Just a friendly reminder....
Stop by Ramona Recommends. Have a great day!

My goal as a teacher is to make my students feel wonderful! I love making people feel wonderful about themselves. I love when students dance to their own beat and dress the way that makes them feel confident. We live in a society that promotes perfection. I posted a question on instagram last week, "Why as a society why do we care so much to be perfect?" I received some great answers.I will be honest, I do struggle with wanting to be societies perfect, but then I think, "Who defines perfection?".  I want my students to know that perfection is not perfect. We can be perfect without having perfection. How can we do perfect, by being ourselves. We all have our own perfect. My perfect is being me and doing what I love. 

Today's book is perfect to celebrate being different. I was introduced to this book by my friend Sara during our masters program. It is written by Dr. Seuss and a few of his friends. Get ready to travel to Dinkerville and attend Differndoofer School. This story is odd, silly, magical, sad, loud, and a perfect example that being different can be perfection. Hopefully you will go order a copy of Hooray for Diffendoofer Day! and celebrate "uniqueness" in your classroom. I believe students need to hear more from teachers and parents that being different is actually being perfect.
One way I love to promote being different is displaying different celebrity quotes around my classroom. I even have some of these displayed in my home office. I HEART TRIPLE HEART quotes. If you follow me on pinterest I have a whole board to celebrate quotes. Click HERE to see! :)

Now to the good stuff! I want to make your students feel wonderful so I am giving away not one but BOTH of my Inspring Quote products. Look below to see what to do! Here is a sneak peek at some of the beauties. P.S.- If you download the preview for the set II quote packet, you will find a freebie!

Teachers Pay Teachers has reached 3 million teacher sellers! We are having a huge sale! Everything in my store will be 20% off. If you don't win the quotes, you can still purchase for a great discounted price on Thursday and Friday. Stop by Ramona Recommends.Click HERE or on the picture to swing by my store!

Have a wonderful Tuesday! Do something to show your students you are not perfect, but you are YOU!
For real, LASTLY! Go link up with Teaching Maddeness for Book of the Week!
Must-Read Monday Linky
The Liebster Award
I’m beyond excited to be nominated for the Liebster Award I can hardly contain myself! Thank you Suzanne at Create.Educate.Inspire for nominating me! It means so much!!

A little about the Liebster award:

The Liebster Award is an award for new blogs. Liebster is a German word that means: BELOVED, CUTE, LOVELY, DEAREST, and WELCOME. 

To accept the nomination I must: 

1. Link back to the blog that nominated me

2. Nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers

3. Answer the questions posted for me by my nominator (Suzanne)
4. Share 11 random facts about myself
5. Create 11 questions for my nominees
6. Contact my nominees and let them know I nominated them 
Here are my nominees:
Twenty Something Teacher

This blog is to die for! Chelsea's love for teaching and fashion has me super excited every time I see she has a new blog post. Her southern charm is welcoming too!

Chelsea at 5th Grade Wit and Whimsy is a great upper grade blog. I love when I find upper grade blogs- makes my heart happy! She also loves photography and each Sunday she posts her vision!

I found Missing Tooth Grins while I was browsing instagram the other night. I fell in love with her classroom theme of SWEETS. It is precious. Her upbeat personality shines through her writing.

Literacy Loves Company
You know when you find a blog that you just can't stop reading because it has so many GREAT ideas? Well, that happened to me when I found literacy loves company! What a wonderful resource for upper grades! :)

Krazy About Teaching
Every time I read this blog it makes me smile. I just love her fun and colorful ideas! Krazy about Teaching is a 1st grade teacher.

Questions from Suzanne!
1. What grade do you teach? Do you love it or would you switch grades?
Currently, I work as an instructional assistant doing math and reading intervention for 5th graders. I use to teach 4th grade. :) My ideal grade to teach would be 4th grade. I have spent time in all elementary grades, but I feel my knack is 3-5th grade. 
2. What is your biggest pet peeve in the classroom?
My minor pet peeve is the pencil issue of 1801. Will someone please find a cure! haha
Major pet peeve when students are not honest. 
3. What inspired you to start blogging?
A very close family friend passed away and I needed something to help me deal with my emotions. We both loved children's literature. I am so happy that I was sent that angel message. :)

4. What is one teaching supply you couldn’t live without?
Post-it notes. Can I get an ahem! 
5. What is your favorite lesson to teach?
I love teaching how to talk with your text. Anything with reading comprehension I heart!

6. What is your favorite dessert recipe?
There is nothing better than a  good home made chocolate chip cookie. Click HERE to 
download this recipe.  

7. How do you spend your weekends?
Saturdays are usually spent going to my turbo kick box class, lunch with friends, errands, and a fun Saturday night. Sundays are usually spent going to church, having lunch, and preparing for the week. 
8. Coffee or Pop?
I do not drink Coffee. I have recently given up soda except for 1-2 a week. :)
9. Share a technology resource that you love using in your classroom.
 Omg! I love the app Educreations. It is amazing! I can record mini lessons to use with my students. I even had students create their own mini lessons on math topics to share with the class before a test. It is so AMAZING!!! 

10. What is your favorite children’s book to read to your students?
Alice the Fairy- David Shannon
The message- We can all do what we set our minds to!

11. What is your typical bedtime on a school night?
10:30 or 11:00pm There is just so much to do in life! :) 
 Here are 11 random facts about myself:
1. I am left handed
2. I have an incredible memory- like I can remember what I wore on my first day of Freshman year of high school. 
3. I prefer to write in pencil over pen.
4. Favorite movie- My Best Friend's Wedding
5. Nordstrom and LOFT are my go to stores.
6. I can not stand to be late- it makes me very nervous
7. I have had my toes painted for the last 15 years. 
8. I will be thirty in 2 months and 2 days. 
9. I went to the University of Arizona for BA and Cal State Fullerton for my MS
10. To relieve stress I workout. 
11. I must always pray before I go to bed. 
 Here are my 11 questions for my nominees: 
1. What do you pack in your lunch for school?
2. What is your favorite font to use on your teaching materials?
3. Favorite teacher supply?
4. What word do you say a lot?
5. Do you play music for your students?
6. What grade do you teach? Private or Public School?
7. What are 3 of your favorite blogs to read?
8. What is your personal style? Link up a picture from pinterest.
9. What is your favorite holiday?
10. Share your favorite reading lesson you taught this year?
11. Favorite TV show?
Can't wait to learn about YOU! Congratulations! :)
Do you sit at your computer and look up new releases only to find out that they are only up for pre-order? Yep, it happens to me all the time. I started writing down in my calendar when those special books would be available to buy at Barnes and Noble or order off of Amazon. I suggest writing down the dates of your favorite book releases in your personal or school planner. I love when I look in my planner and notice a book has been out for a week. I usually go straight to my amazon app! :)  Here are some books that are coming out this year that I can't wait to purchase.

Celebrating 50 years!!! 
Available Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

A Snicker of Magic will be able Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

 What was Ellis Island will be available Thursday, March 13, 2014

Who was Louis Braille will be available Thursday, March 13, 2014

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

will be available Tuesday, May 6th

What is the Statue of Liberty? will be available Thursday, May 29th

Hope one of these books finds a home in your bookshelf. Have a great Tuesday. Thank you so much for reading. :)
Must-Read Monday Linky
While I was getting my nails done, I checked my instagram to see what was going on! Kristen from Easy Teaching Tools shared with me a book linky party from Teaching Maddeness. As you might know, I love sharing my favorite books. So in a nutshell this is a perfect fantastic linky party for me to join. Can't wait to see what books other teachers share. My wish list needs some new favorites.

This is one of my new favorite books. Kids can relate to this book because it uses words from the technology age. I am sure if you read this story to your students they would understand all of the words. I read it to my nephew last night and he thought it was funny. I mean I did have to a lot of sound of effects, but he is only 21 months. Dot shares her daily journey through sharing, searching, recharging, and rebooting. The author of this story is Randi Zuckerberg sister to the founder of Facebook. I love how our society brings on new meanings to old words, and new words to our old world. The pictures remind me of a spring day. I am ready for SPRING, are you?

See you tomorrow for Ramona Recommends Tuesday!
I LOVE Valentine's Day! For me, it is not about having a boyfriend, a husband (which I do not), but it's about LOVE. I firmly believe we should LOVE everyday, but I like to LOVE extra on Valentine's Day. Valentine's Day lets me indulge on anything and everything. I can wear hearts, frills, and glitter and everyone smiles. Since today is about LOVE, I thought I would share with you my TOP 10 items I HEART! Since this is RAMONA RECOMMENDS look for 10 book recommendations that I HEART through out this post. :)  

NUMBER 1: Essie's FIJI Nail Polish 
I love this polish because it is sweet and classy. It looks pretty fantastic when I am tan too.  It reminds me of Fancy Nancy as she swirls and twirls in her girly princess dress. 

Number 2: Ticonderoga Pencils
Confession: I totally just got super excited because I realized that these pencils were my number two pick and they are #2 pencils. :) The smell when these babies are sharpen can make me smile ear to ear. A good sharp Ticonderoga can make any to-do list or lesson plan worth writing. I have a secret stash that I do not let anyone touch. The Little Red Pen has a pencil just like this one in her fantastic personification twisted story! My stash is a bit obessive (I confess, again). Can I get an ahem!?

Number 3: Arbonne's Vanilla Protein Shake 
My sister is an Arbonne Rep and she asked me to do a 30 daily Cleanse Challenge with her. At first, I fought and whined and whined A LOT more! I don't do change real well.  About 11 years ago, I decided to get my life back. I have lost 70 pounds since January 12, 2003. I wanted to do the challenge, but I was afraid if I couldn't hold to it I would be a failure. I have a really weird digestive system. So, usually these things do not work. Most protein shakes make me gag. BUT! Not this one! It is AMAZING! I look forward to it every morning. Today, I added Strawberries and Banana for a valentine treat! It made me happy. This challenge is amazing and has helped me make BIG changes in my eating habits. Before I started, I ate pretty healthy. Now, I have gone from 15 diet soda's a week to 1-2 a week. This is HUGE! I have also committed to drinking 90 ounces of water daily, drinking this fab shake, and cutting out dairy and gluten during the week. Now my friends, I cheat to stay normal. Sometimes I have Chick-fila, cheese, and more. I just really try to cut where I can. I started January 25 and I have a seen results in my face, shoulders, and stomach. Since I add everything and the ice maker to my shake, I feel the appropriate book to recommend in this section is Everything on a Waffle. I am excited! Overall, I just feel healthier! (This is just my personal opinion, everyone is different, do what is best for you!)

Number 4: Starbucks 24 Ounce Tumbler
Yes, I am the person who goes into Starbucks and just orders water. I do get oatmeal or something, but its water instead of coffee. Starbuck's water is so refreshing. I had a colleague at work tell me her 5 year old daughter has the same sentiments. I love this tumbler because it helps me drink buckets of water during the day. I fill it up in the morning before work and refill all day long. There is something about a straw that makes water so much more desirable. This tumbler can be put into the dishwasher. I recommend getting this one versus the smaller sizes. I have both and always reach for this one. Since ducks live in the water, Make Way for Ducklings is the perfect story to share.

Number 5: Vera Bradley VERA Tote

Anything with red, white, yellow, and blue I probably LOVE. I love my Vera Bradley Vera tote in Happy Snails. This pattern has been discontinued, but any pattern in the VERA is well worth the money. It is roomy and can fit textbooks, papers to grade, markers, cell phones, lunch bags, and more. When I was accepted into my masters program at Cal State Fullerton, this was a gift from my parents. She is still going strong 2.5 years later. I just looked down at her, she might need a handle wash, but other than that she is looking pretta! My bag almost looks like another Camilla in A Bad Case of Stripes. PSA: This is Ramona Recommends ALL time favorite picture book. The message of being yourself is quite empowering! 

Number 6: Erin Condren Life Planner
I love my Erin Condren Life Planner. I have always been a planner. To be able to write my events down in a fabulous cute colorful calendar can make a frown turn upside down. My favorite part of the whole part is the clear plastic pounch in the back. It is great my blogging business cards, tutoring cards, and more! When I was in college, I would write my homework down in a planner just like Al Capone (jk) I do love this book- Al Capone does my Homework!

Number 7: Melonheadz Clip Art and KG Fonts
Before I started making my own products to sell on Teachers Pay Teachers, I did not know about these two fabulous ladies. Melonheadz Illustrations has the BEST clip art from teacher creations to birthday party invites. Her clip art is made from the heart and is just wonderful. Do fun fonts make everything better? Umm, YES! KG Fonts has the best selection of FREE fonts. If you are going to use them commercially, they are 5 dollars a font or you can buy a bundle at a discount counted price. I also want to give a shout out to HELLO fonts and Kevin and Amanda Free Fonts too. All of these companies are wonderful and they deserve a spot on Ramona Recommends TOP 10 LOVE!  I picked the piggy clip art because I LOVE pigs and so does Kristy Yamaguchi. Her picture book Dream Big Little Pig, is darling and how approritate to read during the 2014 Winter Olympics. 

Number 8:  Wit and Wisdom (Nordstrom) /Loft Skinny Jeans

I will start out by saying I own almost every color of Loft's Modern Skinny Jeans and I own 3 pairs of Nordstrom's Black Wit and Wisdom jeans. The quality of both of these brands is incredible. I have a hard time finding skinny jeans that fit because my momma blessed me with some hips! ha I could seriously shout it from the roof tops how much I love these pants. They fit all shapes and sizes. You won't be disappointed if you try them on! PROMISE! I wonder how the Principal's New Clothes worked for him??!!! I think I got the better end of the deal! 

Number 9: Alex and Ani Bracelets 
I started with my initial C and now I have about 25 of these made in America bracelets. I love how each one has a dear meaning behind the metal. Obviously, I had to show you the teacher bracelet! :) They are high quality and look good with mixed metals. In fact, you should mix your metals- it's fashionable :) If you are wondering, where you can find this gem, go to the Alex and Ani website or your local Nordstroms! Like the bracelets, Bully holds meaning in my life. As a teacher and advocate for anti-bullying, I want to raise awareness to this rising epidemic. No child should feel scared to go to school. School should be their safe place to grow.

Number 10: Post-it Notes
If you know me personally, you are probably laughing because you know how many post-it notes I own. A few Christmases ago, I went through my post-it note stash and got rid of an entire Nordstrom Large Shopping bag filled. Don't worry teachers; I gave them to family, friends, and teachers. I LOVE post-it notes! There is something about them that makes the words written on them magical. The sound of the stick from the last post-it note-WONDERFUL! I sometimes just write a reminder down that I already did just to use a post-it note and to check it off. The super sticky are my favorite because they DO NOT move. I agree, sometimes that isn't a good thing.  Speaking of post-it notes, I am looking at one right now and its reminding me to chat about the book DOT. This is a funny little take on the new technology world! Umm! Can we discuss? How I just learned when I was linking this book, it's written by the founder of Facebook's sister. Hello last name alert! duha!

Lastly, I will leave you with a book to share in my love for Valentine's Day--Double Pink. I hope you had a wonderful Valentine's Day! 

Share with me- what are your LOVES?

Here is a little video of the all the books I recommended... ENJOY!

LAST THING! I am so in LOVE about my new blog business cards that came from Vista Prints today!!!! I feel so official and that pen even makes it better!!!! HAPPY DANCE!

*I did not receive any compensation for this post. This is just my personal opinion of products I use in my everyday life! xo
Hello Friends. Today during lunch, I was scrolling my facebook feed and found the best post ever! Melonheadz along with other bloggers is holding a HUGE HUGE, did I say HUGE giveaway this month. Click on the link below and go enter. It is simple as 123. I love this community! :) Have a fabulous day!!!

How many of you know the famous song, "Yankee Doodle". How many of you actually know what it means? Or! Better yet, how many of your students know what the words mean? I remember singing this song in my 2nd grade musical performance. Let me tell you, I belted those words like I was the NEXT AMERICAN IDOL. I will let you imagine the scene. I actually do have a family video of this somewhere. :)

For me, February has always kicked up my love for America. Every year around this time, I bust out the red, white, and blue and whistle patriotic songs. Lets face it, I love AMERICA! I love red, white, and blue and I publicly would tell people one of the reasons I loved going to the University of Arizona was because of their colors.
 Photo Credit: Jennifer Lensing Photography

 The book I am going to recommend today, has been eying me when I scan my library for books for months. I decided since I am in the Olympic, National Antheme mood this book will be a perfect selection for this week. How many of your students have read the Origmai Yoda books by Tom Angleberger? They are a hit at my school. The boys can't get enough. I personally have not read them since Star Wars isnt my thing. #sorrynotsorry.

Tom Angleberger is the author of this weeks selection entitled, Crankee Doodle. This picture book is a HILARIOUS take on the song we all love and sing at all school America performances- "Yankee Doodle". I reread it again tonight to my mom and I was could not stop laughing. The author's words are enjoyable for the adults reading the book as well as the children listening. He talks about going to town, riding a pony, and WHY his hat is called MACARONI! According to Angleberger this song was written before The American Revolution. 5th grade teachers read this to your students during the study of the colonies.

Join me this week to heart yourself! Are you on instagram? If so, join me Monday, February 10 thru Friday, February 14th in the "Got Heart"- Fashion Challenge. Take a picture each day of your "heartable" fashion. Think pink, white, red, hearts, candy.... and hashtag, #teachersheartfashion. Take the challenge! Come find me @ramonarecommends

When I started my blogging journey, I didn't really know where it was going to go. A few years ago, I started a life blog called Ramona Q. Creations, where I blogged about crafts I had made.

 I did it for about 2 months, but I wasn't really into it. I LOVE LOVE to craft, but blogging about it just kinda didn't appeal to me. At the time, I only had my personal instagram account. I would post pictures of my family, friends, and just stuff.

Fast forward 2 years-Wednesday, October 23, 2013 at 4:31pm. I had just returned from a run. I went upstairs and checked my phone. My phone spoke words that I was not ready to hear. My brain couldn't comprehend what I had just found out. My body went into a shock that I can't describe. A very close family friend, a 2nd mother figure in my life had passed away. I mourned and am still dealing with losing a very close person in my life. #itsnoteasy. This lady was such a wonderful person who radiated the best sunshine. Her laugh, her pearl earrings, her gentle words, her love for life radiated to the world. She also had a love for children's literature. We would chat about different books all the time. Another friend asked me, "Courtney, what was the name of that one book you told me about." Lights started to flash!! I should totally recommend books for my teacher friends and parents. I started it on my personal insta, but I wanted to reach more people. Ramona Recommends quickly got herself another instagram account. Soapbox moment- I really don't like how you have to log in and out of your different accounts! Insta developers I hope you are listening! :) I believe starting Ramona Recommends was an angel message from my pearl wearing friend. It has given me a new outlook on life. It makes me so happy to sit at my computer (for hours) and plan my different book debuts, create lessons, read other blogs, meet new friends, and know I am blessing someone's need. I am doing a special recommends because yesterday I received a gift that I will cherish forever. I received my friend's favorite book from her husband and daughters. It was their family favorite and read year after year. The teacher in me is super excited because it has ALLITERATION on each page. It is funny, about cooking, and just plain fabulous.  

Since Valentine's Day is on Friday, I have the perfect ALLITERATION packet for you in my TpT. I say a little Fosdyke and Valentine Alliteration makes for a wonderful week!

 I am always talking about my blog when people seem interested. I love to share in my love of opening the magic. Along with talking about it, I am always writing down the blog address on paper. I am sure many people lose it by the time they get to the car. #notjudgingjustbeingreal SO! Since this is my year of new opportunity through joy, I am making this blog my life commitment. I will be Courtney the author and editor of Ramona Recommends as long as I am able. This is my JOY. This is what I LOVE. Instead of pencil and paper, I took the leap and ordered blog cards. I am so excited to share them. My blog designer created them for me. She did a wonderful job. KreatedbyKelsey1 can be found on Etsy. She is a teacher too! She is nothing but professional, sweet, quick, and just plain AMAZING! After she designed the card, she sent me the file and I easily uploaded it to Vista Prints. Might I add Visa Prints is SUPER affordable! I should get the cards on Friday. Here is a sneak peek. I am OBSESSED!

Do you have blog cards?

I would also love to thank Jacque from Mommy and Me Creations for creating my very own Ramona Recommends Subway art. I just love it. Seriously, the gifts that God has given mankind to help each other smile is just AMAZING! Thank you to Melonheadz for allowing Jacque to use her clip art too! Eeek! 

Hello! Happy Tuesday! I am super happy that I am actually getting this post out before 10 on Tuesday evening. #happydanceishappeningrightnow. I am just going to skip right over the Super Bowl events because well that was just sad. I waited all season for the Super Bowl. My wish came true and then it fizzled reallllll quick. Guess what, I am still a TRUE Bronco fan. Try again next year.

The Winter Olympics are just are just around the corner!!!! WOOT WOOT! There is something so magical about the Olympics. I feel so honored to watch and cheer on my fellow American athletes. I almost feel that I become their friends during the televised events. I get pumped when the hard working American athletes compete. I cheer from my seat, and I get super teary eyed during the National Anthem. Lets face it- I AM PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN!

There is a reason for today's book choice. Well actually there are several reasons. Last week during RTI, my groups and I worked on author's viewpoint. I created a fun and engaging lesson surrounded around the Winter Olympics. You can check it out here. The students worked together to create their own viewpoint about different Winter Olympic events and then commented on each other's opinion. The overall lesson was fantastic and students went away with some tools to use when inferring author's viewpoint. But, there was one little problem, I assumed my students had background knowledge about the Olympics. Red flashers came flooding in when I heard So-Hi, what is figure skating?, I dont care about the Olympics..... I was able to field some of their unknowns with a wonderful article from NEWSELA. If you do not have this website bookmarked- DO IT NOW. It is a free website that has current news articles adapted for different reading levels. The article was about how Russia is having a hard time selling tickets because of negative feelings towards the country. After the students read the article, we discussed key points and then in pairs they looked for evidence that would support the author's viewpoint.  So! That brings me to my book recommendation for today.
G is for Gold Medal- An Olympics Alphabet is a FANTASTIC non-fiction resource to inform your students about the Olympics. It teaches students about the history of the games. Each letter has something to do with the Summer or Winter Olympics. I learned this morning that due to World War II, the Summer and Winter Olympics were cancelled in 1940 and 1944. What I also love about this book are the pictures and in depth detail of events. Lastly, in the back of the book, there is a site map of all the Olympic destinations since 1896. I plan to read this book to my RTI group this week and pump them up for the Winter Olympics.

What are your favorite books to use to PUMP UP your students during the Olympics. Lets use a rating scale 1st favorite- GOLD, 2nd favorite- SILVER , 3rd favorite- BRONZE.

Happy Tuesday and thanks for reading!

PSA- I am having a SALE at my TpT store until Tuesday 12midnight.

Since I am super excited that the BRONCOS are in the Superbowl, I am having a SALE over at my Teachers Pay Teachers Store. Click on the picture to go straight to the link. Happy Super Bowl Sunday. GO BRONCOS!!!!! Starts NOW :) Everything will be 15% off until Tuesday! :)


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