Hi Friends,

 I am so super excited! Today, I am hosting The Brown Bag Teacher's Reading in the Wild Book Series. Are you a wild reader? I am a wild reader! In fact, I love reading so much that I own over 1,500 of my own children's books. Hopefully this summer, I will be able to get it all organized! Then, I will do a blog post! Click on the picture to download this adorable poster.

Ok! Let's get to the good stuff. I could not put this book down. The knowledge that I learned from Reading in the Wild has made me want to be back in the classroom RIGHT THIS SECOND!


Today I will share my thoughts about "Opening the Magic" for your students. How do we as teachers know what books will jump off the shelves? Whenever I am at Barnes and Noble (which is a lot), I am always looking for that one book that will be the big hitter of the year. Miller shares the importance of giving reading surveys at the beginning, middle, and end of the year. As we know, student's change and so do their interests.
One survey that I give at the beginning of the is the Garfield Reading Inventory. I love this survey because the children rate their love of different types of reading with Garfield Expressions. Some of the questions are: How do you feel about starting a new book? How do you feel about reading on summer vacation? How do you feel about reading a textbook? I tell my students or tutoring students to be completely honest; it won't hurt my feelings if they have 30 screaming Garfields. The pdf comes in full black and white sheets. Since I love to have colorful everything, I printed each sheet on a different color and then cut them out. I then got a binder ring and hole punched them together.

Another survey that I love is Young Teacher Love's Reading Survey. I agree that  we must get to know students as readers which will help us prepare them to become WILD READERS! Click on the picture to grab yourself this little reading gem! I will definitely be using it next year!


Book Recommendations!
I love when students share about their love for READING! Let's think about it. When we hear a prodcut is really awesome or the new rage, do we Google the product to find out more? YES! I know kids are the same way. Having students recommend books is an easy way to spread book love, but also build a community of readers. Since I am a little OCD about papers going everywhere, I created a book recommendation binder for student use! It is as easy as 1-2-3. Donnalynn Miller explains the importance of keeping a record of reading materials to help identify reading preferences. 

book reviews, bubble gum, back to school, 40 book requirement
Book recommendations can also be used as a summative tool. Did the students understand the book well enough to give a thorough summary of the book? I love how two different students interpreted, "Rate this book by bubble gum". :)

After a student has read a book, they can fill out a Bubbilious Book Review. Then he or she will place inside the binder under the correct genre. Students who are looking for new books to read can browse the genre sections that appeal to their mood.  After reading READING IN THE WILD, I am going to change the way I have been doing my book review binders. Miller invites her students to read forty books across various genres during the school year and graph their progress. I love this idea. I have a feeling my book recommendations binder will help with the comments of "But, I don't like any other genres!". I am still in the works of connecting the graph to my book review requirements. My thought is each student will complete at least ONE review for every genre.  BUT they must read a few books from each genre. They must complete a total of 12 reviews. Again, this is just me thinking out loud. :)
Here is a picture of a completed  "A Foxy Recommendation" Book Binder.

My favorite line from the entire chapter, "The main reason Susie and I expect students to try a little bit of everything is so that they can find what they like to read". I love this statement because I feel it is the statement of life. We try new things in life in order to grow.

What Miss Hinshaw Does:
I learned this from my good friend Sarah, and it works! Every morning, when the students come into class, she has them silently reading for 15 minutes. It sets a calm tone for the classroom day. I started doing this last year when I long term substituted. When the students were done reading, I pulled 3-5 sticks and asked the students what they read about. This perked many interests of the students. I could hear them talking during class and recess asking more information about the books shared that day. 
I think it is important to share with the children that I LOVE TO READ! I have shown them pictures of my book collection. The expressions on their faces are priceless. When they are reading, sometimes I will read along with them. Being a reading role model for my students is important to me. I want my students to leave my classroom LOVING to READ and seeing how important READING is in life. Can't do much without this powerful tool. 
I've talked about how the children recommend books for each other, but I haven't shared what I LOVE TO DO! First off, READ ALOUDS are A MUST!!!! Read Alouds are wonderful book commercials. In fact, I am reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in summer school and I have had many kids go buy the book to reread it because they love the Candy Room Chapter. Read Alouds are important because you lengthen your students' genre belts. I heart READ ALOUDS!!!!
You should see me at book fairs. I am buzzing around the fair pulling books left and right. This year I "sold" about 15 copies of Prisoner B-3087 and 15 copies Snicker of Magic.  The kids LOVE recommendations from their teachers. Other times I will just walk up to kids (not awkwardly, promise) and ask what they are reading. I like to call it Striking Up A Paging Conversation. Based on their answer, I will provide them with 1-2 books that I think they would enjoy. It's a great time. When the students recommend books to me, I write them on my Wishlist.

Before I go....
Do you need any book recommendations? 
Click here for some wonderful FREE picture book and chapter book recommendations created by yours truly! 

P.S. Every Tuesday (sometimes more) I write a blog post about different books that are MUST HAVES in the CLASSROOM! 

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Come link up and share how you engage your students get out of their reading comfort zone!

 Hi Friends,

 Today's post is probably the most REAL post I have ever written. It is going to be raw and emotional. This month for Ramona Recommends' Book Club we read WONDER by R.J. Palacio.

August and I have something in common. We were both bullied in school. We both have felt the pain of words that strip our dignity. I did not have a face deformity, but rather I have dealt with my weight my entire life. It has always been a struggle. I would choose food when I was sad and happy. Food comforts the soul. I hit puberty before any of my other classmates and I didn't play any sports. You can imagine what food and no activity can do to a body. I've heard all of the name-calling names; I've seen the looks; and I've been the kid who doesn't want to go to school because nothing fits. When I went to college, the weight just kept coming because I had no one to tell me to stop. Depression hit and I was miserable. I mean MISERABLE, so MISERABLE that I ate an entire box of cookies because I thought it would make me feel better. Ok I could go on and on about the pain I felt being the FAT kid, but that really does nobody any good. 

It was January 12, 2003 when I decided I wanted to try going to the gym. I wore big black sweat pants, a pink tshirt, a Mossimo jacket, my hair in a ponytail and white walking shoes. I was there about 30 minutes and thought I had climbed Mt. Everest. It was HARD! I went home thinking ok that wasn't terrible; I will go back tomorrow. So, the next day I went back and did another 30 mintues plus 2 more minutes. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a gorgeous trainer who was chatting with another trainer. I like to people watch and sometimes I forget that I am staring at them...he might have caught my eye. #awkwardyes! BUT! He was the reason I started come to the gym everyday for 30-45 for the next month. He would stop by and chat and reassure me to keep coming. Each day the gym became a little easier and I would stay longer. Along with the gym, I knew I had to change my food habits. Eating In-N-Out many times a week was NOT going to work. I changed my food lifestyle 95%. It was HARD too. I even became obsessed with my food. I would not eat certain foods. It was just a learning curve. Trying to balance working out, new foods, and a new me. It became a new lifestyle that I love! I am a new me. January 12, 2003 changed my life. 

The reason I posted the above story is to share what it feels like to be the one bullied. IT STINKS! BULLYING has GOT TO STOP! It has been a long, hard, and rewarding journey. Your size should not matter. No one should be bullied because of their size. We should all LOVE. Be the person who up lifts. We are all here to be loved. Be a good person and look at someone's heart, not their facade. I hope by posting this I can remind people the power of being kind. Kind is just one word, but can reach thousands.

 Please go read WONDER! Be Kind and share this book with your students. We all deserve to be LOVED and RESPECTED. There is no room for hate in our hearts, but KIND gestures. Be the KIND you want to see in the world. 

If you are interested, August inspired me to make this BULLYING Product.  

Hi Friends,

 This is going to be a VERY short post as I am arm deep in my Ramona Recommends Library Organization task. Trying to organize 1500+ books into a smallish space is quite the job. Hopefully, I will have any amazing post for Monday Made It next week. Anywhoooo!

Have you met my friend Jameson from Lessons With Coffee? She is such a doll and has a great personality. Her instagram usually makes me laughing at least once a day. So! This sweet gal knew about my ABC state book collection and sent me T is for Twin Cities- An Minneapolis and St. Paul Alphabet book. The book came in an brown envelope with adorable black and white polka dot duct tape. Inside the envelope was the book and a cute personalized note. #ilovehandwrittennotes

Thank you so much Jameson!!!

Come link up for Travel with Ramona Recommends

Hi Friends,

 I am so excited to share with you all about my 19 sugary days at SWEET TREAT SUMMER SCHOOL. Want to see how I set up my room? Keep in my mind it was my rent-a-classroom so my decor had to be very minimal. I am always eager to teach summer school because it gives me more practice being "the teacher".In my district, we offer an enrichment summer school through our cities foundation where children can take classes about subjects that interest them. Can we discuss how I had one sweetie from Taiwan and another sweetie from Korea. They came over for the summer to take our program. They did AMAZING!  I signed up to teach READ, WRITE, PUBLISH. I have never taught the class before, but my friend Sarah shared what she had done in the past. Really this class was MADE FOR ME. I get to teach about picture books, children's literature, reading, writing, coloring, and candy. SIGN ME UP! Remember thematic units- that is what it felt like. #lookatmecommoncore! I had a wonderful class and they were all eager to write and learn. It was pretty magical.There is MOUNDS to share so grab a brownie and enjoy the show!

Objective: Create a Candy Vacation Picture Book
Each week, I debuted different themes through picture books, even though my over all theme was SWEET TREATS. Want to see all the books I used? Go to my FREE Book List Tab on my homepage- or click here.

Almond Joy Author's Workshop
The first week I did a lot of FUN langauge arts activities to prepare my writers. We worked on figurative language, show not tell, adjectives, descriptive language, the use of pictures in a story and the elements that make a picture book. 
 Do you see my cute candy partner cards? I just love them and so do the kids. Each child had to find their candy pair. For example GUMMY had to find BEARS. Want the set, it is yours...CLICK HERE!
 One of my favorite activities we did was WORD WINKS. In the morning, the students would open their journals under Whopper Word FUN and either answer a journal prompt or complete 3 WORD WINKS. I did an easy, medium, and hard word wink each time.
Ramona Recommends, picture books, candy theme, back to school
 Sweet Treat Books Week 1
 OMG! When I found this idea over at Teaching in Room 6, I got SO excited. I love doing a morning greeting with my class. It sets the tone for an amazing morning and the kids love it. I sure did have some actors in my summer school class.  I changed mine to match my candy theme, but Stephanie does a wonderful job explaining how she uses her morning message. Go check it out! She much braver than me and even did a video!

WORD ART- My friend Sara gave me this idea. I just love it! After we brainstormed million of words to do with food, sweets, and desserts, the students picked their favorite word and created food art. Sorry- I do not have a picture of my anchor chart, because to be honest- it is a HOT MESS!

Show Not Tell. Thanks to Miss Radka and her amazing SHOW not TELL activity my students were able to practice giving much detail through pictures.
 Before the students arrived, I created this chart. Please do not judge the failing marker, my awkward handwriting, or the "Dog Ate My Homework" rip. It was one of those mornings, but I had to teach this lesson that day. In 19 days, there isn't much room for lesson rearragning.
Luckily, Miss Radka has this lesson posted on her website. I did an array of charades to prompt student response. They were super engaged and created their chart inside the Almond Joy Author's Workshop section of their journal.

Figurative Language
Like I say, you can teach anything with a picture book. For this series, I chose one picture book for each figuaritve language element to use as a teaching guide. The books I chose were:
Simile- My Dog is as Smelly as Dirty Socks
Want to learn about a GREAT Back to School Simile Lesson?
Idiom- Why The Banana Split
Alliteration-Princess Pigtoria and the Pea (ALL TIME FAVORITE)
Personification- The Day the Crayons Quit
Onomatopoeia- A Mouthful of Onomatopoeia  

Do you know Hope King from Elementary Shenanigans? Her products are made with so much love and talent. When I found this ICE CREAM unit, I went screaming for ice cream. It was perfect and I was able to modify for upper graders. 

 First, we brainstormed different nouns, adjectives, and verbs that accompanied ice cream. I wrote their responses on the white board. Then I let the kids decide if they were going to do an NOUN only Milkshake or were they going to mix the parts of speech. If they mixed the parts of speech, had to color code.
 The students also created their own dessert. They had to give very detailed directions using show not tell descriptions. This is my example. 

Can I tell you something? When you have a class of 18 kids that love to write it is HEAVEN! I mean H.E.A.V.E.N. We brainstormed, we made graphic organizers,we edited, we rewrote, we colored, we took our time, we wrote the SWEETEST stories ever! I am so proud of my students. Their stories turned out SUGARY SWEET! 
The prompt: A Candy Vacation
We brainstromed all different types of vacations and candy places. They wrote their notes and drafts in the Skittle Story section of their journal. We had vacations like Rocky Road Mountains, Mars Bar Outer Space, Bass Lake with Swedish Fish, Frozen Chocolate Ice Skating Rink, and a Hershey Bar Forest. Take a look at some of their chocolaty work.
For their final draft, I ordered Bare Books. Bare Books are white books where the students can write and color inside to make a picture book. They come with line guides and a plastic cover so it will not get dirty. They are reasonable and the kids had a keepsake to travel home with on the last day of summer school.  

I added a few of my own touches like the dedication page, postcard, scrapbook, and all about me section. 

Below you can see an entire story. This child's writing and voice is off the charts. Go OPEN THE MAGIC and learn about Fisherman Bobbie!

I read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It is one of my all time favorites! Perfect for a Sweet Treats theme! On the last day, we watched the old version of the movie. I loved hearing the students make compare and contrast comments. #theydidntrealizetheywerestilllearning! More about this later!
What is even more exciting! My parents were in Europe when Charlie the Musical was playing. Want to read about that?
I really need a tan! Summer starts today!
 Each week, I hid 3 Golden Tickets around the room. The students who found them received a small prize. It was a hit. Oh! I promise these were on gold paper- camera fail!

On the last day, students shared their stories with other children in the program. Then we watched Charlie and Chocolate Factory. Since treats are always a must during a movie, I bought yummy kennel corn at Costco and made Chocolate Treat Bags. The label says, "Thank you for all your 100 Grand work and the millions of Snickers".
Lastly, I did a raffle and raffled off one Charlie and Chocolate Factory novel and one Charlie and the Glass Elevator novel. Seriously, the BEST! I am ready for next year!!! #butineedasummerbreakfirst

Did you love all of my SWEET Treat Narrative Writing ideas? Well, you are in luck! I made this whole unit into a lovely little package. 

Want to win your own copy of my SWEET TREATS WRITING PROJECT... Answer this question in the comments. If you were going on a sweet treats vacation, where would you go? I will randomly pick 2 winners tomorrow morning!

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