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

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

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Vocab Review Template

It's that time of year again...Review Time!
Although we are still finishing up out last unit of the year, we have started end of the year review to get ready for the Regents Exam on June 17th.

I have seen this review game in several different places and haven't tried it out yet. 

I have printed them out on cardstock and cut them out and put them into plastic baggies. (All teachers know how much time it takes the students to cut stuff out and especially at review time...time is precious)

I created a template and a couple of these games already and just yesterday I received 3 emails from my fellow Biology Listserve teachers looking for such a here ya go.

Here is a link to the template in the iCloud (Pages format)

I have shared it for free in my new Teachers Pay Teachers Page here is the link:

I will also be posted more of these for different units for a nominal fee at:

What review games do you and your students like?

originally posted on

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Presenting at NYSCATE's Digital Learning Summit 2014

On Monday March 31st I had the wonderful opportunity to present at the Digital Leadership Conference in Liverpool, NY. Many of the attendees were school district administrators from all over New York State. I am very grateful that NYSCATE believes in teachers like me and helps teachers to learn new and innovative ways to motivate students in the classroom. 
Online learning is something that I could talk about for hours (literally) and I ran out of time to cover my entire presentation so I have shared my presentation here.

From the Trenches: Life in a Blended Learning Classroom 

Presenter: Amy Balling is NABT's 2013 Outstanding Biology Teacher of the Year for New York State.

This session will address triumphs and struggles faced in the past four years of running a blended Regents biology class. We will take a look at how online learning helps to address the needs of the students in a mixed classroom with students at various levels of ability. You will walk away with cost-effective strategies and free tools to enhance your traditional classroom and get you on your way to creating your own blended learning environment.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Presenting at STANYS Mini-Conference March 26, 2014

This afternoon I will be presenting at the STANYS Mini-Conference at the Buffalo Museum of Science.

My topic will be Aurasma and Augmented Reality in the classroom. I blogged about it here. Here is a slideshare of my presentation. Enjoy!
Click here to see my presentation.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

2014 Pinterest Challenge Chalkboard Slow Cooker and chili recipe

So I'm going to accept the 2014 Pinterest Challenge. I am challenging myself to try out something on Pinterest each month (and hopefully blog about it.)  

So here goes...
I found this Pin on Pinterest and filed it away for a rainy day. Yesterday was a 50 degree rainy day here in Buffalo (I know, in January that's crazy.) So I decided to try it.

The good news was that I already had everything I needed from previous projects so overall it cost me NOTHING!  I actually have 2 slow cookers a really nice stainless steel one and this ugly one that was collecting dust in the basement. I almost never use it because it was all discolored.

You can see the discoloring better in this picture....ewww. (don't judge)

These are the materials I used: Glidden Gripper Primer, Valspar Black Chalkboard paint, Greased Lightening Multi-purpose spray, Frog Tape, and 300 grit sandpaper.

I washed the slow cooker with the Greased Lightening spray 
(It is amazing at washing up greasy surfaces)

I also lightly sanded the surface, washed off the dust, and put Frog Tape on the areas that I didn't want painted.

This is what it looked like after one coat of primer.

and after 2 coats of primer

 After one coat of chalkboard paint

After two coats of chalkboard paint


While it's out I might as well use's how I make chili:

 The ingredients

Amy's Sweet Jesus Chili
1 pound 95% fat free ground beef
medium onion, chopped
medium pepper, chopped
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
6 oz can tomato paste
15.5 oz can black beans (undrained)
15.5 oz can red beans (undrained)
half of a 12 oz can of Coca Cola, Dr Pepper, or Pepsi 
3 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 tablespoon of cumin
1/2 tablespoon of smoked paprika
1/2 tablespoon of Sriracha Hot Sauce

Cut up a medium onion and a medium pepper (I used little snacker peppers)

Mix the raw ground beef and the peppers and onions in the pot.

Add the remaining ingredients (do NOT drain the beans...that's where a LOT of the fiber is at)

Stir well to mix and then turn on the slow cooker.  4 hours on high, or 8 hours on low.


What slow cooker recipes do you love?

Join me in the 2014 Pinterest Challenge and share your Pinterest successes

originally posted on