Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Picture prompts are fun, but these are better.

Everyone has used picture prompts in writer's workshop at one time or another. Sometimes I just print out hilarious and weird pictures of my dog, Lucy, and have the kiddos write about her. It's funny because, well, it just is. But since my students have heard so many stories about Lucy from me, it's exciting to get their chance to write about her adventures. And they do it oh so well! Lucy has been a zombie, a superhero, a fart machine, etc.

Just think about the stories my kiddos will write about these recent pictures...

I don't spy on you!

In case you can't read this:

Dear Miss Caminiti,
(And then stick figures labeled "me" and "you.")

Dear Miss Caminiti,
I really like how you dress like really pretty and get your hair pretty. I don't spy on you!

***This just made my day. It's the little things!

Wordless Wednesday

I'm linking up with Christine from "Sugar and Spice," for a Wordless Wednesday linky party!

Our fourth grade teachers teach the Just Say No program at our school. We're supposed to start it this week. One of my teacher friends passed along a great newspaper with articles and activities for the kiddos, but I'm wondering if anyone else has ideas? 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tried It Tuesday: Culminating Activities for Novel Studies

Let's link up with Fourth Grade Flipper for Tried It Tuesday!

I'm always on the hunt for fun ways to end a novel study. Wrap up a read aloud in a neat little bow! I read Wonder earlier in the year and did lap books. That was sweet. When I finished The One and Only Ivan we brainstormed character traits and made Tagxedos. For Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, I made these story elements organizers (Theme, Perspective, Setting, Genre) and BLEW THEM UP on our school poster maker. Kiddos got in pairs and filled in the cloze activity and then presented to the class.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Fair isn't everybody getting the same thing...

Fair is everybody getting what they need in order to be SUCCESSFUL.

I love that quote. So much so, that it hangs in a picture frame on my wall when you walk in the classroom.  I have a tons of cheap dollar store picture frame all over the wall next to the door in my classroom. Class rules, quotes, pictures, fist to five...etc. One AWESOME frame has my class picture from when I was in fourth grade. And the caption is, "Can you find Miss Caminiti in HER fourth grade class picture?"

Nobody ever can!

I had mega-huge glasses and wore some kind of tribal vest with beads hanging off of it. Not really my 2014 style. Anyway, this is a cute idea. I thought I would take it down in the beginning of the year, but the kiddos stare at the picture while we line up and they like it!

Oh yea, and I hot glued those frames to the wall.

Monday made It Linky Party

I'm linking up with Tara from Fourth Grade Frolics for Monday Made It!

This is a throwback made it, if that's okay. 

Since I use the Daily Five in my fabulous fourth grade classroom, I knew I needed a meeting area, a few years back. I saw some impressive pinterest crafty ideas, and I was fairly certain that I didn't have the skills to pull them off, but I figured I would try anyway!

So, I went to IKEA and bought two sturdy white, vertical, bookshelves. I built them and flipped the on their sides, horizontally. They were 50 bucks a piece and totally worth it.

Next, I took a 20% off coupon and headed over to JoAnn's for fabric and foam cushions.I used a spray adhesive and hot glue to get the fabric to stay on the foam. Since the fabric cushions slid around, I hot glue them down to the bench. I can peel them up if I want, but kiddos don't slide all over on the bench this way.

I had also picked up some $1 pillows at IKEA! The polka dot theme continues!

Anyway, I decided to use the compartments underneath to organize part of my math center games, so I bought some dollar store bins, decorated them with printable math labels, and VOILA! Meeting area/math center organizer! I love it!

I use my meeting area every day, several times a day for class meetings, read alouds, or discussions. I'm not sure how I would survive without it!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Spark Student Motivation Saturdays

I'm a day late...but I'm still linking up with Joanne from Head Over Heels for Teaching for Spark Student Motivation Saturdays! (Sunday...oops!)

Today is all about my FAVORITE FREE IPAD GAME! It's educational and awesome. And it's called...FRACTION KITCHEN!

Now, my school has an iPad cart with 25 iPads, so I requested this game be put on each iPad for when I borrow the cart. I also have a few iPod Touches in my classroom, so I put this game on those as well.The kiddos will literally do ANYTHING to play Fraction Kitchen. Motivating, right?

This game is cool because the kids select which meal they would like to make. They slice fruits and veggies and place a certain fraction in tupperware. They need to crack a fraction of a dozen eggs. They need to convert times when using the microwave. Lots of fractions and math! It's so much fun!

One warning: Sometimes it's hard. This is not a September in fourth grade game. I introduce it in January, when we've dipped our feet in the fraction pool a bit.

A Peek At My Week Linky Party

Today I'm linking up with Jennifer from Mrs. Laffin's Laughingsfor "A Peek at my Week."

So, this week, we're looking at three days of NYS Math testing. At least our school is testing in the morning this year. Last year we tested in the afternoons, and it was horrid!

When we aren't testing, we will be continuing our Social Studies online experience on Mission US, focusing on the American Revolution. This is a free site, and all kiddos need to do is register. We registered last week, and just login to play.

Our class is also participating in novel studies. I allowed kiddos to select the novel they would like to read, from a variety of appropriate texts that I wrote novel studies for. Basically, I've been modeling this all year through our read alouds. With a read aloud, we have a storyboard set up on the easel in the meeting area outlining all important story elements. This is the center of discussions. After reading and discussing a chapter, students answer short response questions either with myself or with a partner in their novel study journal. Now, our class read alouds will continue as they always have, but during Daily Five, students will work on their novel study when they are not meeting with myself. Check out some of the novel studies I created recently that my kiddos adore. These are AMAZING read alouds or independent reading texts! Click the covers below.

Saturday, April 26, 2014


Check out Tagxedo!

You can pay for this website, but they offer plenty for free, so I don't pay a dime. Basically, go online to Tagxedo and choose the picture you'd like. Next, type the words into the website, choose your color scheme, create, and print! VOILA! Awesome word cloud, done! I used this website while brainstorming character traits for the animals in the text The One and Only Ivan, and the kiddos had a blast! In that text, we brainstormed character traits for Ivan, the gorilla, and put them in a word cloud shaped like a gorilla! The other main characters are elephants, a dog, and a girl, so we used those shapes for the animals' character traits! The tagxedo word clouds also looked pretty sweet hanging outside my classroom!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Five For Friday Linky Party

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching this week for Five For Friday!

A fellow teacher filled me in on the sweet new website, Flipquiz. Basically, it's a free website, just register, and you can create jeopardy style games, and save them to the website. It's easy! It takes just a few minutes to create a game. I've played as a review game, and the only thing we have to do is keep score off to the side. Which is fine.

I feel a bit slow this year, but we're just wrapping up the American Revolution. I decided to let the kiddos play Mission US after taking the American Revolution quiz. Our school is lucky because we have iPad carts, so everyone can play at once. Here are some other American Revolution activities we've utilized throughout our unit (The Letters to King George III were hysterical!):

I just love Mr. Nussbaum's website! I usually let me kiddos play the math games, and they are really awesome! They're standards based, and organized by grade level, color coded. Check them out! (I love Sal's Sub Shop and Teacher Dodgeball, personally!)

This is a total flashback, but after playing Mission US, but kiddos asked for a review of Vikings. Not really. They just love the game VikingQuest that we played at the end of our Explorers unit, so we had a little flashback for the last 10 minutes of class. Click the link below and check it out!

Remind101 is a great website that I've been using for the past two years to communicate with families. It's cool because parents sign up if they would like, and it's free for me. I usually get about 2/3 of my class to sign up. Then, I can go onto the website and send out messages. Usually, parents opt for text messaging, but some of them request my messages to be sent via email, which works, too! Sign up for next year!