Hi All,

Happy Saturday! I am excited for the game {Arizona is in the elite 8 and playing Wisconsin} tonight. Since Arizona won on Thursday, I have decided to make my whole TpT Store 20%. Enjoy!

My newest products are....



Some of my biggest sellers are....

Have a wonderful weekend! Sale ends Monday night!

I've got another great giveaway for all you sweet friends.  This month, I teamed up with some of my So Cal Blogger buddies to bring you some amazing resources for your kiddos!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Our sweet friend Katie from Teacher to the Core blogged about our So Cal Meet Up and has a freebie for you!
It's 10:26 on Wednesday night, and I am creating a checklist of items I want to make sure I address in this post. Why do teachers stay up so late? Why do I not care that I will press snooze 3 times tomorrow morning, in order to finish my to-do list? I can't speak for all of us- even though I am sure "we" all agree. Teaching is a passion. It's who I am, and will always be. I hope one day to add wife and mommy into who I am. For now, TEACHER is the best way to say who I am. 
I am always thinking how I can share my love for books. Yesterday's blog post ended with a question. I wondered who would be interested in a book club. There was an interest among my blogger and Instagram followers. Now this book club who not be your typical best seller list book club, but a children's literature club.

Ramona Recommends' book club will start on the first Wednesday of every month. Our first book club will be Wednesday, April 2nd. Here is where it gets a little tricky, because some of you might not blog. 
Solution Sally here! I will create a blog post for each book we decide to feature. In the comment section, we can have our mini discussion. I will also post a picture of the book on Instagram. Members can also post reactions, thoughts, and feelings there as well. We will choose a different book each month. So! You can post thoughts anytime, but you really have 30 days complete each task. This is my first blogger/insta book club... Suggestions are welcomed! Honestly, I haven't figured out all the logistics. BUT, I have picked the book! Once we get a solid group, we can share in the choosing of the books. The books can be chapter books or picture books. If you do not have the book featured, check your school or local library. Also, I am sure Amazon or BN wouldn't mind a little business.  If you would like join leave your email below. I will send out a message this weekend. 
I am super excited to introduce our first book! Here is a preview. I will create it's own special page for Wednesday, April 2nd. 

Wow! This is my first time using my phone to type a post. Jury is in- I like using my computer 100% more. 
This past Saturday, I co-hosted my 1st Annual Southern California Teacher Blogger Meet-up! I love the comments I got from my non-teacher friends and family. Wait, Your What? You are meeting teachers who blog? As I was driving to the restaurant, I was on the phone with my best friend. She asked how I was feeling. I replied with "nervous, but so excited". Now, I have dabbled in online dating so I know the feeling #trueconfessions. She laughs and says, "Well, at least you know you will have a blast at this function!" Boy! Was she right! I had the time of my life. Before I started blogging, I had been a true blog reader. I would read about blogger meet-ups and see all of the fun pictures and such. So, when I started blogging and teacher instagramming, I knew that was something I would be interested in hosting. Well, I found one of my old colleagues on instagram a few months ago, Kristen from Easy Teaching Tools, and we discussed throwing a little shindig together. Here we are the co-hostesses.
 We invited any Southern California bloggers (really any teacher bloggers) to join us for a day of lunching, laughing, tip sharing, laughing some more, and friend making.

The day could have not gone more perfect. We did have to change our venue due to unforeseen circumstances. Luckily, we dined at Cheesecake Factory in Fashion Island, Newport Beach. It was a gorgeous day. I have to say the service at the Cheesecake Factory was fantastic~ the best I have ever seen for a large party of 16 giggling gals.

Besides teaching, fashion is my favorite part of life. Putting together outfits makes me smile ear to ear. So of course, I had to share with you what I wore to this event.
Green Jacket {Nordstrom-B.P.}
Flowery Top {Nordstrom-B.P.}
Black Wit and Wisdom Skinny Jeans {Nordstrom- Point of View}
Peach Necklace {Nordstrom- B.P.}
Blue, Yellow, White Neckace {Nordstrom-B.P.} link is for similar
Brown Boots {Off Broadway Shoes}
Don't you love when you work with someone and you both have different strengths? Kristen took over being the email and response queen. She was great at setting up google doc forms, keeping our guests informed via email, creating an adorable gift bakset for one lucky bloggy winner, and calling to make sure the restaurant was ok with us bring 16 of our closest blogger friends. :) I was in charge of creating the invitation and nametags. I also created two sets of my inspirational quotes to put into the giveaway gift basket.  Lastly, I was in charge of finding the perfect momento for our So Cal bloggy friends to remember us. Let me break this all down for you in pictures and captions. Oh look, I am using text features to help guide you through our day! 

 Thank you to KH Designs, KG Fonts, and Lettering Delights for making such fonts, clipart, and backgrounds! I made these on PowerPoint and then bought Avery Name tag holders from Staples.

How cute are these California shaped cookies from Bettie's Bake Shop. My favorite part of my whole experience working with BBS was she she asked what fonts I used for my invitation. I gave her a few names and she made it look SO much like my invitation. Attention to detail, 100%! I met Megan, the designer of these amazing cookies when I first started working at my new school. She was a long term substitute and we sat together at a professional development workshop. Right off the bat, she was welcoming and friendly. At our staff holiday party, she made the most moist yummy cupcakes. The following week, I asked if she baked and well I found out she was owner of Bettie's Bake Shop. I knew she would be my cookie creator for the rest of my life! Bettie's Bake Shop just joined instagram too. Go follow her! @bettiesbakeshop


Here are the goodies Ramona Recommends added to the giveaway gift basket. If you are interested, they are in my TpT Store. Click on the pictures to be directed to the correct item. 

Southern California Bloggers
 Let me introduce to you these fabulous teachers
Cheryl From Auntie's Sweet Life
Courtney from Ramona Recommends
Kristen from Easy Teaching Tools
Lauren from A Teachable Teacher
Caitlin from Teach Inspire Change 
Stephanie from Teaching in Room 6
Angela from Lights Camera Teach
Janice @1islandlover
Jessica @jgpreece 
Can I just tell you that I think I found 16 new friends. These ladies are awesome. I learned so many wonderful tips for blogging and teaching in 3 hours. I loved learning about what life was like before teaching from Caitlin and learning about young true love from Lauren. I love how we even had two blogger readers join us! Janice and Jessica, you are so great! We love readers like you! I hope you start to blog soon! It is a blast. I didn't get to sit by everyone :( Angela and Chelsea next time, I want to sit by you! I got to meet three bloggers who I have been following way before I started to blog. I felt pretty special because I can add it to my celebrity sightings. Yes, Molly, Stephanie, and Katie, you are celebrities. I felt like I had known some of the gals forever, even though we just met at 11:30am that day. I sat by Jessica and Jamie who both came all the way from Fresno. I loved learning about their classroom dynamics and cute valentine's projects.Thank you to Cheryl, Beth, and Vicky for bringing adorable treats to share. I just love them! Teachers, we have this way about us. We thrive on knowledge from others. The teacher community is such a strong and powerful force, and I am so proud to be a part of this community.

If you live in Southern California or nearby, we would love for you to join at our next event. Follow Ramona Recommends and Easy Teaching Tools to make sure you stay updated! Have a wonderful week.

Happy Tuesday! About a month ago, I found out I will be teaching summer school in my district. I am super excited because I get to teach an enrichment reading and writing class to 3rd thru 5th graders. On my instagram last week, I asked my followers which chapter books they recommend. WOW! I had such a wonderful response. Check out all the great finds they recommended. I already have several in my amazon shopping cart. Today, I thought I would give back and share some of my favorite chapter books with you!

 One of my favorite reasons to teach the upper grades is reading real chapter books. Literature circles and literature snack talks are pretty much at the top of my list. Over the past few years, I have become very comfortable teaching the older grades. Yes, I still have A LOT to learn, but I feel my right fit is in the older grades. I connect with them, and I enjoy having real conversations. Today, our school had an outdoor field day for 5th grade. Watching the students compete together and seeing the kids cheer for each other just made me smile inside. It is crazy to me that you can already tell which kids are going to be true athletes. Ok, back to my regular scheduled post...chapter books!

I am usually not one for classics, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE this book. There is something about Alec and his bravery that gets me teared up every time I read this book. I think what gets me the most is Alec's willingness to never give up. This is a great resource for students to see that life is hard work, but in return, rewarding. When I taught in Arizona, we participated in The Black Stallion project. All 4th grade classes around Tucson received a class set of The Black Stallion. Each student had his or her own book and we had wonderful discussions as we read the book. The students got to learn about other countries, states, horses, hard work, companionship, danger, adventure, and the list could keep going. Once we finished the book, the city of Tucson presented a wonderful live horse show for the students. Many of my students had never seen a real horse before. My last year in Tucson, I was actually interviewed by The Daily Star, Tucson's leading newspaper, about my students' experience at the show. That was a pretty cool experience.  Here, take a look at what I said:
Want to read the whole article? Click Here!

I can't believe I did not read this book until I was 23. Can't believe what I was missing. This book is recommended to any child in 4th grade and up. I believe the content is pretty deep and discussion should continue throughout the book. Talk about a hard life! Growing up in Copenhagen during the Nazi era was terrifying for Annemarie Johansen and her best friend. This adventure seeking book is sure to jump off your shelves.
This book talks to students. Even though they are just kids, they have emotions running wild in their heads. I am sure they think to themselves, "Am I the only one who feels this way?" "Am I really that different?" This book teaches how to be uplifted from a dark place. This is a book you just have to read to understand the deep emotion you will feel after you finish the last page.

Well this is a given! Any Beverly Clearly book is going to be on my list. This book is about an older and a younger sister's antics. I can relate to this book times 100. Click here if you want to know why my sister and I are Beezus and Ramona. Here is a picture of the two of us from our family pictures this Christmas. Meet Tiffany aka Beezy. :) We are three years apart. In fact, in thirty days I will be 30. Oh my!

Question: Would you be interested in doing a blogger book club for children's literature? Leave your thoughts below.

What are your favorite United States books to use in your classroom? I love our country! In fact, my favorite holiday is 4th of July and I love to wear red, white, and blue. If I hear the song, "God Bless the USA" come on at anytime, I will blast it and sing at the top of my lungs.

As I was looking through my bookshelves, I realized I have quite the plethora of books to tackle any United States report. Maybe I should invite the older neighborhood kids over! Oh wait, I will barely let anyone touch my books but me. #truestory! So that probably won't happen. Don't judge. I do use them in the classroom, but they are for Miss H's hands only.

I am a history nerd. As the kids would say, I am totes ok with that. Besides sharing US books, I have also decided to share some of my favorite history picture books as well. This post is going to be lengthy so grab a drink and settle in because this is the longest post I have ever done. :) Btw: I do own all of these books, but sometimes I get tired and don't want to transfer pictures from iPhone to computer. Does anyone know of a faster way to expedite that process?

This post should really be titled: 5th Grade Teachers This is for YOU! :)

United States Reference Books
As I was thumbing through the books to share some of my favorite parts, I realized I really love to know "fun facts" about different states. In Pennsylvania, the average person eats 20 pounds of pretzels a year. Pennsylvania is home to Hersheys AND Crayola! I get excited when I read useless information, but deep down inside- I think someday I might need to know that! :)




Have you heard of a wonderful series of alphabet books for each state? Every state has their own book and each letter describes something that is important about its state. Every time I visit a new state, I grab a copy of their book. If I do not see it there, sometimes I buy from amazon while I am in that state (does that still count?). 

Picture Books-Historical Fiction
Just get your shopping cart at Amazona or Barnes and Noble ready. I believe these books are top drawer. OK here I go!

This is one of my favorite picture books (I know I say that A LOT). The Scrambled States of America is a hilarious find that helps students learn about placement of states plus a little bit about each one. My favorite line from the whole book is, " I don't know, moaned Kansas. I just feel bored. ALL day long we just sit here in the middle of the country. We never GO anywhere. We never Do anything and We Never meet any new states!" I just learned that there is a game to go with this story as well! :)

Here are some other great finds to share during the study of the United States!

While I was looking for my USA books, I also spotted these favorites, so I thought I would share. Lucky you!

What picture books do you love to use in your classroom to teach Social Studies? The next one on my wish list is: President Taft is Stuck in the Bath.

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