Thursday, March 31, 2011


Happy last day of March!!!  Tomorrow is our last day of school before Spring Break (and I'm not fooling!!!).  Get it??

Zach (from Ms. Foster's class) brought in owl cookies for a snack and he (of course) had to bring me some.  L.O.V.E. it!!!
Abby Lou made a diorama for her group's chapter book, Tuck Everlasting, and presented it to the class; it was GREAT!  I'm very impressed she made this on her own without prompting; she definitely went above and beyond!

We continued our peer scoring of our ORQs that we wrote on Tuesday and began scoring yesterday.  Today, our comments on "post-its" were removed and the ORQ was given to another peer to score.  Then, all comments and post-its were reapplied onto the one sheet and given back to the student so he or she could have two sets of opinion and much feedback.  It was also interesting to see how "spot on" a lot of the students were as they gave almost all of the exact same comments and scores without seeing what the first student had said.  It was cool!  Now, with the feedback from their peers,the students are rewriting their ORQs with great knowledge and understanding of how to use a scoring guide and the task at hand.
HOMEWORK: FINISH spelling packets and... FINISH reading of group's chapter book by tomorrow and take an AR test on it BEFORE dismissal.

Students turned in their quizzes from last night's homework.  Then, we took another quiz over fractions with a tougher ORQ so I can really assess where we stand with fractions, what needs to be re-emphasized, and where we go from here (kind of like my roadmap!). 
HOMEWORK: none tonight :)

PM activities:
we have an On-Demand due to Ms. Borders by tomorrow so we worked on those this afternoon.  Students could choose from one about changing up the school menu from pizza every week, or another about a school president.  We are really growing along our writing journey!

Spring Break starts at 2:35 tomorrow!!!
Mrs. Thomas  

PS, Here's the pictures from yesterday that I could not get uploaded!
Daniel with his cabbage

Abby-Lou enjoying her reward of getting to sit at my desk

Alyssa doing her reward (with Tabi-Cat as a helper).  Her reward was "teaching time" where she got to have time to teach us anything she wanted.  She taught us, "The Shark Song".  So cute!

Alyssa and her "teaching assistant" :)

action shot!

Micah GREEN is wearing GREEN!  :)

Tabitha and her book report!
 ...AND...some extra pics:

Are YOU ready for Saturday?!?  I'm sooooo nervous!

At my nephew's school, they're celebrating READING week so yesterday, they were to dress up as their favorite book character.  He was "Sloppy Joe" from the book, Sloppy Joe.  Have YOU read that book??  It's so cute, and well, he really looks the part!  haha!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Today is the second to last day of March...I always feel like it is the longest month EVER, but wow, it really has flown by (as I said yesterday). 

**"Abby-Lou" got to sit at my desk today, all day, as her reward for her "Earn and Reward" card's stars all getting colored in.  "Peanut" earned his reward today and will be moving his desk anywhere he wishes tomorrow.  Exciting things are happening with these cards and we are loving every bit of it!
**Tabitha presented her book report for reading today on a book she recently finished about Hurricane Katrina entitled, I survived.

We went through our reading passage from our assessment and peer scored a neighbor's!  This was so I could coach the students on how to use a scoring guide and rubric to score a '4' on an ORQ.  After reading the passage, I modeled what a '4' should be using what was asked in the prompt and expected from the rubric.  Then, each student was allowed to score a neighbor's response to offer good insight through compliments and constructive criticism.  It is more for the scorer than the scoree because the scorer learns what to look for in an ORQ and what should be included.  Therefore, on future ORQs, he/she can better plan out his/her response.  Because over half of the class has not done this before with me, it took almost the entire class time.
HOMEWORK: complete ONE activity of choice from "think-tac-toe".  Also, continue reading group's chapter book in order to finish by Friday!

Have you ever started something and realized, "well, this didn't go as planned?!?"  Well, that happened today in math.  It actually didn't just go as planned, it was an almost trainwreck!  Ahhhh!  Thankfully, we were able to salvage what we needed from the activity and will re-do it tomorrow, especially now that students are clear on expectations and ready to listen and learn.
HOMEWORK: a quiz was sent home to complete.  There are 8 multiple choice questions and an ORQ.  Students: ROCK your parents' socks off with how well you are able to write an ORQ!  Show them how you know EXACTLY what to do...teach them!  Parents: the scoring guide is on the back of what is expected to score a '4'.  Let you student explain to you what they know and show you how great they can complete these tasks! 

PM activities:
Since Alyssa earned her reward from her 'Earn and Reward' card, she was able to have "teaching time" with the class!  She taught us the 'Shark song' which was actually a great indoor activity for exercise!
Next, we only had a limited supply of computers so in order to get everyone time to work on our photobook (, AND do Science, we worked in shifts on the laptops while the remaining students watched a segment from the "Planet Earth" series about the importance of water around the Earth as we transition into studying the Water Cycle.
HOMEWORK: none. 

Recently, I came across a resource used in another classroom here in Fayette County that I was really impressed with and I feel is a great incentive for students.  It is called HOMEWORKOPOLY ( and is played just like Monopoly, but is positive reinforcement for completing assignments and homework. 

I personalized a board for use here in our classroom that has the street names to fit GSE and our community, as well as the chance and “community lunchbox” cards that are the actual rewards.   
The gist of how it works:
**For each day the student brings back an assignment, he/she gets to roll a di and land on a space.  They must go completely around the board once to begin earning the rewards (community lunchbox or chance), or do activities per the menu for each street name.
**If you’d like to view this GREAT incentive I'll be using or for further instructions, the site address again is It has everything you need (the board, instructions, etc…) to see how it works. 

Mrs. Hawthorne got us started on a GREAT project where each student was sent home with a cabbage...ya know, you may have noticed the small green plant coming home with your child today?!?  :)
Anyway, it is actually a Mega cabbage plant and is used as a fun and educational incentive for gardening season.  Each student received one Mega cabbage to take home and grow in his/her own garden and a handout in the Wednesday folder called, "Bonnie's 3rd Grade Cabbage Program" which included instructions on how to best grow and care for the cabbage plant, along with directions for entering a contest to grow the biggest one (see for all the information you need if the info did not make it home in the folder). 
A $1,000 scholarship will be awarded to one winner in each state.  The state winner is selected with the help of our State Department of Agriculture through a random drawing and we will select the winner from votes on our blog that will be sent to be judged.  You must turn in a picture with the "giant head" of cabbage to be entered and then I will post it for people to vote on whose photo should be sent in.  This is a great way to reinforce and practice the skills of the basic needs of an organism and keeping it nurtured in good health.  If you have further questions, you can visit the site I mentioned above or email Mrs. Hawthorne or me (and I'll ask her and hopefully get the answers you need).

anyway...sorry about the long post, but thanks for sticking around if you've read it all!
Have a great night!
2 more days until Spring Break!
Mrs. Thomas

P.S. My pictures (of Abby at my desk, Alyssa teaching, Tabitha's book report, and Daniel with the cabbage) are messed up for some reason today so I'll post them when I can get it figured out

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Happy Tuesday all!  Can you believe it is already our LAST Tuesday of March?!?  WOWZA!  Where has the time gone?!?
LOOK at these precious owls!!!  Aren't they GREAT?!?  Eva snapped this pic on her recent trip to the zoo and museum in Cincinnati....waaaaay AMAZING :)
Today, I got a special gift: an owl that has a solar powered head that moves back and forth constantly with the natural solar power around us from Erin Heil in Mrs. Ingold's class (also in my Reading class).  I L.O.V.E. it!!!  Gahhh..she's so sweet.  I love that I feel him "watching" me all the time.  Here's a little sneak peak...he's so cool!

All QUEST students made up their spelling tests that they missed yesterday.  I checked spelling activites from last night and you all continue to impress me daily on're so creative!!!  I really am so proud to be your teacher!  Students then completed their assessment of our recent skills (this was a tough ORQ in hopes to really get up prepped for anything that can be thrown our way).  We will be peer scoring these to get more practice with using a scoring guide/ rubric and identifying qualities present or not present in an ORQ by giving constructive criticism (using the rubric and teacher 'model 4' that we'll write together to guide us). Once students were finished, they had the option to: complete their "story kite", take an AR test over their completed group's chapter book, play a spelling game with a partner, or take 'comprehension card' tests with a partner.
HOMEWORK: continue reading/ working to complete reading of group's chapter book. 
**ALSO, work on spelling packet as it is due by Friday!

We were so very attentive today and got through so much instruction!  Our time was spent through guided practice, getting our hands on the manipulatives (fraction strips) we made yesterday to help us compare, order, and identify fractions (which was our learning outcome: I will be able to compare, order, construct, and identify fractions and their equivalents).
HOMEWORK: because we got through so much in class and did such a great job working on fractions, there is no homework.  Our brains got A LOT of exercise today!

PM activities:
Today was a switching day so our class went to Mrs. Ingold's class for Social Studies.  Mrs. Ingold's class came to me and we watched a video by paleontologists about fossils.  Students were given white boards and markers as they watched to help them record observations in order to meet our learning outcome: I will be able to use fossils to make inferences about organisms' lifestyles, habitats, and diet from the past.  Did you know that birds are relatives of dinosaurs?!?  Turtles too?
HOMEWORK: visit some of the fossil websites from last week if you can!

isn't this fossil AWESOME?!?  Eva got this picture for us too on her recent trip to a museum in Cincinnati! 

meeting a goal means rewards!!!

Guess what?  Alyssa was the very first person to meet her goal and get all of her stars colored in on her "Earn & Rewards" card!  Her reward for meeting this goal was some "teaching time" about the subject of her choice. GO ALYSSA!  Abby-Lou also met her goal this afternoon and will get to sit at my desk for her reward!

I hope you have a terrific Tuesday!
Mrs. Thomas

Look at alllll those colored in stars...and in less than a week! WOWZA!  Shew girl, YOU ROCK
WONDERFUL!  (from Eva's Cincinnati zoo trip)

isn't it BEAUTIFUL?!?  Gahhh...I LOVE owls!  (another pic from Eva's zoo trip!)  Thanks for sharing these photos, Eva!
Look where I went while you all were in specials...
I got to go to...the JR. BETA CLUB induction today!  Each year, 5th graders who have maintained a 3.25 GPA and above are qualified to be a part of our GSE Beta Club.  Why did I go, you may ask?  Well, I had almost every single one of these students last year in class (I had ALL of the officers in the videos below in class!).  Also, some of the students you will see in pictures are siblings of students in our class this year and I feel that this is something you can strive to be a part of as it is a wonderful organization!  Watch the videos of the officers and note how they have been elected to serve for this organization and how they are leaders of this school.  What fantastic representation we have here at GSE!!!

The officers (L-R): Sarah Black, President; Ike Ducas, Vice-President; Josh Szydlik, Secretary; Carly Littleton, Treasurer; and Annie Vandenburg, Membership Chair

Haley :)  She is Hannah S's big sister (and she was in my homeroom last year!)

Savannah :)  Our Caroline D's sister (and she was on the Governor's Cup Academic Team)

Paul :) (he was in my homeroom last year)

Allison :) (she was in my homeroom last year AND on the Academic Team this year)

Hannah :) (she was in my homeroom last year and on the Academic Team last year AND this year

Carrie :) (I had her for Math last year and she was on the Academic Team this year)

Jemima :) (She is Tabitha's sister and was on the Academic Team)

Alex B. :) (she was in my homeroom last year)

Annie (Left) and Clara (to my Right)

my Hannah :)
To all my former students in Beta Club, I am SOOOOOO very, very proud of you!  You were so very wonderful to have in class and I know life is going to take you through many wonderful journeys.  Just promise you'll come back and visit your old 4th grade teacher!

To my 3rd graders, this can be you in just 2 years!  Can you believe that?!?  I believe in all of you and know that your potential is limitless!  Reach for the sky and you'll land among the stars!  You know the sign that's the magnet above our door?  I believe every bit of that quote from Dr. Seuss, "Kid, you'll move mountains!"  And I am certain all of you can and will! 

Monday, March 28, 2011


HELLO ALL, and HAPPY MONDAY!!!  How about those C-A-T-S CATS CATS CATS?!!!!?  Were you even able to sleep last night?!?  I know I certainly had trouble winding down!  They were incredible and I'm so happy we're back where we belong: up on the big stage, dancing away!!  It's been a loooooong time since we've been here, but we're back and I hope...ready to attack!!

Happy day :)

L.O.V.E. it!!!

it's been a looonnng 13 years!

clapping in celebration and pride for his teammate...what GREAT enthusiasm!!!



such a touching moment between a coach and a player :)

teammates through and through
All students who were not gone to QUEST, took the Spelling test.  Questers, since I did not get a chance to test you today, you will test tomorrow and turn in your packet to me as well.  I also passed out our NEW packet which is Lesson 9.  Since we are back on a normal schedule with NO other circumstances, these packets are DUE BY THIS FRIDAY (April 1st...and NO, I'm not foolin'!). 
Today in class, we took an assessment for our skill of focus this week.  Questers, you will do this during Independent Practice tomorrow.
HOMEWORK: Complete ONE activity for your spelling words.  I gave out 2 NEW pages of "think-tac-toe" so you now have 36 more options to choose from when selecting an activity!  HAVE FUN!
**ALSO, you need to have your group's chapter book completed by THIS FRIDAY and will turn the book in to me before you leave for SB.  You will get your new book to take home over break and get some chapters read during any down time, boredom, or while traveling. 

We continued working on FRACTIONS!  To do this, we were given "Fraction Strips" (each broken down with lines into separate fractions so we can compare them) and were to color each strip/ bar a different color and then cut them out.  This gave us manipulatives to get our hands on fractions and compare them.  Next, we reviewed with some pages from our text book and worked on comparing fractions and finding equivalent ones independently so our brains could really get some exercise!

PM activities:
Mrs. Weiler (Elise's mom...she is SOOO FANTASTIC to us!!!) came and showed us our class project that we will have ready for the Spring Carnival: it is a photobook and is so incredibly cool!  EACH student will get to design a page of his/her own in the book...and guess what?!? 
**If you are reading this blog right now, you can access it straight from here or at other times on your own! is the website. 
**Click on the orange photo icon under the Walgreen's logo at the top. 
**Then, log-in on the right side in the orange text box.  Our username is:  Your student has the password written on a sticky note that is in his/her planner (didn't want to reveal it here for all the world to see...ya know, being that we're so famous! :)  tee-hee).
**Next, you click on the blue file folder in the middle of the page entitled, March 2011. 
**On the left side, you will then see a selection menu.  Click on: projects; then, "my projects"; and our class photobook will pop up.
**Your child should only be working on the page number that coincides with his/her classroom number (he/she knows the number) and this site is pretty user friendly.  Just play around with all the designs and options that you can use and have fun!  I will upload all the classroom pictures I have saved here and you can play around with those as well. 
**If you have a picture or pictures at home that you'd like to use, you may upload them as well.  Be as creative as you wish and we should have the best class project EVER!  It will be waaaaay more personalized than a yearbook!
**Expect to see a letter from Mrs. Weiler coming home in the Wednesday folders and if you have any questions about getting logged on, you can contact me by email or here at school!

Have a wonderful Monday evening!
Mrs. Thomas
we WILL add to our banners in RUPP (with it at least saying, "Final Four"), but we will add one of THESE?!?  HOPE SOOOOO!!!

Weekly Happenings: 3.28.11 - 4.1.11

This Week at Garden Springs:

March 28 - Monday (Day 1):
3rd MAP Testing Window Continues (3/7-5/25)
2:45-3:30p: 3rd Grade Lego Club
2:45-3:45p: Performing Arts Club Rehearsal

March 29 - Tuesday (Day 2):
Beta Club Induction from 12-1pm

March 30 - Wednesday (Day 3):
Spirit Day (wear your GSE t-shirt or sweatshirt)
7:30-8:00a: K-Kids
Teacher Sub Day (Grades K-2)
Principal’s Newsletter Distribution

March 31 - Thursday (Day 4):
2:45-3:45p: Ecology Club
5:00-7:15p: FRC Math Night

April 1 - Friday (Day 6)
12:30-1:15p: Intermediate Awards Program
1:30p: Fire Drill
2:45-3:45p: Chess Club

April 4-8

Spring Break!!!

Friday, March 25, 2011


Hello everyone and Happy Friday!  Lexington Mayor, Jim Gray, has announced that today is "BLUE & WHITE" day in celebration of our UK Wildcats playing against Ohio State tonight in hopes of advancing to the 'Elite 8' in the NCAA tournament!!!  I hope we pull off the big 'W' (win) and the BIG UPSET!!!  Can we do it?!? Oh goodness, I am N-E-R-V-O-U-S, but soooooo very hopeful!!!
Our UK student, Miss Golan, was here to teach us a lesson on vocabulary words.  She had us get into our reading groups and assigned each group 3 words.  The group was responsibile for putting on a skit to act out these words in their correct context (usage of the word).  The audience was responsible for staying alert by writing in the sentences stated by the group containing the words, and identify the 3 spelling words used.  It was really fun and the groups did a GREAT job!
HOMEWORK: REMEMBER...your spelling packet is due MONDAY, so complete it over the weekend and study those words for your test!

EXTRA a.m. activities:
I love this sportsmanship and team camaraderie!
in between math and reading, we played some math games that my math class is familiar with: Baseball Multiplication and "Slap-it".  We had a blast and I loved the "sportsmans-like" conduct I could see and hear from many  students encouraging others.  It was great!  

We reviewed homework from last night about equivalent fractions and corrected any misconceptions about them or mistakes.  Next, we went on a FRACTION HUNT around the school to locate all the things broken down into equal parts (bookshelves, the tiles on the floor, door frames, bricks, the concrete blocks the school walls are made of, clocks, signs, etc...).  The students had a great time and found that fractions can be found almost anywhere on anything, we just had to focus upon them! 

Here are some great websites you should visit to practice and have fun with math:

PM activities:
we reviewed and scored our NCAA brackets, did some spring cleaning, reviewed some more math.  Finally, we ended the day with book buddies with Mrs. Hubers's Kindergarteners which we always enjoy!

Have a GREAT weekend and GO UK!
Mrs. Thomas

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Hi friends and happy Thursday!!!  Too bad this weather has not cooperated with our spring-like minds!  Booo.... 

Our hall wall is PACKED with projects!
And ALL are from reading!
Today was the day of projects GALORE!  We have really been focusing intensely on summarizing as that is our skill for this week.  Most groups were finished with their sequence/ summarizing chains, so I then assigned the groups "Reading Kites" where they were to make a kite and separate it into four parts: one part had the title with the author, the next had the main characters, another had students identify the main idea and support it with at least 3 details, and the final section had the students identify the Author's Purpose and support it with rationale and examples from their book of choice.  Independently, the students completed their "a Walk Through..." activity and "Taking a Critical Stance t-shirt" activity as well.  Finally, for word work, the students were to create a code for each of their spelling words.
HOMEWORK: complete spelling packets and have a good understanding of the meaning of the words as that is what Miss Golan will be focusing upon tomorrow in her lesson!

again, we continued to work on fractions and the students are really doing well with them!  Today, we completed cutting out fractions from paper that represented a "whole".  The fractions we cut today were twelfths, sixteenths, and ninths (some students even got to cut out thirty-secondths!).  From these paper fractions, we were able to actually get our hands on these visual representations and manipulate fractions so we could understand their size and how they can be related to other fractions.  Therefore, we began the skill of equivalent fractions and these students picked up on them faster than I have ever seen! 
HOMEWORK: complete pages 93, 94, 95, and 96 from workbook 3B

PM activities:
We got to attend the annual GSE P.E. program and it was WONDERFUL!!!  Each grade had a class to represent it and perform a dance to a Disney theme song.  From 3rd grade, girls that consistently exhibit model behavior in gym or talent with the manipulative skill were chosen.  From our class, Alyssa, Lisa, Lauren, and Tabitha were selected and got to perform with hula hoops and jump ropes.  They were FANTASTIC of course and we are sooooo proud of them!
From L-R: Lisa, Lily, Mara, and Tabi

Maddie, Olivia, and Lauren

Marvelous Miss McKenna!

ALLLL of the girls that I am lucky enough to have in a class of mine!

we were so proud of our 4 homeroom representatives!
Lisa, Lauren, Alyssa, and Tabi!

Following the completion of the P.E. program, we came back to the room, had a short D.E.A.R. session and then packed up to go home.

I hope you have a thrilling Thursday night and come back for the P.E. program at 6:30 if you can; I PROMISE, you DON'T want to miss's sooo cool!
Mrs. Thomas

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Do you ever have one of those days where things just don't even get a chance to start off right??  Well, I am having one of those days!!  My very last pair of contacts ripped.  You may say, "well, why don't you just wear your glasses then?"  My response to you is, my only pair of glasses are broken too...well, now slightly broken, slightly repaired because Mr. Thomas sealed the broken side back together for me with mighty putty.  Yes, they are a sight to be a seen and I don't think you can understand the humor in them until you can actually see here's a pic...
Under normal circumstances (meaning, if my glasses weren't broken and I actually went to get a new pair), I would wear my glasses multiple times weekly because I greatly enjoy wearing them, soooo....I guess here is my sign to get off my tail and finally go get some new ones (well and some more contacts too, of course!).

Anyway, the show must go on...


Today we continued working on our skill of summarizing what we read.  Groups finished making their sequence chains and were then responsible for using the events of our story to make one summary sentence that could give a brief synopsis of the entire story.
Group C's sequence/ summary chain
Independently, students also worked on a project entitled, "A Walk Through...." where they literally gave a walk through their book.  The students traced their own feet and used them as footprints.  On each footprint, an event of the story was written to help sequence the events.  Finally, the students glued the footprints down on paper to make a path, or "walk" through the events of their book and created a summary sentence to summarize all the events into one thought.

Erin and Maddie tracing their feet

Tabitha is ready to "walk" us through her book

Micah's "walk" through her book!

Her footpath led her (and us) to a better understanding of her book!
As word work, the students worked on using the power of their words and took a stance (an author's opinion) to make a shirt displaying their view on an issue of their choice.  Their slogans and shirts were really creative and turned out great!
HOMEWORK: work on spelling packets

"Human Fractions"
We continued working on FRACTIONS!!! First, we began by reviewing homework.  It is terribly difficult to review homework if the student does not have it with him/her or if that student has rushed to do it in the morning before he/she comes to me.  Homework is intended to be practice at home, without the teacher's supervision to work on the skills and concepts we focused upon that day, independently.  This gives me a true gauge of understanding and shows me when we can progress further.

After reviewing our homework, we made "human fractions".  To do this, I call different amounts of students at a time to stand in the front of the room.  The rest of the class observed them and then made fractions based on what they saw.  Some we heard were "three-fifths are wearing jeans", "one-eighth has on glasses", "four-eighths or one-half have on an orange or red shirt" (I particularly was impressed by that fraction because it showed the student was thinking ahead and adding like fractions together...what a higher level skill!), or "sixth-sevenths have brown hair".  This was a great activity because the students were encouraged to make fractions of their own and were seeing them life-size. 

Finally, we put fractions into our hands by cutting paper.  First, we cut a piece of paper into fourths, then eighths, then thirds, and then sixths.  From there, the students were visually and kinesthetically able to compare fractions and see which were bigger than the others and which fractions could combine to make another fraction, therefore sometimes creating equivalent fractions.
HOMEWORK: none tonight.

PM activities:
We have started a new switching process where students get Social Studies on Tuesdays and Thursdays and Science with me on Mondays and Wednesdays, while Fridays are days of review.  We felt that there is much content that needs to be covered prior to the end of the year so we made the appropriate modifications to our schedules to ensure these subjects being continuously taught. 

Today however, we finished working on an On-Demand writing piece which is a persuasive letter to Mr. Canizal to come and teach us some lessons on Spanish.  The students are REALLY progressing well with the on-demand writing process and concepts of writing!

Have a wonderful Wednesday, my lovelys!!!
Mrs. Thomas

Here are some recent things that have made me smile (besides this warm weather)...
You may remember hearing about Cathryn, my niece.  Well, she is driving now (scary...yes!) but we took a drive down to the beach of the KY river in my hometown of Winchester.  Together, we made this heart, but it symbolizes to me how she completes my heart! 

NO, I did NOT do this (as you can clearly see, it's old because it's been weathered over), but saw this on a tree down by the river on our little trip and assumed it was a sign made just for me!!!

Nathan, from Mrs. Ingold's class, gifted me with this fabulously unique little owl! 

Isn't he the COOLEST?!?  Thanks Nathan!!!