My latest "Pinter-ations!"

Monday, May 30, 2016

'Mani" Thanks! A great end of year gift for volunteers!

Happy almost summer everyone! Hope that you are making it through these last few days or weeks! I have 6 days left with kiddos and then 2 more days to pack up my teacher life for 2 months! I really hate packing!! 

Packing is just as bad as unpacking! Why oh why must I pack up?? I mean, I know why but I still don't like it! 

So, another year has gone and I wanted to find a cute and fun (also not bank breaking!!) way to thank my sweet volunteers who have helped me this year. So I decided to give them a jar of "mani" thanks! 

All you need is a :

*pint size mason jar (right now Michaels has them for $1! Plus if you show your teacher ID, you get 15% off!)

*mini-manicure items (I also found mine at Michaels)

*nail polish (your choice of colour)

*something extra if you want and it can fit in the jar

I found the nail polish and cooling eye masks at TJ Maxx! They have great spa and beauty items for less. I had some extra room so I put some in there. You can add whatever you like though. 

I placed all the items in the mason jar and added my label and done! It's super cute and easy to make. 

You can download the labels for FREE! Click on the picture to download a copy. It is editable. 

 Click to download FREEBIE

Hope this helps make it easier for you! I'm excited to give this to my volunteers! Happy end of the school year friends! 

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Symbaloo: An Online Tool to you stay organized!

Hey all! I know it's been a while but I think I'm ready to blog again! :-) So glad you have come here to visit me-- again! LOL!

I have always been a tech-gifted person! I love technology and I love incorporating it into my lessons and classroom. If you know me, I am the IT (not IT but Information Tech) for my grade-level and lots of other numerous people at my school. So, when the opportunity came for me to have a blended learning classroom, I jumped at the chance! 

So, today, I'm here to share with you something that I and my students use. It's called Symbaloo.
I totally use it everyday. 

Symbaloo is great because you can have all your bookmarks that you use ready at the click. Before, I had to go to my bookmarks or have a bazillion short cuts on my desktop. 

I am a little ashamed to show you my desktop at school but it has quite a few shortcuts and files that I just need to organize! I'll get to it... someday! Actually, I have cleaned it up some but there is always something new to add! 

So, yes, that is my bookmark menu and then some. Then I came upon Symbaloo and it has made my start-up in the mornings easier and just getting my sites up and ready in a blink!

You can use Symbaloo for anything. Here is a screenshot of my teacher one:

I have all of my most used sites listed on my own Symbaloo. You can create single tiles or group them if you need to.  Seriously, a life saver! I log into these sites on a daily basis. You can color code your tiles to make it easy to find. I also created a group tile for all the songs we sing. I uploaded them in a sharesafe link. No more youtube or getting ads galore! If you haven't heard of sharesafe, you can view my tutorial {HERE}. 

You can create symbaloos for your students to use:

This is an example of one I created for Place Value. You can create tabs for whatever you are learning. I have ones for place value, keyboarding skills, phonics, for example. If you don't have time to create one, then you can search for one already made!

Here is an example of a Symbaloo I created:

My kids love doing Symbaloo in class as it is so easy for them to click and go! No more hearing, "Mrs. Hamlin, what do I click on?" 500 times over and then some. All the links you want them to view, play, or complete are in one place. 

Oh, did I mention that Symbaloo is free?? I created a Google account for my class so that I could keep my accounts separate. I really hope you will try it out. I KNOW it will save you so much time! Let me know how it worked out for you and your students! 

Take care! 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

It's a Turkey Trot Blog Hop!


  Welcome to “The Chalkies” Turkey Trot! We hope you enjoy a jog through our blogs gobbling up freebies, ideas, and recipes for some holiday joy!

We have a new blog name!  We switched out the word "Primary" for "Elementary". We want to meet the needs of any teacher K-6. Our blog has been thoughtfully designed to help you find what YOU need for YOUR classroom level!

I love those grade level tabs {seen above} that help me grab what I need. This trot will also take you through the grade level blogs of your choice.

We hope you enjoy this little meal from appetizer to dessert!

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Here is a little freebie to help get you through the Thanksgiving Holiday! It's a great activity that incorporates writing and craft and definitely celebrates the season. Plus, they look so adorable hanging up!

Click {HERE} to download your freebie!


It's a *glowing* one for sure! And literally a BRIGHT Idea! Ha!

I love Glow Sticks! They are fun, inexpensive, and kids will do about anything to earn one.  I use them as little boosters to help my kids who need that little push to keep them going or just an affirmation that they are on the right track.

For example, I might say:

Your writing is *GLOWING* with describing words!

You've had some *GLOWING* good choices these past few days! Keep making those great choices!

Your use of math manipulatives/strategies is really *GLOWING* today!

I like how you've been such a good friend to Sally! Those really are *GLOWING* friendship traits!

You can use them for anything and insert the word *GLOWING* into your praise as you give out a glow stick. Its amazing how students will perk up and puff up with that little glow stick necklace hanging around their neck. It's even cuter to see them explain to peers and adults why they have a glowing necklace on! It really does make their day GLOW a bit brighter!

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Cinnamon Sugar Pecans

Photo from

OMG!! Can you just smell them from the picture?? These are my absolute favourite during the holidays. I usually have a holiday party (or two) and these are a hit! The bowl rarely stays full. It's super easy to make and you don't have to pay $5 for a little cone of it when you can make a big batch for yourself and a few friends!

Click {HERE} for the recipe!

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I'm so glad that you joined us on our hop! I hope you gathered some great treats and more! If you liked my freebie above, I'd love for you to visit my store to see my other materials! I am placing my store on sale.

Click {HERE} to go to my store! 

Be sure to hop over to Sarah's First Grade Snippets! I can't wait to see what fabulous goodies and ideas she has to share! 

Sarah's First Grade Snippets!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, friends! :-) 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Cauldron of Words! A fun engaging activity and FREEBIE!

Hey everyone! Just wanted to share a quick activity that I am doing this week! You know how we have "THOSE IDEAS" that just hit us either in the shower, on the toilet, in traffic, or me.. early in the morning when I've woken up and can't go back to sleep?? So, yeah, that SO happened this morning! 

This week our phonics pattern is short /o/ and I was thinking of a fun and engaging way for my students to learn this pattern and it hit me! I'll get a big pot and have them scoop up words! I don't know about you, but I am always thinking of ways to incorporate everyday items or props to make learning fun! But then I took it even further, and this year, I am lucky to have a class that celebrates a certain October holiday so I decided to create a cauldron of words! 

It is super simple and I used what I already had. 

This cauldron or a large pot, if you cannot use this prop can be used, was one I had wayyyyy back in my play room. You can't see it but it's slightly warped. Ok, a lot warped. 

Then I bought some ping-pong balls. I found mine at Target. 36 ping pong balls for $10. 

Write whatever word pattern you are working on. I wrote short /o/ words and the HFW words we are working on and added ones that are repeat offenders for being read and spelled incorrectly. I colour coded them. I wrote the phonics words in black and HFW in green. 

For extra fun, I threw in some plastic spider rings and bugs, eye ball candy (all Dollar Tree items) and purchased some cheap spoon ladles from the Dollar Tree and my insomnia filled idea has come to life! 

Both my boys (my 3rd grader and 1st grader) were SO EXCITED to play with my center! They love Halloween as much as I do and couldn't wait to "try out"my center to make sure my class would like it! I *think* they did! 

The center is what you make of it! I made response sheets for you. There are 2 versions. Click on any image to download both! 

Hope this creates a fun and engaging activity for you! 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Getting Started with Student Data Notebooks: Series 1

As I start the school year, it is important that we all get our expectations and procedures down. One of the procedures that I want to make sure to start right away are my student data notebooks. Some teachers like/love the student data notebooks and some teachers do not feel them to be necessary. 

Personally I enjoy and truly find the value in using them. My students have used them for several years now.  You can read my original post about them {HERE}. Before I began them, I did a lot of reading as to the why's. I also read The Leader in Me by Stephen Covey

and was inspired by his 7 Habits of Happy Kids. I've linked the site above so you can check it out. I've always been a believer in kids first and giving them the choices in their learning (of course, the teacher is always the facilitator of learning, but you know what I mean!). So, I started reading more about student-led conferences where they were showing their parents their data notebooks and showing their parents how they performed on their tests. I was completely BLOWN away! Students, in upper grades mostly discussing data. Now, I am not going lie, data is not the most interesting thing in the world to discuss (unless you're a statistician) but 8-9 year olds talking about their scores and reflecting on what they needed to improve and score. Brilliant! 

Other reasons:

Students are responsible and accountable for keeping track of their data. 

Students write GOALS  (short term goals that lead to long term) for themselves and make small steps to achieve. 

It's a visual representation of their learning!! 

It's a written plan for success.

It's a great tool for parents.

I'm not here to convince you, truly! And if you are already reading this, then I've piqued your interest enough. I'm here to show you how I use them and how I've set them up. Every notebook is unique and all classroom needs are different. The best thing about these notebooks is that you can collect data for ANYTHNG!! 

Math Facts
Weekly Phonics
Letter sounds/names
Number recognitions
Science Weekly assessments


It all starts with ownership! My students start off with an "All About Me!" page. Oh, and did I mention, these are firsties doing this?? Yes!!! 1st graders!!! 

My little one helped me. My students have theirs already in their notebooks. I'll take some pictures this week of them. They came out so cute! Here Aidan told me that he likes to play and is really good at Art. For this page, I let them write what they wanted. I wasn't too specific. 

After that we talked about GOALS! This is a HUGE one. I read the book

This is a simple but GREAT book that appeals to kids. After I read the book we retold the story and talked about the small steps that the engine took to go up the mountain. I discussed with them that we all take small steps to reach our GOAL. 

I introduce my data notebooks one subject area at a time. It is WAY too much for me to introduce more than one subject area to my 1st graders. If you are an upper elementary grade, you may be ok with introducing more than one subject area. I start with one and it is for math facts. It is up to you! 

So back to my goal, you could do a goal for the quarter or year. I do one for the quarter (or grading period) and insert this into that particular section. So I had students think about a math goal. "What would you like to accomplish in math this year? What is your goal?" We brainstormed ideas and most students just wanted to pass their math facts and do "times" because they heard my students last year were doing multiplication facts when they left me. So they wrote that down. Again, I let them write a math appropriate statement. 

The statements need to be appropriate for the section you are working in but not so "teacher" driven. If you are directing every statement then that takes the ownership away from them.  I have given given stems such as,

My math fact goal...

My math goal is ....

I hope that these small (doable!!) steps help get you started! I'll be back later this week with Series 2: Setting up and the First Implementation

If you'd like to check out my Data Notebooks, you can view them {HERE}! 

Have a great week! 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Classroom Reveal: It's SUPER!

Happy beginning of the school year! I *think* I finally have gotten my school groove on enough to blog about my new classroom. I am sure I am preaching to the choir but starting back to school and getting back into the groove is ex*haus*ting!!!

I LOVE this!! I feel like this every day. It's a good tired because I love my class but it's beginning of the year tired. You get it! I know! 

We have a new block schedule that I am getting used to and just feel I can't fit everything into my day like I did last year so that has really thrown me for a loop. And my class is split for special area so I feel a little disconnected from the special area teachers that I really love. I am sure the stars and planets are also misaligned that is also adding to my loss of class/school mojo, too! LOL! I'll get there! 

What I do LOVE is my class! I say that every year and I am lucky to have another great group of kids to love on for the next 180 (now 170) days. I am SUPER excited to have created a super hero classroom for them! Now, I will have to admit that I am not a super hero aficionado (my hubby and kids are) but I thought, I could incorporate so much with character ed into it, too! Kids also love super heroes and they were so excited to see the decorations in my room! I didn't take pictures of everything in my classroom-- just a few! We've been busy! Here's just a few highlights! 

This bulletin board is outside my door. I used 2 Super Teacher's Clipart, typed their names on the kids,  and made buildings with construction paper. Very easy to do! 

This is also in my hallway and perhaps my favourite! I wanted to create a "Metropolis" feel to my classroom so I wanted a "city" of some sorts so I built this city! LOL!  I used reposition-able black vinyl to make this city. It was a 2-man job as one person had to be on the bottom to remove the backing and the other person had to be standing above you to hold the vinyl taut to make sure it didn't bubble. I linked you to the one I bought (I love Amazon Prime!!) as it was a perfect width for what I was making. If you plan on doing this, I would make sure you get the one that is removable as there are ones that are "permanent". It can get pricey. I looked at Michael's for this type of roll and it was way expensive for the amount I needed to use. I still have more than half a roll left! There are rolls with less footage but I didn't want to make a mistake and not have any leftover. 

My table signs! My husband said that they needed a cape! So each table lantern has a cape! It's hilarious! 

Super words for super kids! 

You can download my Superhero Creeds for free {HERE}! 

I love my little job chart! 

I love the idea of this little pocket on the back of the job cards to hold the little super heroes my kids made! 

I did not give them a pattern for these little heroes! They moaned and groaned about it but they did it and they are as CUTE as can be!! I only gave them a head and arms! I love the cape on the little guy on the left! So clever!!! 

I love the idea of ten frame days in school. The kids are loving it, too!! 

You can see more of my Super Hero Decor at my TPT store {HERE}. Tons of cuteness to make your classroom super! 

As always, here is our annual picture! I say it time and time again! I love these girls! They make coming to school worth it. No matter what stinky thing our district may do, we always have each other and I am so thankful for them. Some of us have been teaching together for 10 years and I think that is amazing! Here's to many more years together! Love you ladies! 

I hope you are having a great start to your year. Or if you are gearing up for your year to start, best of luck with all your preparations! 

Stay tuned for my blog series on starting Student Data Notebooks. I am very excited to share with you how I have set them up and how you and your students can best use them! 

Take care!