My New Toy-Cricut Mini

I have a new toy!
It is a Cricut Mini!
love the size of it and the fact that it has so many uses!  It is small and portable and can sit right next to me on the table when completing my projects!  It can cut 8.5 X 11 pieces of cardstock, vinyl, thin plastics, fancy paper, and more!  I also learned that the blade is interchangeable with gel pens, markers, and a scoring tip!   

My Cricut Mini came with a step-by step guide to help me get started.  I first downloaded Cricut Craftroom software.  
This software is easy to use and allows you to view all of the images available in the Cricut library!  You can drag, resize, and move the images you want right on the screen.  Once you are happy with the placement, you then put the material you want cut onto the mat and then press the "cut" button and the Cricut Mini takes care of the rest!

 The machine came with the images and materials to complete my first project:
Then using the Cricut Font and Basic Shapes cartridge included with the machine I made the made the following banner for my classroom
Here it is hanging in my classroom:
Their website has quite a comprehensive Project Center. You can find inspirations for new projects and directions on how to complete them with your own machine.  There are several different categories that include celebrations, holidays, school, etc...

I had never used a Cricut machine, but have always wanted to.  So I was thrilled to have the opportunity to give you my honest review of the Cricut Mini!  I can't wait to make more projects with my new toy!

Do you have one?  What have you created with yours?

Words to Live By Right Now-FREEBIE

Hi all!
How is everyone doing?  Things have been a bit stressful in my neck of the woods.  Between SLO assessments, DRA2s, and benchmarking for AIMSweb, I have been doing lots and lots and lots of assessing.  

Without getting into too much detail beyond that, I wanted to share a little quote I came across while on Pinterest.  I fell in love with it because it fits things perfectly right now!
I decided to type it up with some fun fonts that are available for FREE!

One of the fonts was made by my very dear friend Leslie from
called "Leslies Hand".  This is the green and purple text and is my favorite font right now!  Thanks Leslie!

The other font was made by Amanda from
called "Pea Tracy".  This is the pink and turquoise text.
Aren't they great?  I would love to create my own font sometime!

How does this quote fit with your life right now? 
Am I the only one feeling extra stress these days?

It is Fall!!

It is Fall!  The air is crisp in the evenings and the leaves are beginning to change color here in the Northeast.  I am looking forward to the beautiful changes Mother Nature has in store for the season!

Just for Fall, I wanted to share with you one of my Emergent Student Readers called, "The Colors of Fall"

This Student Reader is a part of my 
Emergent Student Readers Set 1

Here are some other products I have available that are perfect for the season to help reinforce early literacy skills for your little literacy learners!

Fall Letter Finds and Mix-Ups

Pumpkin Letter Identification

Open House Night-FREEBIE

Last night we celebrated Open House!  Have you already celebrated yours?

In my school, children come with their families to visit their classrooms and visit different places in the school.  The classroom teachers have the children complete a scavenger hunt with their families to find places like the library, computer lab, cafeteria, and the gym.  Because we like to see the kiddos and their families too, the reading teachers are also placed on the scavenger hunts!  This year we had a few goodies waiting for the kiddos and their families when they stopped by.  

I created this first handout last year about every child needing a laptop.  Do you encourage your parents to provide laptops for their children?  You should!  They are free!  This handout definitely has a cute little twist that the parents enjoy as it discusses the importance of reading aloud to children, right on their own built-in laptop.  
If you missed the post from last year, you can check it out and grab your own copy by clicking on the picture above.

This year I created some bookmarks to go along with the handout, using the quote that I have seen floating around on Pinterest from Emilie Buchwald: 
"Children are made readers in the laps of their parents."  
I just love it and thought it fit perfectly!
We printed these bookmarks on colorful cardstock and the kids enjoyed taking these home.

I realize a lot of you have already celebrated Open House, but I could see these also being provided at parent conferences, literacy nights, etc...  What kind of handouts do you provide for the families of the children you work with?

Before I head off to bed because I am just absolutely exhausted, I wanted to share my new love with you!  
It is my new ruffle purse!
Isn't it adorable!!  I love, love, love the ruffles!!  It is another handmade bag that I found on Etsy from a shop called Gathered and Sown.  Angie was so easy to work with and I just love it so much that I had to share!  
What do you think!?  

And finally, don't forget to head over to TBA to check out the FREEBIES available for Freebie Friday!! 
Freebie Fridays

Making AIMSweb Cute FREEBIE

How many of you are administering AIMSweb?
This is the first year we will be doing it, and since Thursday was the first day of school for our kiddos, we still have yet to start!

But, I really dislike the ugly, boring training binder that our district gave us.  It just isn't the least bit cute, so of course I wanted to make it look a little more appealing! 
So I went ahead and made some binder covers for myself, my colleagues, and am sharing them with you too!
AIMSweb has a wonderful matrix showing their recommendations by each grade level that you can find here.  But because I am a reading teacher, I am only interested in the reading portion of AIMSweb.  So I pulled out all of the math components and created an AIMSweb Reading Benchmark Grid.  Now I can easily see what is needed for each grade level during the benchmarking periods.
I am using the type of binder with the clear sleeves on the outside.  So I am simply sliding the cover into the front and the Reading Benchmark Grid into the back!

Here is my binder!  It just happens to match my bag!  LOL!
  (I have a slight addiction to Chevron right now, can you tell?)
And since so many of you are wondering about my bag, let me add the info for you!  It is a handmade XL Hobo bag from a shop called JanetElizabethLLC, listed on Etsy.  She is so wonderful to work with!  Right now she is catching up on completing some current orders for her Hobo bags, so the links to the hobo bags are not active.  But she thinks she will be all set by the end of this week!  Check her out!

How does your school administer AIMSweb?  Who administers the benchmark assessments?  Do your classroom teachers, reading teachers, or a combination of both?