the definition of "ballin" is "Living the good life" in and out of work. This is what makes me love life.

Monday, August 3, 2015


Teachers! I need your attention... If you haven't seen Plickers then you need to go to right now! (OK, after you read this blog post)

What is a Plicker?
A free and easy way to evaluate what your students know like you would with a "clicker" but with a card that you print out and the students can keep in their binders. No more handing out clickers, recollecting clickers, dead batteries etc.

When you go to the Plickers website you can set up your classes and print out Plicker cards for each student. 

Each card has a black box with a pattern on it, the student's number in your class, and the letters A, B, C, and D. 

When going over multiple choice questions you can ask the students to hold up the card to represent their answer. The students rotate the card and the letter that they hold up at the top of their card is what they are choosing as their answer.

You scan the cards with the plicker app on your smart phone or iPad and you can see who answered the question correctly or not and get instant feedback. 

You can get feedback to see who gave what answer, and if it was correct or not. You can even project the screens up on to your Interactive white board.  I often don't let the kids know immediately if they got it right or wrong and I then call on certain kids and ask them to explain why they picked the answer that they did.

After I print out the cards I laminate them on my Scotch Scanner (which I have raved about in past posts)

You can purchase laminated cards on 

but it's MUCH cheaper to print and laminate your own. It's recommended that you laminate them with special matte plastic but I couldn't find that...I just used regular glossy and it works fine. Sometimes (very seldom) there will be a glare on one of the cards and I just ask that student to slightly tip their top edge down.  

I'm telling you...check out  You won't be disappointed!

Thanks for Being Awesome Postcards

Because I teach my class in a Blended style (my students learn a lot of the material by watching videos on the computer) it allows them to learn at their own pace and review the material as many times as they want without distractions but also it makes it a little bit difficult to build personal connections with my students. So I am constantly trying to find new ways to connect with my kids. I always make it a point to meet them at the door and talk to each and every student, I have individual meetings with each of them, etc. but I am always looking for more.

Here's a way to show your appreciation for every student. 

Download this free file, print them out on cardstock...address one for each student. During the school year when you find a student doing something great or going out of their way to help someone else, write them a little note and drop it in the mail. 

I plan to fill out the addresses at the end of the summer so they are ready to go.

You can download the file from here:

Sunday, August 2, 2015

IKEA school supply storage.

Next year I will be in my new classroom and the space for desks is a little tighter than my previous classroom so I had to come up with some creative ways to organize classroom supplies. Where do I love to find organizing stuff? IKEA! The closest IKEA to my house is an hour and a half away in Burlington Ontario but I love that store so much that I do not mind the drive. 

This was my latest project from IKEA. I installed the Bygel rails ($2.99 each Canadian) and white Bygel containers (99 cents each Canadian). 
You can see them on the website at these addresses


You can get the containers in different colors but I personally like a more uncluttered and less distracting look in the classroom. 

I also installed the "focus" letters on the wall. I bought these at Hobby Lobby for $3 each and used command strips to adhere them to the wall. 

What do you do to decorate your classroom?

Teachers Pay Teachers Sale!

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I don't know about you but I am obsessed with the website Teachers Pay Teachers.  There are SO many great looking awesome and easy to use resources on the site. From lesson plan templates to handouts and full labs Teachers pay teachers is a great resource that all teachers should check out.  I started selling some of my own resources on the site and everything of mine will be 20% off August 3 and August 4th so head to the site and check it out!

My page and resources are available at the following link...

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

An idea for the first day of school

     I don't know about you but I hate going over the rules on the first day of school. It makes me feel like I'm a big meanie and I know that the kids are hearing the rules from every teacher on that day as they sit back passively and block it out. 
     On Facebook I am a member in several teacher groups and every once in a while I get a gem of an idea from them. This is an example of such a situation.

     The idea is: take the script that you would use on the first day of school and turn it into an activity for the students. As the students walk into the classroom greet them at the door and hand them an index card. On the top of that index card it should read "After you hear somebody say this:" and at the bottom of the card it should read "You say this:" 
     I first set up the spreadsheet with the script broken into 27 short statements and then I set up and printed the cards. 

      After printing the cards I laminated them using my Scotch Thermal Laminator. I know what you're going to say... "My district already has a laminating machine" but I will tell you this baby is worth the $20 I paid for it at Walmart. The cards will all be the same size, the plastic is heavier and more durable, and the corners are rounded.

You can also buy the laminating pouches at Walmart, Michaels, Office Max etc. but the best prices are at Walmart. This pack of 20 4x6 laminating pouches was about $2.50.

     You put a card into a pouch and then feed it through the laminator and it all melts together. I really like the rounded corners and the fact that they are all the same size.

      I have a feeling that one might get misplaced or not returned to me so I put a TEENY little number in the corner of each card. I think I used a size 3 font because I wanted to be able to check it but I didn't want the kids to know it's there. 

      Oh, and at the end of the lesson we probably will read through them again a 2nd time to see how fast we can do it...and then have a quick quiz on the content we covered. (If you look at my spreadsheet...You'll see the questions for the quiz.)

I haven't tried this activity yet but I'll report back when I do in September.

What is your favorite way to go over the rules in class?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Perpetual Post It Note Calendar

I'm going to show you how I created a Post It Note Calendar that can be used year after year. 

Since you probably already know by now that I'm a teacher, it probably won't surprise you if I tell you that I love school supplies. My favorite school supply ever is the wonderful Post It Note. With all of those colors, sizes, and shapes they are absolute perfection.

I wanted to make a big wall calendar for the entire school year so I can see everything all at once. So after scouring Pinterest I found a lot of examples of calendars made of post it they are.
I used a combination of what I saw on Pinterest, and combined it with printing on Post It Notes which I saw here on Pinterest.

I bought 2 of these Post It Note Color Cubes at Target. I really like the gray color and figured that I could use the brightly colored ones for special days and holidays.

So I took large sheets of paper and started laying out the gray Post It Note squares for Monday through Friday. (My paper had a very faint blue grid that helped me line them up almost perfectly.)

I sent it to get it laminated so that I could use it year after year and so I could put the dates on it with a dry erase marker.

I then set up a template for the days of the week and holidays so I could print those out on the colored Post It Notes. I know it sounds crazy but you can print on a Post It Note. 

You just need to know which way the paper feeds through your printer. If you want to use my templates, they are for sale here on my Teachers Pay Teachers website.

(You may want to print up the days of the week and put them on the calendar before you get it laminated)

the first page of the template file

To use the templates, you have to print it out on a regular sheet of paper, 

then put Post It Notes on top of each square and then put the paper back into the feed tray of your printer. 

Make sure that you figure out which way the paper feeds through or you will end up jamming your printer with those Post It Notes.

Now, every year you can renumber your calendar and move only the post it notes that may change, many will stay the same.

Do you have a creative way to use Post It Notes?

Originally posted on

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Pizza on the grill

     Have you ever grilled pizza?  It is amazing! I'm going to show you how I  made a pizza on the grill last night.

     First, I started with pre-made bread dough and stretched it out onto a cookie sheet.

     I prepped all of the veggies and toppings so I didn't have to go in and out of the house 5,000 times. I'm a fan of veggies on my pizza but you can use whatever toppings you want.

Sometimes I use tomato sauce, sometimes I make it without tomato sauce. This is my favorite non-tomato sauce. If you are in the Buffalo, NY area I have found this in our local Tops and Wegman's grocery stores. Here is the link to the Beano's website.

 Once your toppings are ready, toss that dough on to a grill at a medium temperature and close the lid. After approx. 5 minutes take the crust off the grill (once it looks like the crust below). Place the dough browned-side up on your cookie sheet.

Add your sauce

and toppings.

Instead of pepperoni, I tried an italian meat called Coppa (it's similar to prosciutto). It was WAY better than pepperoni in my opinion.

Place the pizza on the grill and close the lid.

I usually try to keep the grill at 350 degrees because my grill has an external thermometer. I usually open the lid if it gets too hot.

Keep the knobs at a medium heat.

It turned out amazing.  It takes very similar to pizza that has been cooked in a brick oven.

Now, I know you're thinking that my family will never eat a pizza with veggies on it, I agree.  My boys want a traditional pizza with tomato sauce and pepperoni's you can do that too on the grill! Make the pizza anyway you want.

This is my son's pizza:

My other son prefers his pizza without cheese.

And last but not least, I already mentioned that I live in the Buffalo area therefore I'm sue you're aware that us Buffalonian's dip our wings and pizza into blue cheese dressing. This is my favorite brand and it's low in calories. Bolthouse Farms Chunky Blue Cheese Dressing.

Happy Grilling!

originally posted on