Jen from Sparkling in Second and I are here to recommend MORE  monthly-themed books!

Check back with us each month for our top picks for K-5 classrooms.
April is my favorite month because I get to make a wish this month. :) Happy Birthday Month to me!!!

Check out some of our favorite read alouds...

Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs

A Show Not Tell adorable story about food falling from the sky.
Use for teaching: Narrative Writing, Weather, Cause and Effect, Inference, and Cooking.
Grades: K-5

Shel Silverstein's A Light In the Attic

Shel Silverstein has had my heart since I was in 5th grade. I love his poems because they are silly but GREAT for teaching any ELA standard. Mr. Silverstein has several more poetry books that are knock outs as well. Use his books for POETRY MONTH (APRIL), practicing reading fluently, learning about poetry, great for teaching figurative language, and how to write a little a write poet. Grades: 3-5 

Battle Bunny
 The main character Alex gets Birthday Bunny for a gift and he is NOT happy. He decides to make his own rendition called BATTLE BUNNY. From hopping in the forest to a battle plan being devised this book is NOT the same at the end.
I actually had the pleasure of meeting Jon Scieszka himself last week where he personal signed my Battle Bunny. Want to read about it? He told me the story of this whole book came into play and what fun Jon and Mac had creating this hoppy story!
Use for: Teaching the joys and amazement of EDITING!
Grades 1-5

Miss Rumphius

Miss Rumphius is a glowing tale of a older lady who does good wherever she goes. She brings betterment to our world once lupine at a time.
Use for teaching: sequencing, story elements, character education, Science (nature), depth and complexity icons (change over time), cause and effect. 
Grades: 1-5

Ida B

An in depth read for upper elementary girls that shares the story a little a girl who lives isn't always daisies. This book is great for teaching child how to cope with the ups and downs in life.
Use for teaching: reading comprehension, becoming of age.
Grades: 5 & up

How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World

About a little girl and her journey around the world to find ingredients to make a special apple pie.
Use for teaching: Social Studies, Supply and Demand, Sequence, cause and effect.
Grades: K-3

Ivan The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla
The Only and Ivan
  I know most of you know about The One and Only Ivan, but I had to share with you something new. Katherine Applegate wrote a picture book to go along with her chapter book for younger kids. Ivan the shopping mall glorilla shares his journey living behind a glass wall. This is a touching story about friendship and how to deal with lose.
PB: All grades
Chapter Book: 4-5

Hop on over to Jen's blog to read the rest of our list!

What's your favorite April read aloud?
Do you ever have that feeling of, "I am SO lucky!"? We can all attest to that fact that I LOVE LOVE LOVE fluffy heart LOVE books. The feeling I get when I walk into the children's section at Barnes n Nobel or the Scholastic Warehouse is like Christmas morning for a six year old. There is something magical about a brand new picture book that leaves me dancing.

A few weeks ago I received an email from our Media Tech inquiring if my class and others wanted to go to an assembly given by JON SCIESZKA on behalf of Whale of Tale Children's Book Shoppe. "OH MY GOSH, ARE YOU SERIOUS, HE IS ON MY MOUNT RUSHMORE OF CHILDREN'S AUTHORS, OH MY GOSH"....YES spilled across the replied email. This isn't the first time we have received this kind of cherry on top email either. Check out the time when I met Tom Angelberger. My love of literature has sprinkled into the minds of my students so I knew they wouldn't want to miss a chance.

Just in case you are unfamiliar with Mr. Jon Scieszka he is author to the well known books of:
The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs, Sticky Cheese Man, Cowboy and Octopus, Battle Bunny, Math Curse, Science Verse, and his newest series of Frank Einstein.
These might or might not (lets be real they are ALL) signed to Miss Hinshaw. I can't wait to add them into my OPEN THE MAGIC library. Want to see my home library?

Mr. Scieszka is hilarous! The kids and teachers in the room were cracking up. My favorite story he told was about the picture day sweater. It reminded me of when my sister and I shared clothes. Did you know he was a teacher too! 

 After the presentation, my class and I were lucky enough to have a mini photo shoot with the legend himself. The picture of my class is totally AWESOME. It is yearbook worthy. Unfortunately, I can't share it with you because I want to honor my student's privacy. But BELIEVE ME, it is darling! During recess, while he was signing my gazillion books I purchased we just "hung out" and had a fun and light hearted conversation about Ramona Recommends. Mr. Scieszka if you are reading this, thank you for making today a GREAT memory for my 5th graders and of course RAMONA RECOMMENDS.

 4 lucky students who dressed up as MAD SCIENTISTS received this special pen.

Moments like today make really love the magic of READING. I love how books can make magic for all people. I love thinking about how many children will remember this day when they are my age and say, "Remember in 5th grade when Jon Scieszka came to our school?". I love moments that create memories. 

Check out his books they are AWESOME.

Do you teach INFERENCE in your classroom? It is one of my favorite reading skill to teach, but one of the hardest for kids to really understand. My RTI group is reading Bridge to Terabithia and this week we will start to infer as we read. To introduce inferring, I created a hands-on technology filled morning. Not to mention it was my Spring formal observation. I think my lesson went really well.I thought I would share it with my Ramona Recommends readers.

If you do not know, I love fashion as much as I love books. I plan my outfits for the week out each Sunday. Last Sunday, I was going through my week in my head and it hit me about my observation. OMG, I HAVE to wear my glasses screen tee. It goes hand in hand with the big picture of inferring. Then the night before my observation, I was going through my pants and came across blue pin-striped pants. I had another OMG moment thinking about READING BETWEEN THE LINES. Yes, it was a magical moment and I laughed about my nerdiness! But, I brought my love of fashion to the lesson.

I opened my lesson by asking my students why they thought I was wearing this top and pants today. I did give them a clue that it had to do with a reading skill.
I was very pleased by their answers. They were able to guess about the my shirt, but could not READ BETWEEN THE LINES with my pants. When I told them, one shouted that is clever Miss H.

The whole lesson took about 70 minutes and the kids had a blast! When you mention the word TECHNOLOGY boy do they perk up! 
 I found this amazing background paper on Teachers Pay Teachers to go along with my theme of INFERRING.
 This was the night before getting all my materials into a folder for my principal.
 After my quick clothing intro, I passed out a notes paper for the students to use to take notes. Interested, it is my 5th grade JUNK DRAWER product. Side note- I created a product to house all my random 5th grade worksheets that I create. It is a growing product.
The students and I worked through this worksheet as I prompted them to give me the notes. I would ask questions like, "To Make an Inference, where do you look?" They responded in books, at quotes, pictures....". Then we talked about Schema which was a new word for all my kids. I geeked out I that could teach them about a word I learned in my Reading Masters program! :) We also talked about how it is our brain talking or going through a filing cabinet. I do have the challenge group so we are able to have  a chat around the fire and dig deep conversation. I HEART IT! I made a powerpoint shell for each part of the equation and then wrote on my board for them to copy down. I didn't get a picture darn it!

 Next, we played SPRING RIDDLES by Teaching with a Mountain View. I placed a riddle card on my document camera and then each group had to read the card and come up with an answer. BUT! I made them answer using the riddle so we could hear their thinking. To answer they had to read the clue that helped them figure out the answer, give a personal connection, and then give the answer. It was hard for some groups, but as they practiced they were nailing it.
 My colleague shared with me  Pigeon Impossible, a short Pixar film, that is perfect for inferring.  As they watched the film, they had to look for inferences about characters, setting, and the briefcase. It was interesting to me, that MANY kids did not know what a briefcase was. They keep their notes on whiteboards and then after the movie they created I infer sentences. I infer the movie takes place in Washington DC because I saw the Washington Monument. I went to Washington when I was 7 and saw the beautiful American Symbol. (Yep, that was shared).
 For the final activity of the morning, students created inference charts with Hello Literacy's Picture of the Day pictures. It was the BIGGEST hit. I have never seen so much discussing and thinking EVER! Before they started, I did an example. Yes, this is my first day of Kindergarten. :) Each group of two students logged into their Google accounts to access the pictures. Did you know if you do not want a pdf document to stay in a google account, you have the kids star the pdf. and then after they are finished using the document they unstar it and its gone. :)

On Monday, the students will share the picture they choose and 3 inference equations. Then the audience will create a main idea hashtag. The kids really seemed to enjoy this activity. I hope their enthusiasm transfers when we start to make inferences while reading Bridge to Terabithia.

PS. My FAVORITE book to teach inference is:

PSS. Here are two other fun activities to use when teaching Inferring from Nicole Shelby and One Extra Degree.

Happy March! I love this time of month because that means SPRING is almost here and the cute spring colors emerge. Thank you for stopping by Ramona Recommends.I am LUCKY because I LOVE teaching and learning each day. I am LUCKY that I LOVE to wake up each morning and drive to work. I am LUCKY that I don't mind spending hours and hours on school work. I am LUCKY that I love books!

Two of my favorite MARCH recommendations:

It is cute and quick read! Great for younger kids to practice sequencing. I like reading it to my older kids too because they start to "read it" after the first or second page. Great fluency practice for struggling readers.

I love reading this book to my 5th graders. It has a wonderful message about friendship and envy. It is perfect for "March Madness" when sometimes friendship quarrels start to form. 

Want more MARCH book recommendations? Click here from my post last year! BUT! Come back for the freebies below.

LUCKY YOU! Grab this MARCH freebie from Ramona Recommends. Have your student share why they are lucky with a twist. #teachersarethebest

GUESS WHAT LUCKY YOU AGAIN! Stop by Fifth in the Middle and grab another St.Patrick's Day FREEBIE!

Fifth in the Middle
Jen from Sparkling in Second and I have decided to put our two brains together to recommend some monthly-themed books!

Check back with us each month for our top picks for K-5 classrooms.

Yes, we are a little late to the March party, but we are here to give recommendations anyways!

Check out some of our favorite read alouds...

Jamie O'Rourke & the Big Potato

A fun Irish folktale about the laziest man in all of Ireland who by chance meets a clever leprechaun. Who will outwit who?
Use for teaching: beginning/middle/end, setting/character/plot, folktales, problem/solution, cause/effect
Grades: K-3

Silly McGilly

I'm am sure by now you've seen this little guy floating around blog-land or maybe in a classroom near you! He reminds me a bit of that little Elf we all know and love, but he especially likes to play tricks!
Use for teaching: St. Patrick's Day fun, behavior management  
Grades: K-3 (or whoever will buy into it ;))

The Night Before St. Patrick's Day

An Irish twist of the Christmas classic "The Night Before Christmas"! Two kids stay up late setting a trap for a leprechaun. They catch one, but what's next? Will they find his pot of gold?
Use for teaching: sequencing, story elements, St. Patrick's Day fun 

Black Potatoes
A compelling read for upper elementary and middle schoolers that shares the stories of men, women, and children during the potato famine in Ireland.
Use for teaching: reading comprehension, history
Grades: 5 & up

S is for Shamrock

A fun A-Z tour of Ireland :)
Use for teaching: Irish culture, ABCs
Grades: K-3

Hop on over to Jen's blog to read the rest of our list!

What's your favorite March read aloud?
Do you teach 5th Grade? Here are a few picture books that I use during the study for the American Revolution. 

 FAVORITE Activity during our study of the American Revolution. We created a TAX DAY for all of the students in 5th grade. Each student received 20 tax coupons from their teacher. In order to use most items in the classroom or really live a daily life in the classroom, they had to pay. The kids LOVED it. They even created a revolution during PE. Starting marching and saying No PE. Learning was happening! If you are interested, it is in my TpT Shop.

Happy American Revolution Teaching!

This weekend I went to the California Association for Gifted Learners Conference in Palm Springs. I took away a plethora of great information and over time I will share it with you! *Promise!

 Sharing Moment #1

I might shock you will my next comment. After I heard it, I thought to myself YES! 

100% isn't always the best
We live in a society were perfection is a must. When we get or give 100% what are we teaching our students? Yes, it is an accomplishment to do well in school and strive for greatness. BUT! What if 100% is teaching our students they don't have to reach for something greater. Are we teaching our students that 100% means you don't have to keep trying? I have been raking these thoughts in my head for the last 24 hours. I feel inspired that giving THOUGHTFUL and CONSTRUCTIVE feedback to even my highest students will make them better. Having failure in life is ok. Yes, you heard me correctly, FAILURE IS OK!!!! Lets teach our students that the end all be all is NOT the 100%, but willingness and maturity to grow and learn more! I am not saying don't give 100%, but DO GIVE THOUGHTFUL AND CONSTRUCTIVE feedback to better your students even if they might not see the big picture now. When they have their first job interview fail or their first big project fail they will thank you. Teaching children how to gracefully fail is our job. It is a tough one, but creating perfectionism is worse. 
I learned about this book yesterday. It is a wonderful remind to stay in the now and work to better ourselves now not later.

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