Happy New Year's Eve. Are you teaching prepositions this year? I have the book and lesson for you! Rick Walton has created a series of books to help with your language adventures. The one I will be debuting you is Around the House the Fox Chased the Mouse. In this story, you will find a lesson about prepositions. Students will learn about how the fox chased the mouse. Maybe he went AROUND the house, THROUGH the fence, or OVER the log. In the back of the book, Rick provides a mini preposition lesson. When I read this book to my students, I use a really out of breathe voice. The kids think its hilarious. I am trying to become one with the characters. #lovetobesilly!
I have also created a preposition product on TpT to help students practice using prepositions. Here is a little look inside the product. Click on any of the pictures to go to this product on TpT.


 Happy New Year's Eve.

Happy Tuesday! Can't believe CHRISTMAS is TOMORROW!

Let's get down to business. Shall we? I love children's responses to thick questions. Their answers are so innocent and the truth to a tee. There is no sugar coating just the facts. Which brings me to my next point. Today, I will be recommending a book that allows for great discussion about one of the most powerful free gifts. The gift of being able to read.
This book is simple. Not a lot of bells and whistles. It provides true hard facts about why being able to read feels good. One can read street signs, labels, learn about new places, or find animals at the zoo. Even though it has a primary feel, much rich discussion can come from older readers. Reading is such an important life skill. Can’t really do life without the gift of being able to read. I love to read this book when coming back to school after a long break. I use this with 4th and 5th graders.  It helps the kids refocus on why they are in school. TO LEARN.  Even though the pictures are more primary elementary, students can use the pictures as a base. 

I have included a freebie for your students to write why reading makes them feel good. When I was getting my reading masters, I had my clinic student do this activity. Her response: Reading is the key to the world. Without reading we are powerless. She is in fifth grade. #criticalthinker! Click on the pictures to go straight to the freebie. Leaving positive comments makes me happy! :)


Have a wonderful Merry Christmas!!!!
Hello! Welcome back to regular programing. Just in case you joined Ramona Recommends during the first 12 days of December, let me recap. During that time, I recommended a book each day to add to your holiday wish list. :) Now, we are back to regular programming. Every Tuesday, I will recommend a wonderful picture book or chapter book that I find magical. Sometimes, I will even add a lesson or activity to go with the book. I am super glad you are here! Thank you and WELCOME!

Can't believe break is almost here! I know we are all counting down to the days of yoga pants, cookie binges, morning workouts, relaxation, family time, and just plain fun! Today's recommendation will be rather short as my to-do list is longer than Rapunzel's hair. I love being busy, but tired and busy just don't settle well with me.

With Common Core quickly becoming the mainstream in almost all classrooms in the US, I want to recommend a book that celebrates the importance of asking questions. As learners, questions make us grow and learn beyond what we thought was possible.
Read the true story of Albert Einstein and his curiosity that has him questioning everything! :) I love the way it is written. The voice has a poetic touch which shines brightly on Albert Einstein's quest to learn about gravity and motion. It proves you just have to have a spark of curiosity to change the world. This book can be used for many different lessons.

QUESTION: How do you teaching questioning in your classroom.
On the last day of Ramona Recommends, she shares a story.  When I started the 12 Days of Ramona Recommends, I thought to myself ok 12 days is a long time. I must prepare ahead of time and be ready! Folks! 12 days goes by so QUICKLY. Life flies by! Capture each moment of your life with a mental picture. Each moment of your life, is a precious piece which creates a masterpiece. Enjoy! Be gracious. I am so thankful for all of my readers. Thank you for taking time out of your masterpiece to create a piece of mine.

Today's last post is going to be a special one. It might not be special for you, but I'm sure it will tug on your heart strings; however, it will be special for one person. This one person does not know I am doing this. As he or she is reading, they will find out just like you. I would like to tell you a little bit about this person and why the book I choose today reminds me of her. I met this person 29 years ago on April 25, 1984 at 7:01pm. She took me in her arms and we have been each others best friend ever since. Loving, beautiful, heartfelt, educated, and wonderful would describe the lady who always looks at her food before it goes into her mouth. This lady has supported me through the sunshines and clouds. As a kid she would sit for hours with me at the homework table of Deer Trail Lane in order for me to feel confident. She has watched me accept my college diploma, be hooded, and hear me be called Miss Hinshaw. This lady is my mom. She isn't just a mom, but a woman of sincere character. There isn't another mom like her. #sorrynotsorry She is my rock. She is my "always sure spot".
Today, I recommend

Give this present to your special someone and let them know, 
"I'll love you forever
I'll like you for always,
As long as I am living
my mom you'll be."

I love you, mom! Thank you for opening the magic, and sharing the magic with me! I am so glad you are apart of my masterpiece.

What picture book reminds you of your masterpiece?

When is the last time you sat down and thought about other people? We live in such a fast paced "ME" society. I think a lot of us forget to look around and see the world. I have also jumped on the RAK train. I am pretty much obsessed with the whole vision. Since most of you reading this, do not know me, let me let you in on a little secret. Since 1984, I have loved to make people happy!   Yes, I just told you my age. :) My whole life, I have always had the, "how can I make others feel great?" personality. It's who I am. I love it! When I heard about the Random Act of Kindness vision, it made me smile. What made me smile even more is the thought of bringing it into our schools. Teaching this generation about giving and not receiving is a must. We have too many kids with Iphones, Ipads, and every toy possible. Don't get me wrong, I think it is great that we are embracing the 21st century technology trend. BUT! I think people of today need to be little less "self" and more "just do it because". #meincludedsomedays:)

On the 11th day of Ramona Recommends, she brings you Kindness.

Oh! This book screams RAK from 10000 feet away. This book shares the secret behind giving. What does it feel like to give something with nothing in return? This book has simple words but sends a deep message. Read this book with your students. Create a safe place for the students to listen and be taught through poetry the magic of giving. Jump on the RAK vision, and "RAK" your classroom. For your convenience, I have uploaded a RAK classroom bundle to go with The Giving Tree. Click here to enjoy! 

Ramona Recommends RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS Photos
My 18th month old nephew, Jayden, brings me so much joy. Today, without even knowing he sent me a R.A.K. When he smiles or breathes, it makes my heart so happy. Take a look at his Random Act of Kindness:

Don't forget to sign up for the giveaway!!!

May you always find peace in giving towards others.

I can't believe the 12 days of Ramona Recommends is almost over. Hopefully, I have given you some great finds for you to add to your book world or reread and find the magic again. Ramona Recommends Really Rocks! :) Did I tell you... I LOVE LOVE LOVE pigs!?

On the 10th day of Ramona Recommends, she brings you a Bountiful Book Brag....
Who loves alliteration? This book is perfect for teaching alliteration. When I teach alliteration, this cookie is always by my side. Princess Pigtoria and the Pea is the perfect picture book to "show" not "tell" the ins and outs of alliteration. After reading this book, have students create an alliteration menu. Check out my Christmas Alliteration packet below. I promise it will be a hit. You can also go to my TpT store to check it out.

Want to win a $25 gift card to Barnes and Noble. Enter my giveaway. Click here.

How many more days until break? 10 days!!! Why not celebrate with a read aloud! The word TRADITIONS screams loudly to me during this magical season. I find it so fascinating to learn about all the different holidays the students celebrate. Pretty neat. I love working in a school with so many different cultures and how the children respect each other.

On the 9th day of Ramona Recommends she celebrates TRADITION.
I love this story! When I first graduated college, I taught 4th grade in Tucson, Arizona. Most of my students were Hispanic and ate tamales during the holidays. Until working at that school, my background on other holiday traditions was pretty limited. #justbeinghonest The students opened my vocabulary to new words like hojos wreaths, tamales, and masa. Too Many Tamales shares the wonderful tradition of making and eating tamales during the holidays. Many Hispanic cultures share in this tradition on Christmas Eve or day. Each Christmas season, one of my very good friends makes hundreds of tamales with her two girlfriends. It has been their tradition for years. Besides learning about new traditions, this story is wonderful for teaching what to do when you have a problem or secret. I will be posting a quick activity to use when reading this story. Hopefully by tonight or tomorrow. It will be in my TpT store.

I love to read. I love to learn and try out new techniques. Yes, I include blog reading as a type of reading. I would call it informational text. :) Today's recommends is dedicated to all the teachers out there who want to learn more about literacy instruction. Through my masters and blog reading, I have learned about a few new finds that I can't wait to dive into over winter break. Today, I am cheating a little. I haven't read the ones I am recommending, BUT I have heard rave reviews on each one. Just thought I would pass on the magic. So, GO OPEN THE MAGIC!

On the 8th day of Ramona Recommends she says, "Open the MAGIC!"

You love to read, right? It is a part of who we are as teachers. Want to instill that same passion in your students? Donalyn Miller shares tidbits in her first book, The Book Whisper on how to get students to love to read. In her newest book, Reading in the Wild, she dives deep to help teachers and parents create lifelong readers. She wants to keep that magic flowing forever. I can't wait to read this book! Since earning my masters, I believe there is a book for every student; we just need to find where their magic opens. 
The title in itself makes me want to read this book. I proudly accept that I am a teacher nerd. I love reading about teaching, staying up late at night working on school projects, reading blogs, chatting with friends about best practices, and singing in my classroom to pump kids up. #nerd! I first heard about this book from Babbling Abby when she posted a rave review on her blog. Teaching vocabulary is hard. Don't lie; you agree. Inside Word Nerds is a land of vocab magic. The first chapter is titled, What is the Big Deal about Vocabulary Instruction? I just love that title because it provides much discussion. I think vocabulary instruction is a stepping stone to reading. Learning how to dissect words, build upon words, using context clues, and manipulating multiple meaning words can unlock many comprehension doors. I have always struggled teaching vocabulary #truth. I hope to be inspired when I finish reading this gem! From all my schooling and own teaching experience, I know the DO NOT DOs, but somehow they still show up.

Go link up with Positively Learning and share your winter booklist!
Nelson Mandela. A man who spoke with a good heart, always. My quip today will be short. Be a good person.

On the 7th day of Ramona Recommends, she brings you
The picture on the cover speaks volumes. There is no need for a title. This picture speaks for itself. Nelson Mandela was a man of peace and held high standards for everyone. Mr. Mandela lead an incredible life. This picture book details Nelson Mandela's life. It captures his journey from a little boy to a victorious leader. Read this book to your class. Introduce them to a man of simple ways who had a heart of gold. 
LESSON ALERT- Read Nelson Mandela and lead your class in a thoughtful rich discussion of human rights. Have students research about his life and then write a biography about Mr. Mandela. I was also thinking students could compare and contrast Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr.
In the words of NM, 
"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."
One of my favorite commercials is Gap's, "Give a Little Bit". I love the message behind the melody. In essence, it never hurts to give a little bit. Giving should not equate to monetary value. Giving could be defined as smiling at the person in front of you at Starbucks or hearing you were missed yesterday because you were sick. This Christmas season, "Give a Little Bit". How are you giving this season?

On the 6th day of Ramona Recommends, she brings a lesson on giving.

Every September, my mom and I attend the Orange County Children's Book Festival. I take this time to learn about new authors and books that are unique. Walking around the tents I came upon Play.Create.Grow where author Benthany Morton-Gannaway smiled at me as I walked by. Her books intrigued me, so I stopped and browsed. I was blown away by her upbeat personality, but most of all her book selection. One book in particular that caught my eye was, A Bag Named Give. Remember when I started this post I talked about giving without hesitation. Bethany and I have the same outlook on life. Giving is such a powerful tool when it comes from the heart. This book shares in the importance of giving from the heart and how it can change the lives of so many. Reading this book with children during the holiday season puts "giving and receiving" into perspective. Discuss with your class or children how giving makes one feel they have received his or her own present. What are you going to GIVE? Leave a comment. 

Good Morning! Thanks for stopping by. It is so fun to think of all the teachers and parents out there who read this blog daily. It brings such joy to my heart. In fact, it brings such joy that I thought I would recommend 3 books today.

On the 5th day of Ramona Recommends she brings 3 TOTALLY AWESOME finds:

As I type in the hyperlink, I am cracking up! No pun intended. This hilarious find is about a chicken who loves to read. Since she loves to read so much, she has decided to write her own book. She plans, pecks, plans, and pecks until her book is finished. One problem! She gets a terrible review. Find out how she revives her chicken status and keeps on plucking! 
We have days where we get disappointed by the ones we love. Sometimes they might do something that we find saddening. Sometimes friends have to move away or go on a long summer vacation. As kids, its hard to understand those life decisions that parents have to make. This glorious story shares an expereince between two besties where they both have to learn about finding the good in every situation. This story is a great life lesson on learning how to deal with hurt feelings. 

State reports here you come! This series is AMAZING! They have one for each state and inside each letter describes something special about the state. I have collected almost all 50 states. Each time I visit or my parents visit a new state, I am sure to pick their state alphabet book right up!! Teachers- many local and school libraries have these books on hand. So great to lead students in their state reports! I chose to share C is for Centennial with you because that is my birth state!

Sometimes trying new things can just be, blah! Sometimes you need to stick to the tried and true. Sometimes having vanilla frozen yogurt is way better than Triple Decker Sprinkle Raspberry Delight. Right?! That brings me to my point...sometimes a Classic book to spread the holiday cheer is a must. It is a "safe place" we all grew up knowing and it reminds us of the first time we heard,"Twas the night before Christmas.."

On the 4th day of Ramona Recommends she brought:
 Q. Who loves Jan Brett? A. Everybody (hopefully) The Night Before Christmas is a classic that every classroom and home should own. It screams CHRISTMAS. The illustrations are magical. This classic poem written by Clement Moore is loved by so many. I love it because it's something I have celebrated my whole life. It is part of me. I know no different. When Christmas comes, I read this book. It's like when I wake up, I always brush my teeth (your welcome). If you are allowed to read this story in your classroom, I urge to do it ASAP. Print a copy of the poem for your students to follow along. Discuss the vocabulary that might be foreign to them. Have students practice for fluency. Ask comprehension questions and have the student go back into to the text to find evidence to support their statement (Common Core, look at me!). Let the magic be opened! I promise it's worth it!

I will warn you now that kleenex might be needed for this edition of Ramona Recommends. Before I start, I want you to think of that one teacher that made you smile because she/he believed in you. What made that teacher so special that after all these years you still remember sitting in his or her class? Was it because they made up feel sad when you didn't understand a math problem or was it because they made you feel empowered and brave, like you could take on the world.

On the third day of Ramona Recommends she brought 
I do not think there are enough adjectives in the thesaurus to give the credit this book deserves. BUT! I am going to try. Patricia Polacco's Thank You, Mr. Falker is a heart warming tale of a dyslexic elementary aged student who is shunned by most of her classmates and some teachers.  She is at a loss and deems herself stupid. The rain keeps pouring until one when day Mr. Falker arrives. He is the type of teacher that doesn't just label students, but digs deep until into their soul to find what makes them tick. Mr. Falker proves to the main character she is more than just a stupid kid, but a bright and talented young lady. This story tugs on many of my hearts because of my journey growing up as a resource kid. Use this book as a reminder to kids that we all have challenges and its how you deal with them that makes you smarter. Teachers! Lets band together and promise to give hope to all of our students, even the ones who push us away. Be the light that will guide them and show them the way. Be the teacher they remember who opened his or her heart. Thank you to Mrs. Gigurere and my mom for being the teachers that never gave up on me. As I look at my masters in reading diploma I smile and silently say, "Thank you!".
 One of my favorite memories growing up was when my mom would read our favorite Christmas stories all snuggled on the couch as we sipped hot chocolate. I hope you will start that tradition with your children. Teachers! You can even do it in your classroom, each morning before the hustle and bustle starts, share one of these stories. #newtraditionsareamust! Maybe even provide hot chocolate for 2 lucky boys and girls (hint hint, there might be a fun activity posted in my store later this week).

On the second day of Ramona Recommends she brings to you another wonderful Christmas book to brighten your bookshelves.
I love history! When I saw this book at the Scholastic Warehouse last summer, I knew I had to purchase her. What is one candy that most people eat during Christmas? You guess it! The Candy Cane (sorry, I have no prizes, maybe next time). This sweet historical fiction masterpiece lyrically writes the tale behind the candy cane. I know in my house it is a tradition to have at least 3 candy canes a day! It is a story that needs to be shared, why don't you pick up a copy and continue telling the legend that started so long ago. 
TEACHERS! Be on the look out for an activity to use with this story (hint-connections).
Hello! Thank you for joining me for the 1st Annual 12 Days of Ramona Recommends

Get excited because for the next 12 days I will be spreading good cheer and sharing with you my favorite Christmas picture books. I will also be sprinkling in some of my all time favorites! Get your pencils ready to start creating your, "I want THAT" for my Christmas list or "My kids would totally dig this" book list. FYI :) I am not responsible for your Dec/Jan credit card statement that reads "Children's books" for 3 statement pages long. Just Sayin!

On the first day of Ramona Recommends Ramona brought to me...
There is something so magical about Christmas time. Doesn't matter the age. At 29, I still get excited when I see my parent's house decorated with red and green. One of my favorite Christmas memories is baking Christmas cookies with my mom. My sisters and I would eat them on Christmas Eve until our bellies felt sick.  I always tell my friends, "My parent's house blows up Christmas." When they take everything down it looks like they just moved in.  Fancy Nancy agrees with me. She thinks Christmas SPENDIFEROUS! This holiday treat is about Fancy Nancy's traditions leading up to the best day in December, the 25th. If know you Fancy, not everything goes as planned, but it always turns out to be Spendiferous! 
GREAT IN THE CLASSROOM FOR: Problem and Solution, Christmas Traditions

I know I recommend a lot of books catered to girls so I wanted to give a shout out to my boy readers! Without further ado...Who doesn't like the traditional Night Before Christmas? It is a classic and I am sure most of you reading this have a copy in your Christmas book stack. Philip Yates does his own rendition with the help of his pirate friends. He follows the same story line, but the pirates come ashore with the help of 8 tiny seashore. Boys of all ages will love with this story! If you teach about sailing what a fun way to celebrate a little cheer.

See you tomorrow!

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