Hi there! The Teacher Crafter here, sharing one of my favorite ways to use picture books in the classroom. This month Ramona Recommends asked if I would focus on ART!

A big part of my teaching style is implementing art into all of our subjects. Each student has a sketchbook that we use regularly for all content areas. I start the year by using an amazing “art elements” definitions foldable from the blog “Art Room 104” to introduce the vocabulary we will apply all year long.

Naturally, we focus on some elements more often than others. So right now seemed like a perfect time to review all of those elements and their applications.
To do this, I used my trusty buddy Eric Carle. I brought out an arsenal of Eric Carle picture books, and had the students analyze the artwork inside.

We created anchor charts in their sketchbooks and on the board that organized our information on Mr. Carle’s use of the various art elements. I had students share out what they had observed, and then we moved onto the next piece…translating Eric Carle’s art style into our own content-specific mini picture books!

Students used a variety of “painted paper” techniques to create a wide variety of colors and textures on cardstock. Some things that were repeatedly pointed out about Eric Carle’s work were the texture of the paint and the variety of shaded used. This drove our color and “texture” choices as we created the painted papers.

Students also noticed that Eric Carle uses very flat shapes, but includes many sizes and layers to create feelings of depth and space. The students had to keep this in mind when designing their picture books. Some of the topics they are working on include photosynthesis, the systems of the human body, the causes of the American Revolution, and the things they learned from their recent Science Fair experiments.

The books are still a work in progress, but I was so impressed with the students’ application of our art element vocabulary when analyzing Eric Carle’s works. I can’t wait to bring in picture books from more illustrators to discuss!

Head over to Sparkling in Second to See What She has in store for you!
Sparkling in Second

I love teaching about the Solar System. It is one of my favorite science units besides the human body. Learning about the universe that provides us light everyday is pretty spectacular. Today, I will be sharing with you my favorite picture books to supplement your Solar System curriculum.

We have our students create a SUN WANTED poster after the research about the characteristics of the Sun.

A few books that I debut during this unit are: (Amazon Affiliate Links Used)

What books do you use for teaching the SOLAR SYSTEM?

If anyone asked me what are my top 5 teaching tools, you can bet PICTURE BOOKS would be at the top of the list. Picture books are not only for primary kids, but great treasures for the upper elementary student to discover.  9 times out 10 I will start my lesson with a picture book to get my students to tap into their prior knowledge or provide stepping stones to heavy concepts. 
To introduce state projects, I first read Scrambled State of America. It is an engaging and hilarious read that will hook the students and start providing them with tid-bits about the 50 states. Need more ideas for picture books that chat about the states click here? I let my students choose the state they research, and I am always surprised at their choices. Some base it on hearing a fun fact; others have visited their state; some just blind pick; and some just like the name of the state.

My favorite time period to teach in Social Studies is the American Revolution. I love teaching my students how we became this amazing country. There is A LOT A LOT of important information about this time period. The students are responsible for so much information that I always have a few picture books or chidren's chapter books around for this rich topic. Two of my favorites are George vs. George and King George What was His Problem? Want some more ideas? I love using George vs. George for a point of view lesson as well. When students work on their American Revolution packet, they must cite which picture book they found their information.

I also have 

I'm Courtney from Ramona Recommends, a children's literature lover, who believes picture books are the perfect tool to OPEN THE MAGIC! I teach 4th and 5th grade in Orange County, California. A proud owner of over 1,700 of my own children's books. I am a member and cofounder of #wecantputbooksdown. Come find us on Instagram. Use the hashtag #wecantputbooksdown. Instagram account coming soon! My biggest accomplishment to date is earning my B.A. in Elementary Education and my M.S. in Education with an emphasis in Reading. No day is complete in my classroom without singing, a 3 minute dance party, a children's literature sighting, and a proud moment. Don't forget to OPEN THE MAGIC. Want to connect on social media?
Email: ramonarecommends@gmail.com

 Read about my visit to SCHOLASTIC HEADQUARTERS

Thank you so much for reading. I love sharing my passion for books with my readers. I hope that you find just one (lets be real... I hope you find LOTS of books) that will open the magic in your classroom. Ramona Recommends would not be what it is today without the support of my readers. Thank from the bottom of my heart. I hope you know how grateful I am you are here. 

I have had the pleasure to meet so many wonderful children's book authors through Whale of a Tale Bookshoppe, my masters program, and children's literature fairs. #hugefan #keepemcoming



I would love to get to know about my readers. Share what grade you teach and your favorite books. I would love to add more to my WISH LIST.

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