementary. Non-fiction text is sometimes foreign to our students. These 5 books will make your teaching about Martin Luther King Jr., the Civil Rights Movement, and Black History Month a hit. I have chosen to highlight these, but I do have a nice little video I made on instagram that features my favorite Civil Rights Movement picture books and more.

Claudette Colvin-Twice Towards Justice
Are you looking for a book for your classroom that teaches the power of one? This book is what I call, a "Girls Kicking Butt" book.  Claudette was a teenager who would not give up her seat to a white women and received nothing but disrespected from her classmates. She had to rise above it and help teach the importance of standing up for yourself. Words that come to mind when thinking of this book are, bravery, justice, peace, pioneer, model, and hero.

Who was Martin Luther King, Jr? 
This book is a quick read with a lot of factual information about MLK. It is broken into chapters and inside there are black and white drawings to interest the children. I am all about read alouds, I would read this book aloud to my class and we would have discussions about each chapter. I love doing read alouds because it allows all of the students to hear rich vocabulary, teacher thinking, and learning from their peers. While you are teaching about MLK, teach about TEXT FEATURES. This book comes with plenty examples. With that said it is lacking captions. Since there are many pictures, I would have my students create their own captions for the picture. Sometimes I would read the section, show the picture, and then ask for a caption. I used it as a comprehension check. I have also used my packet Hello, My name is Martin to supplement as I read this book. One activity I use is, HOT SEAT. Before or after students have learned about Martin Luther King Jr., they write 4 critical thinking questions they want to learn about Martin. After students write the questions, I double check them for quality work. I have the students take turns being MLK asking their questions and students have to answer in a detailed response. If their answer answers the question correctly, their table receives a point.

What was The Underground Railroad?
This book makes me so happy. A few months ago, the publisher of Who was/is, started a new series about events in history. This particular book talks about what is the underground railroad, who contributed to it, the time period of the railroad, famous people of the underground railroad, and how it helped the country. I love how this whole series breaks down historical events into understandable language for kids. While reading this book, I would work on understanding timelines and importance of timing. Ahead of time, I would go through the book, and find 2-4 vocabulary words from each chapter and create a mini- lesson as I read this book aloud. As I am typing this, I am flipping through the book to make sure I didn't forget anything I wanted to say. I did not realize Harriet Ross Tubman's birthday is unknown because her parents could not read or write. Historians predict she was born in Maryland around 1820. Right here is an excellent time for a "Why learning to read is important!" speech. I am sure your students would love to hear it again.:)

How A Photograph Change the Fight For Integration/Freedom Walkers
Pictures speak a 1000 words, right? Both of these books share the story of the Little Rock Girl and the Montgomery Bus Boycott, two huge participants of the Civil Rights Movement through pictures. I love showing my students photographs from history so they can get a glimpse of what really happened. The Little Rock Girl book discusses the long battle of school integration. I am sure most students do not know what integration means as most schools today are huge melting pots. The Freedom Walkers discussions the effects of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Ask your students do you think Claudette and Rosa had anything to do with this event? Oh the joys of questioning!

Thanks for reading! What is your favorite Civil Rights Movement book to share with your class?

All Clip Art from Melonheadz Illustrations
Head over to Easy Teaching Tool's blog for a chance to win some fantastic winter products for your classroom. You might WILL see one from me. Happy raffle! You have until the 20th (WHICH IS MONDAY!)."
 My sweet friends are insanely talented, holy moly!!!  I want all of yesterday!

Happy Tuesday! Today, I am going to talk a little bit about my Foxy Book Recommendations plus a foxy recommendation. Get excited.

Last October, I presented at both OCRA and CRA reading conferences where I talked about the importance of sharing book recommendations with students. Lets think about this; why do we use pinterest, instagram, facebook, and twitter? We all want to share what we love, but even better, there are people out there who want to hear what we have to say. (hopefully-:) ).

I have created a Foxy Book Recommendation binder to go along with the new craze of the song, "What does the Fox Say...". How that song got popular, I will never know. I have to say-I like it too! Creating a tool for students to use that involves their interest will benefit them. Students thrive on knowing what their friends or the "popular" kids are reading. They all want to be in the know and read the book everyone is talking about. I have found a useful and practical way to share. Not only is it fun, but helps practice summary writing. This is a great activity for students to use after reading their own silent reading book or after a class read aloud.
Here is What You do:
Buy a 1.5 inch binder
I make my own tabs, by using white cardstock, laminating it, and then using laminated scrapbook scrap paper for tabs or, if you love Staples as much as I do, get dividers for 12 sections.
In the front of the binder, put "How to fill Out- A Foxy Book Review" and an example of "how to fill out a review" in a page protector. Then, in another page protector, put the genre finder pages back to back. Your work is almost done. :) I would model how to fill out a recommendation page.

What does the student do?:
Once students have finished a book, they may fill out a recommendation review. To your discretion, they can either turn it into to you to check first, or they can just fill  it out and then put under the corresponding genre tab. I have seen in other classes similar recommendation binders and the kids love it! I just love how it is connected to their world.

As far as how much? I would make each student do 2 a month, but would never put a limit. More the merrier! I suggest not allowing class anthology books because all the kids read those, and it does not support free reading.

Before you introduce the book review binder, I suggest hyping their interest with this fine gem. This book just came out in bookstores a few weeks ago and kids are dying to get their hands on this tale.
If you haven't heard the song, go to you tube right now. I promise it is nothing grammy worthy, but the kids love it! The book is just plain unique. It talks about different sounds animals make and then goes into the famous words of the fox. The images in the book are really different and crazy. I would read this book with all ages. I am picturing using the book to introduce fantasy and realism, different cultures, creative writing, and more! Again, I would read this before introducing the Foxy Recommendation.
I love the New Year. HELLO 2014. Even though it is 10:56 in California. It is still Tuesday. So, I am right on schedule. #not Instead of giving you a million reasons why my post is so late, I will just give you me my post. :)

When I think of the word NEW, many ideas run through my head. New shoes, new year, new beginning, new clothes. Every time we see a new flower it had to begin with a seed. right? Today, Ramona Recommends, recommends a wonderful series of books written by author Camilla de le Bedoyere. Camilla has written over 250 children's literature books. When I was at Barnes N' Noble over the winter break, I ran into a huge table with books for 5.98. As I browsed the table, I noticed there were a few life cycles books on the table. Remember the word NEW! A life cycle definitely has an element of new to it, don't you think? I just knew I NEEDED to have those books.That morning, I had just started working on my New Year's Choice Board product for TpT, which includes a life cycle page.

Each book has a table of contents, pictures with captions, bold words, wonderful explanations in text and in the glossary. The author does a wonderful job explaining the life cycle of each flower and/or animal. I just checked on Amazon and she has many wonderful non-fiction books. Hint Hint- I see a non-fiction post coming soon to a blog near you! Enjoy! HERE to see where you can find my New Year's Printable Activities. Inside you will find a printable for students to create a diagram of a life cycle that is important to them. 

There is something about the new year that always makes me smile. It is a fresh start to all the wonderful possibilities for ones future. I don't know about you, but that sounds pretty incredible. A few weeks ago, I posted on my instagram account a new apple scarf that I had purchased at Nordstrom. I had many people asking where I got it! So, I decided to pick one up and as a thank you to my followers do a new year giveaway. Enjoy! It is a quick giveaway so make sure to enter on rafflecopter ASAP. You have until Sunday night at 8pm (pst). I will announce winner Sunday or Monday. :) Good Luck!

It is an infinite scarf by Echo sold at Nordstrom. They are completely sold out in the company. I snagged one of the last ones! GET EXCITED! 

Hello! Happy New Year from Ramona Recommends! Hope you had a wonderful time ringing in the new year!

Time for January's Currently! Go Link up with Farley @ Oh' Boy Fourth Grade
Listening: My new favorite song is Incredible by Celine Dion and Ne-Yo's. I have it blasting as I am typing and of course singing along!

Loving: I might or might not have 5 calendars hung around my office and room that are just for show. I have gotten the same 5 calendars for the last 15 years. For Christmas, Santa always brings me 1 Mary Engelbreit Wall Calendar, Mini Calendar, and Desktop Day to Day Calendar, a piggy calendar, and recently he has added the Fancy Nancy Calendar. They hang beautifully in their spot and each new month I gently take them off of their nail turn the page and hang again. I love the calendars because they usually have inspiring quotes that I read often. They are great for a quick glance of the date. DON'T WORRY, I do have my Erin Condren planner too, which is my real calendar where I will only write in pencil.

Thinking: I have been doing a lot of thinking lately. I have decided that I need to live in the NOW and not wishing for the past or wishing for the future. God has a plan for me and he will show me his way. I want to enjoy every minute of my life and not wish it away. So! My goals for 2014- ENJOY THE NOW! REALLY be thankful for everything. Accept myself for who I am. Be me! Grow with every experience. Trust.

Wanting: Just want a yummy treat. End of story.

Needing: Ruby II hasn't had a bath since she came home from the dealership on December 16th. It's time! Plus, I need gas. Looks like I will be making a stop at the carwash/gas station tomorrow!

Memory: This Christmas, I want to remember having our family photos taken. We haven't had great family pictures since 1996, I was 12. I love the way the pictures turned out they sparkle with love and laughter. Our photographer, Brynn Alyson Photography did an outstanding job. Here are a few to share with you.
all family photographs credit of Brynn Alyson Photography. Click on pictures to go to her website.
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