Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Happy Leap Day, everyone!  This day only occurs once every 4 years so it is a day to find joy in having an extra day of your life to celebrate!

We had a bit of a crazy afternoon because right when we were heading to lunch, we were told to get in the severe weather position in the hallway!  We only stayed there for about 20 minutes and then headed to lunch, but it affected our schedule for the rest of the day.  I reassured the students, that while it is scary having to take these precautions, it is for their safety and school is one of the safest places to be in the event of inclement weather (we ARE in a concrete structure and inside the building by NO exterior walls, afterall!).
Because of 4H, we began our day with math.  I reviewed our homework which was subtracting fractions from a whole number and then introduced a new concept: Multiplying Fractions. 
To multiply a fraction (let's use the example 1/2 x 8):
1) Make the whole number into a fraction (8 becomes 8/1).
2) Line up the fractions side by side so the numerators are next to each other and the denominators are next to each other as well (1/2 x 8/1).
3) Multiply straight across to make a fraction product (so, 1 x 8 = 8; and 2 x 1 = 2).  The resulting fraction is now an improper fraction which is 8/2.
4) Convert fraction product (8/2) to a mixed number by seeing how many times the denominator goes into the numerator (2 goes into 8, 4 times, so the simplified product is 4).
HOMEWORK: "Multiplying Fractions by Whole Numbers" sheet - BOTH SIDES (MY CLASS); pages 159 - 160 in workbooks for Ms. Frderick's math class.

We had 4H from 9 - 10 and learned about the effects that drugs and alcohol have on our bodies.

Because of inappropriate behavior during reading groups yesterday, students had to work independently today on their Wright Brothers' Projects.  In class, they completed their historical narratives (reports) on the Wright Brothers using the primary and secondary sources they've had for the past week and a half.
HOMEWORK: Vocabulary Comprehension reading passage and questions; and "Primary & Secondary Sources" worksheet.

With success partners, students looked over a new chapter in their Science books and addressed the coinciding questions.

No writing today due to readjusting our schedule to fit in Science after our tornado warning.

Have a lovely LEAP night!  See you on March 1st!
Mrs. Thomas

TONIGHT is the APL parent workshop and the Bullying Information Night immediately after!  Please make plans to attend!
MARCH 13TH is class picture day.  If you are interested in buying one, please have money back to me to turn in by then.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


It's another beautiful day in our neighborhood, folks!  Hope you were able to get out and enjoy :)

To continue our focus upon primary and sceondary sources, students continued to work on their Wright Brothers' project and complete some skill pages on the concept.  I am so excited to see their final poster products! 
And HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Zalie Bug!!!  We love you and hope you had the BEST birthday ever!!!
HOMEWORK: Complete Vocab. Exercises 3&4; AND complete both sides of "Cowboys in the News" skill practice

We continued our focus upon identifying fractions of a set, and then learned how to subtract a fraction from a whole number:
Let's use the example 7 - 2/5 (7 minus 2 fifths):
1) Make whole number (7) into an improper fraction by putting it over 1 (7/1).
2) Use the subtracting fraction's denominator as the common denominator so you are able to subtract (5).
3) Convert whole number's fraction (7/1) into fraction with common denominator using the same rules for subtracting unlike denominators as we practiced last week (2/5 stays the same, but 7/1 becomes 35/5).
4) Subtract (35/5 - 2/5 = 33/5).
5) Convert improper fraction answer to a mixed number as we also practice last week (33/5 = 6 3/5).
HOMEWORK; complete workbook pages 155-156 (MY CLASS); workbook pages 157-158 (Ms. Frederick's class)

Students took an assessment over electricity and boy did they absolutely NAIL it?!?  Wowza!!!! 3 hoots for YOUUUU...HOOT, HOOT, HOOT, HOOOOOOOOORAY!!!

Hoot hooray
Students worked on writing their final paragraphs, describing WHY their experience was significant and/ or something they'll never forget.

Have a terrific Tuesday!
Mrs. Thomas

Monday, February 27, 2012


Happy B-E-A-U-TIFUL Monday to you! 

We are continuing our focus upon primary and secondary sources for information.  Thus, we watched THIS VIDEO about a local child getting stuck in a game machine and then read the article about it and compared the two sources. THIS GAME was a lot of fun to practice with as well! Next, we got in groups and students are working on a major project about the Wright Brothers, using the information they obtained and analyzed last week. 
Here are the components they must have on this poster/ PowerPoint:

a historical narrative written by the group addressing the questions in Step 2.
an organizer comparing and contrasting two sources of information (ex: Orville’s diary entry compared to his father Milton’s letter to a journalist)
a copy the two sources compared (example: diary entry and letter)
a copy of the organizer used to compare all of the sources
a brief description of each source, identifying which was the best and most reliable for information (assessment and enrichment – step 4).
completed Step 5: extension.
a copy of this brochure (click on link)

HOMEWORK: Complete Vocab Exercises 1&2 (we are in Lesson 12), as well as the analyzing primary and secondary sources packet.
Our WOW! Words for this week (2.27.12 - 3.2.12) are:
hors d'oeuvre

We worked on identifying fractions of a set.  It was pretty rough so we will need another day of practice and there will be no homework tonight.
HOMEWORK: none (MY CLASS); Workbook pages 153-154 (Ms. Frederick's math class)

Students took a review test over the concepts they've learned in their electricity unit.  They also watched a BrainPopJr. video.

We completed our creative writing from Friday where we created silly stories.

Have a marvelous Monday, everyone!
Mrs. Thomas

Friday, February 24, 2012


Happy last Friday of February, friends!

Students took their vocabulary assessments and I graded them and passed them back out.  Congratulations to Kaylee and Henry for receiving our only two PERFECT scores of 110%!  Many others received homework passes as well which is what I love, love, loooooove to see!
In class, students got in partners or in groups of 3 and read two different sources pertaining to their Wright Brothers projects: an interview from 1927 of a friend of the brothers and witness to the flight; and a newspaper article written in 1903 after the first flight.  They then had to compare and contrast the two sources through an extended response question.  Finally, they evaluated both sources in preparation for necessary project components next week.
HOMEWORK: none - Next week, we'll be using words from Lesson 12 in Wordly Wise.

We reviewed our skills from this week: simplifying fractions and converting mixed to improper and improper back to a mixed number.

With Ms. Frederick, students got to complete electricity stations from yesterday...using the iPads!!! 

We had some time to take a little break from narratives, so I gave the students some silly story starters and they created some really cute stories!  For example, one was a comic strip about a piece of bubble gum that wanted to be famous, another was a tongue twister about talking Tommy turtle, or we had a lunchbox that was conceited.  They turned out super cute and way hilarious!

aaaaand....we WON the popcorn party for this week in the Mad Scientist competition with Mrs. Edwards this week!  YAAAAAAY!  I'm so proud of our friends!

**"I love to read week" is March 5th - 9th
**DSE Bullying Workshop/ APL night (5-6 PM) is NEXT Thursday, March 1st (pizza and drinks!)
**our grading period ends March 7th - which means, report cards will be going home soon thereafter.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Hello all and Happy second to last day of the week to you!  I feel like this week has absolutely FLOWN by...maybe we need a 3-day weekend and 4-day work week every week?!? 

Thursday is work completion day due to students being in orchestra, QUEST, or both.  Thus, the students had many things to get done:
  • reading a 4th source in their Wright Brothers projects
  • completing an evidence evaluation sheet on this magazine article and filling in the appropriate spaces on their organizers.
  • completing a "Primary and Secondary Source" practice sheet
  • completing a "Native Americans of Chesapeake Bay" activity
  • and completing Vocabulary Lesson 4: Word Study Practice.
HOMEWORK: complete Lesson 4: Word Study; and complete the "Secondary Magazine/ Newspaper article activity sent home today (this entails finding a picture at home and becoming a secondary source through the construction of a newspaper or magazine article to describe what's going on in the picture).

We are learning how to simplify fractions (or reduce them to the smallest version of the fraction).  This is most definitely an advanced concept so we worked long and hard on getting to mastery level.
To simplify a fraction you must (using the example 4/12):
1) Look at fraction and see if numerator is a factor of denominator or if they have a factor in common.
2) List factors of numerator AND denominator (factors of 4: 1, 2, 4.  factors of 12: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 12).
3) Find greatest number that BOTH have in COMMON (common factors: 1, 2, 4 - so the greatest number in common is 4).
4) Divide numerator AND denominator by GCF (Greatest Common Factor - 4, so, 4 divided by 4 = 1; and 12 divided by 4 = 3).
5) Create NEW, simplified (or reduced) fraction with quotients: (1/3).  Voila...the fraction is simplified!
HOMEWORK: MY CLASS -->"Simplifying Fractions" sheet (FRONT SIDE ONLY!); MS. FREDERICK'S CLASS--> Do BOTH sides of "Simplifying Fractions" sheet. 

Students got to participate in FUN stations with electricity today!  At one station, they even got to use our BRAND NEW iPads!!!!  Wowza!

We are continuing our organization of our narrative drafts and pieces the paragraphs together to make one final copy of a rough draft.  Today, we also drafted our climatic paragraph which describes the BIG event happening in our piece (the topic for writing). 

I hope you enjoyed the warm weather and sunshine today!  Be safe if we get any of the severe storms they're predicting!
Mrs. Thomas 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Hello friends and Happy half-week over day to you!

We continued our practice of primary and secondary sources.  We also got to share our interviews from last night and they were super fun and everyone was super excited to hear how they turned out!  In groups, students read the next source of information about the Wright brothers' first flight which was a letter written from their father (Milton Wright) to a journalist on December 22, 1903.  The students were able to see that not all details and facts were conveyed accurately and got to see how a secondary source may not always be as great of a source as a primary one.  Groups D and B met with me for some identifying sources practice on THIS website and a "Millionaire Sources" game on THIS WEBSITE.  Group B even won the $1,000,000!  Ahhhh!!!
HOMEWORK: Complete Vocabulary Exercise 3 and "Hidden Message" crossword on back (you need word list 10 for this so I copied some more and sent them home with the students);  
ALSO: Please write a newspaper article about your interview with the adult at home.

We learned how to convert an improper fraction to a mixed number and how to convert a mixed number to an improper fraction.  When converting a mixed number to an improper fraction, you simply follow 3 steps (using the example 2 1/3):
1) multiply denominator times the whole number (2 x 3 = 6)
2) use product from step 1 (6) and add it to the numerator (6 + 1 = 7)
3) take total from step 2 (7) and put over original denominator (3) to make a fraction (7/3: seven thirds).  Voila!
When converting an improper fraction back to a mixed number (using the example 7/3), you:
1) see how many times the denominator will go into the numerator (3 goes into 7, 2 times because 2 x 3 = 6).
2) use the remainder and create a fraction with the original denominator (the original denominator was 3, and there is a remainder of 1 because 2 x 3 = 6 and to get from 6 to 7, you add 1, so the remainder and denominator combined make the fraction 1/3.  Thus, the mixed number is 2 1/3).
HOMEWORK: complete WORKBOOK pages 151-154 (MY MATH CLASS);

Ms. Denney (Ms. Frederick's sub) had the students complete practice with Series and parallel circuits.

I had the students begin making an outline for their personal narratives.  This is very detailed and is a crucial step in getting organized for our final pieces.The students also got additional recess as a reward for good behavior today when the rest of things around us were a bit chaotic.

Have a terrific night!
Mrs. Thomas

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Welcome back after a long weekend, friends!  I hope you had some wonderful extra time with your loved ones!

This week, we are studying primary and secondary sources of information in nonfiction texts. 
Here's a small recap of what was discussed in our whole group guided lesson:
Sources – materials that provide information.  You use sources to gather facts and details about topics you wish you learn or write about.
Primary Source – written at the time of an event by someone who was there.  A primary source is also called a firsthand account (synonym).  This is called a firsthand account because you are the one that saw it first.
Clue: one way to identify a primary source is to look for the word “I”.  This means that the writer of the source is reporting his or her own thoughts and experiences.
A letter from a soldier who fought in a war.
Benjamin Franklin told the story of his life in his autobiography.
Diary entries
quotes (a person’s exact words)
eyewitness accounts
even a picture!

Secondary Source – an account of an event that was NOT witnessed by the writer.  The writer most likely used information from several primary sources to write his or her account.  They are useful and important but are one step further away than primary sources are from the events they describe. (synonym-secondhand account)
Encyclopedia articles
magazine articles
book reviews

In groups, students are working on a project about the Wright Brothers and their first flight on December 17, 2003.  They will be given several different sources (a diary entry by Orville Wright; a telegram from Orville Wright to his father, Bishop Wright; a magazine article; a newspaper article; and a letter from Bishop Wright to a journalist) for information throughout the week that they must analyze to determine if they're secondary or primary and evaluate the facts learned from each.  At the conclusion of their reading of each source, they will determine which was the best source for the information needed and write a narrative piece.  It's really a fun project and very interesting to say the least!  For more information on the project, visit THIS WEBSITE.  Here is a VIDEO about the Wright Brothers and here is some fun practice identifying sources.
HOMEWORK: Complete Vocabulary Exercises 1 & 2 (we're in Lesson 11 this week).  Choose ONE activity from the "Tic-Tac-Toe" menu and complete.  ALSO, interview an adult at home about his or her job.  The interview must be documented on the paper provided and at least 8 questions must be asked. 

WOW! Words for this week (2.21.12 - 2.24.12):

I had to attend a meeting at Southern Middle School during math time so Mrs. Fitch came and tended to our math class while I was gone.  Students worked on reviewing adding and subtracting fractions, as well as using improper and mixed number fractions.
HOMEWORK: complete any incomplete activities from this time (MY math class); pages 151-152 for Ms. Frederick's math class. 

Students created a parallel circuit and visited THIS WEBSITE with Ms. Frederick.

We worked on creating the rising action of our narrative pieces by describing the setting and events leading up to the main action which is the topic of these pieces.

Have a terrific Tuesday evening!
Mrs. Thomas

Friday, February 17, 2012


Today was STOMP BASH day!!! YAAAAAAAAY!!!!!!  Congratulations to all our students who were able to attend!  I base my decision on many components having to do with tests and best faith efforts when taking them.  Behaviorally, the students have many consequences, but we must hold them to an even higher standard when it comes to effort and attitude towards content based performances.  Each test a student takes, I keep a "Best Faith Effort" checklist that looks over many components: is the student interacting with the assessment (highlighting, underlining, going back to reread, checking over responses), is the student taking his/her time, is the student not a distraction to him/herself or peers, is the student using complete sentences, is the student supporting his/her responses with information from the text, etc.  I also look at if they followed instructions and it is obvious they did their best.  Unfortunately, many students do not apply their best effort towards every test and their scores reflect that.  I just wanted you (as parents - or students reading this) to be clear as to how I judge Stomp Bash invitations.  I hope at our next Stomp Bash (my last before maternity leave) our ENTIRE class is there!
Puffing Dragon
Now, onto our day...
We took our vocabulary assessment over Lesson 10 words.  The students are getting better and better with our vocab with each passing week!  Make an ol' reading teach proud!
Next, I had the students take a mini assessment over point-of-view - it was just an ERQ!  Then, we created a scoring guide and 'Model 4' together.  Finally, we used this scoring guide and Model 4 to peer score a friend's ERQ and give positive feedback as well as constructive criticism.  It is a tremendous learning opportunity for all and the students love it!
Finally, we gave feedback (only praise!) to students' "fractured fairy tales" since we will be hanging them in the hall for all to see.
HOMEWORK: enjoy your 3-day weekend!  Next week, we will be using LESSON 11 words from Wordly Wise.  Look over them if you get a chance!  Do you have any WOW! Word suggestions?!?  Make 'em TOUGH!

The students took a quiz over adding and subtracting and comparing fractions.  We then peer scored with our remaining time.
HOMEWORK: none - enjoy your 3-day weekend!

PM Activities:
STOMP BASH!!!  I would have liked to have sent everyone, but we only had 13 able to go :(  Congrats to the students who made it!  We are proud of you and so happy for you!  Those of you who did not, I BELIEVE in YOU and KNOW (without question) that you'll be there next time!  You are always a STAR in my eyes!!!  I love you!

Remember, we DO NOT have school on Monday (Feb. 20th) in observance of President's Day!!!
Have a tremendous 3-day weekend!  I love you!
Mrs. Thomas

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Hello all - Happy Thursday!

Today was finish project day since we have many, many students gone to orchestra, QUEST, or both.  Most students had to finish their fractured fairy tales from yesterday, as well as a Narrative Perspective Practice sheet, and a point-of-view manual for extra skill practice.
HOMEWORK: none - but STUDY for Vocabulary test which is tomorrow!

P.S., Happy Birthday to Kaylynn, from Ms. Frederick's class (in our reading class)!  We love you and hope you have the most amazing day ever!

In both classes, we revisited our practice of improper and mixed number fractions.
HOMEWORK: none in MY class, but in Ms. Frederick's, students need to complete WORKBOOK page 147.

With Ms. Frederick, students learned about series circuits which are circuits that only have one path to allow a current of electricity to flow.

We worked on describing the thoughts in our minds at the moment of the big action in our pieces.  We then turned these two organizers into our exciting first paragraphs.

Have a thrilling Thursday evening!  It's almost a 3-DAY WEEKEND (NO SCHOOL Monday 2.20.12 in observance of President's Day)!!!  YAY!
Mrs. Thomas

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Happy Hump Day, Everyone!  I hope everyone is calmed down from the sugar rush of V-Day yesterday...bahahahaha!  I know I had MORE than my fair share of chocolates and sweet treats! 

We worked on comparing and contrasting the different points of view (first-person, third-person limited, and third-person omniscient - our class is also tackling second-person!).  To do this, we read two passages and then compared how the viewpoints were similar and how they were different.  We then took the second story and changed it to a different viewpoint and noticed how the feeling of the story changed. 
Next, we worked on changing fairy tales!  It was so fun because we red some traditional fairy tales from THIS WEBSITE and then put ourselves in the shoes of one of the characters to retell the story from a first-person standpoint.  The students worked on these stories in groups and THEY ARE HILARIOUS!  It's amazing how changing the point of view can really make a story so different! One student, Kaylynn from Ms. Frederick's class, is using the tale of the "Princess and the Pea" and she is writing as the pea...except she's an "Elvis" pea put there by the prince to ensure he 'rock-n-rolled' all night so the girl would feel it and fool his mother, the Queen, into thinking she was actually a princess worth his marriage!  Hilarious! 
HOMEWORK: "Life's Ups and Downs" reading/ Vocabulary practice.

We are beginning to look at improper fractions which go hand-in-hand with mixed numbers.  Improper fractions are fractions where they are "weird", meaning they have a bigger number in the numerator, than in the denominator - they are MORE THAN one whole (just like a mixed number!).  We worked on some introductory skills and then created improper fraction models of our own with partners.
HOMEWORK: WORKBOOK pages 147-148 (MY CLASS); WORKBOOK pages 143, 144, and 145 (MS. FREDERICK'S CLASS!)

Students first had to have a reteach with Ms. Frederick on getting our supplies and keeping our mouths closes at the beginning of class so not to inhibit learning.  Next, they were able to construct circuits of their own using the given neat!!

We selected our topics for our personal narratives and then worked on identifying the MAIN emotion during the CLIMAX (or BIG event) of that piece - the main event!  Then, we use our senses to describe this emotion at the time of the big event using full details and description to give our readers a clear picture of how we felt.

Have a wonderful Wednesday with your family and/ or loved ones!  Send well wishes to Mr. Banker (my father) - he is 60 YEARS OLD TODAY...ahhhhh!!!
Mrs. Thomas

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY, EVERYONE!  I hope you've had a great day!  Thank you to all my lovelies who gifted me with wonderful valentines and such love!
To work on point of view, I broke the class into two groups and told them to listen to THIS STORY from the perspective I assigned to their group.  One group was burglars, and the other group were real estate agents.  Then, I had both groups chart their feelings about the reading from their assigned standpoint and we compared the viewpoints of both groups as a class.  It was awesome to hear what they were thinking about while hearing the story from their assigned was really neat!
In groups, students completed comic strips from each viewpoint, created viewpoint flashcards, and working on reading a passage and changing it from one point of view to another.
HOMEWORK: Complete Vocabulary Exercises 3 and 4 (front to back on one worksheet) and the Narrative Perspective Point of View Practice sheet #s 4-7.  This is for ALL reading classes.

We continued our work on mixed numbers (a whole number and a fraction).  We reviewed homework from last night and continued work in some workbook pages.
HOMEWORK: none for my class; workbook pages 141-142 in Ms. Frederick's class.

PM activities:
We had our VALENTINE's PARTY and made a stained class heart and enjoyed delicious treat.

SCIENCE - students watched a video on electricity.

WRITING - we reviewed our prompts for our personal narratives that were assigned last night.  Students got to share theirs with a peer and a peer helped them select the one they thought they should choose to elaborate on through writing. 

Have a tremendous V-day with your loved ones!  I love you!
Mrs. Thomas

Monday, February 13, 2012


Happy MONDAY, my Valentines!!!  I hope I find you well, wonderful, and feeling very loved today!

We began our new skill of focus which is identifying the different points of view in fictional texts.
*In the first person point of view the narrator is telling a story and is a character in the story.  In third person point of view, the narrator is telling a story from someone else’s viewpoint and is not a character in the story. 
There are two different types of third person point of view: limited and omniscient.
The difference is: third person omniscient is written as if the narrator is watching all that is happening and knows what each character is thinking. Third person limited does not include the character’s thoughts. For example, the sentence, “The teacher proudly read the worksheet to her students,” is written in third person limited; the sentence, “The teacher proudly read the worksheet to her students and thought to herself, ‘I have the smartest students,’” is written in third person omniscient.
In groups, students were able to make comic strips from each point of view and begin making "point of view" flashcards. 
HOMEWORK: Vocabulary words were passed out (LESSON 10).  Please complete Exercises 1&2, a "tic-tac-toe" activity of choice from menu, AND complete Point of View Narrative Perspectives worksheet for reading practice.
In Ms. Schrader's and Ms. Frederick's reading classes, students need to review words, and complete "Narrative Perspetives" worksheet.

our WOW! Words for this week (2.13.12 - 2.17.12) are:

We began writing fractions as mixed numbers.  A mixed number is a whole number AND a fraction.  We use mixed numbers when we have more than a fraction, but more than a whole as well.  We watched THIS website.
HOMEWORK: complete workbook pages 141-144 (MY CLASS); workbook pages 139&140 (MS. FREDERICK'S CLASS).

Students watched a Bill Nye video about electricity.

We introduced our new skill of focus which is narrative writing.  Narrative writing is a story about ONE event that happened to the writer.  We write these with the hopes in making our reader feel the emotions we felt at the time of the incident. 
HOMEWORK: Choose 4-5 prompts from sheet and write 2-3 sentences. We are deciding on our topics TOMORROW so these MUST be done!

Have a tremendous night and don't forget your valentines or treats tomorrow!
Mrs. Thomas

Friday, February 10, 2012


 ¡Hola mi amigos y amigas! (Hello my friends!) ¡Espero que haya tenido un gran día!  (I hope you've had a great day!).
READING (Lectura):
We took our final assessment over informational text structures.  The students didn't exactly give their best efforts (many didn't give their full potential, but some did A-W-E-S-O-M-E like: HAYDEN, ASHLEY, EMILEE, AND RACARI!).  So, since most of us did not work to our full potential and capabilities, I worked with the students and coached them up to a score of '4', while Hayden and Ashley got some free time on the computer!  This lasted through our math hour.

MATH (matemáticas):
see above.

PM activities (actividades de P.M.): 
Ms. Warren asked that for best practices, the students go back through each of their questions from their assessment and complete a 'Prove it!' response for each.  This took them MUCH time to get done, but was a 'teaching for learning' experience because they were having to justify their multiple choice answers and responses by going back to the text and rereading.

¡Tenga un fin de semana tremendo! (Have a terrific weekend!)   Stay warm through our snow tonight...
and if there's enough...get out and PLAY in it (¡Juegue en la nieve!)
Mrs. Thomas

PS, Good LUCK to our participants, Blake and Jeremiah, tomorrow in the District Science Fair competition!  We KNOW you are going to do AWESOME and represent DSE so well!  We Thomas friends are so. so. sooooooooo. very, VERY proud of YOU!!!
ALSO, please see yesterday's post regarding our Valentine's Party on Tuesday (2.14.12)!

Thursday, February 9, 2012


ALERT, ALERT!  We are in DESPERATE need of pencils, glue, EXPO markers, regular markers, and construction paper!!!  We started the year with 3,000 pencils...yes, you did indeed read that correctly...THREE THOUSAND.  This is the amount of pencils that we would go through in 2-3 school years!  The students and I have had a serious discussion about our wasteful behavior and the importance of conservation of resources.  I let them know that they will need to bring in pencils!  I supplied them with the first 2,000 of our total...yes, TWO THOUSAND and they are obviously all gone. 
We also need EXPO markers, regular markers, glue (sticks AND squirt), and construction paper.  All of these are DAILY necessities.  Obviously, our pencil need comes first though!  So, if you are out and about this weekend and are feeling in the "giving" mood, we would be so very grateful for your might even get a VERY sweet "thank-you" from your friends up in Room 105!

Now, onto the events of February 9, 2012...
The week is almost over, friends, and I feel like we have really hit some tough content...hard!  Yay for us stepping up our working game! 
BE SURE TO see the bottom of this post for a very important note about our Valentine's party!

Students had opportunities to review and practice will all text structures: a text structure sort game, text structure analyzation by mapping of articles through organizers specifically made for each, and peer scoring neighbor's short-answer responses to identification of these structures.  Students were also able to give each other a practice assessment for their vocabulary tests tomorrow.
HOMEWORK: Complete "Book 3, Lesson 9 Vocab. Test"; AND read, "Wilma Rudolph, a Special Hero" article and complete short-answer response on back (<--this WILL BE a TEST grade!).

We continued our practicing of "adding fractions with UNLIKE denominators" by reviewing homework from last night and practicing with more of these concepts on activity sheets.  We also began SUBTRACTING with UNLIKE denominators which is approached the same way as addition: by finding the common multiples and then completing the computational process. 
HOMEWORK: complete

Students explored circuits with Ms. Frederick.  They did a scavenger hunt to test lightbulbs and which objects can conduct energy to light this lightbulb. 

We were able to continue typing our 4-square pieces!  Students are loving getting the opportunity to put these pieces in a typed format!
HOMEWORK: none, but next week, we are starting narratives!  Be conjuring up some ideas of memorable experiences in your life that you can write with great sensory details and description!

Look what John brought me today for an early Valentine's Day gift! 
Since I call John "my boo", I named him "BOO"!  Isn't it PRECIOUS?!?  I love, love, loooove it!

Have a thrilling Thursday evening!
Mrs. Thomas


Mr. Kirk has ruled that we are only allowed to have our party during our recess time...which is only 30 minutes.  Thus, I will set up the food station while they are gone to special area classes that day and will have them gather food on their way to lunch (since recess is immediately before lunch).  This means that we still need all of the food items I suggested before and students can still bring in valentines.  They were just need to prepare their boxes at home before the 14th and then when they get to school on the 14th, they can drop their valentine's in the boxes of their peers.  I will still work have the students make each of the crafts (I may let them choose 2 to make), but we will not be making the ambrosia salad. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


We're here...halfway through the week!  Whew!  How 'bout our CATS last night?!?  WOWZA!  Apprently, we LOVE to eat GATOR! 

We are continuing our focus of identifying the structure used in a nonfiction text.  Today, we looked deeper into the structure of "problem and solution".  To do this, we read the book, Winter's Tail, to emphasize a text structure where a problem is presented and a solution to the problem is described.  In groups, students worked on reading several different texts and completing organizers to match the structure they identified within it.
HOMEWORK: Mrs. Thomas and Mr. Harman's reading: Complete Vocabulary "Bully Solutions" reading and questions using vocab. in response (some words are used in question); AND complete "Save our Town" reading comprehension and short-answer response.
--In Ms. Schrader's reading, complete vocabulary homework and passage.
--In Ms. Frederick's reading class, there is NO homework. 

We reviewed adding fractions with unlike denominators review.  Students are really doing well with this and picking up on the concepts at is FUN to watch! 
HOMEWORK: Complete "Adding Fractions with Unlike Denominators Practice Page B" - (MY CLASS).
--Ms. Frederick's math class needs to complete "Adding Fractions - sheet 1".

Ms. Frederick was at a meeting today, so the students had a substitute and thus completed a practice ERQ over electricity and electrical currents.

We got to go to the library and type on our 4-square pieces...yay!  The students are so excited to be getting the opportunity to type!

Have a wonderful Wednesday!
Mrs. Thomas

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Happy Tuesday all!  One week until Valentine's Day...eeeeek!  I have so much to about YOU?  A letter about our Valentine's Party WILL be coming home with your student today.  Please check it out!  We plan to make edible valentine's cards; ambrosia (fruit salad); a puffy heart craft; and a stained glass heart craft.  I plan on making a delicious pink punch and an appetizer of some sort for the day of...thus, we will be in need of various other savory treats such as chips or veggies and dip, appetizers, or anything else you can well as supplies for our craft and volunteers to help run the stations.  It will be NEXT TUESDAY, Feb. 14th at 1:30PM.  We hope to see you there with all our hearts and love to pass around!!!

We first learned how to peer score an ERQ (formerly known as ORQ) and scored some from yesterday.  Next, we worked on activities where we had to read articles and identify the text structures in which they were written.
HOMEWORK: complete Vocabulary Exercises 3&4 sheet (NOTE: Students DO NOT have to complete the crossword puzzle on the back of the sheet under Exercise 4 - that is strictly on a volunteer basis for that part of the activities).
ALSO: read "Putting on a Play" article and complete short-answer response on back <- this emphasizes our skill of identifying the structure in which the text is laid out and finding details within the text to support our reasoning. 

We began working on the concept of adding fractions with UNLIKE denominators.  Watch this super fun video that we did to make this difficult concept FUN! In order to add a fraction, they must have the SAME denominator.  If they do not, then students must find the common number amongst the two different denominators and change both.  We practiced and practiced, but students may still be struggling.  It is OKAY to struggle a bit...please allow your student to do so as they are figuring out their problems on homework.  It is through the lessons in which they struggle, that they remember the most..if they are figuring it out on their own!
Visit THIS WEBSITE for an index of Fraction activities, help, games, and FUN!  Also, THIS website had some fun games and activities to print out and try at home...great ideas and skills we utilize for practice in class!
HOMEWORK: complete "Adding Unlike Fractions" worksheet. 

Ms. Frederick's class is also working on the same concept that they begin yesterday instead of today.  Their homework is: "Adding Fractions with unlike Denominators" worksheet. 

Students got to create circuits and test conductors of electricity with Ms. Frederick!  When I came in from teaching writing to her class, she said that they were SENSATIONAL!  So, YAAAAAY for good reports!!!  I LOVE, LOVE, LOOOOOOOOVE them!!!  Hooooooray!

Check out these AWESOME websites (I really recommend sites 3 and 4!) I found for Science and electricity and electrical circuits!
HOMEWORK for Science: none, but visit those websites if you get a chance...some are SUPER COOL!

We worked on giving feedback to a peer's paper.  Students were given a checklist of "look fors" on a neighbors paper and were to give constructive criticism based on these indicators for completion.  It is a great time of review, coaching, and grow for all students!

Have a tremendous Tuesday!
Mrs. Thomas

Monday, February 6, 2012


Friday, I took the student outside for a descriptive writing activity.  They were to find something in nature and describe it the best they could, without actually saying what it was...BUT the description had to be so good, we could guess what it was.  The students blew me away as their short time outside made for some AWESOME small writing pieces!  I had chills listening to our authors share!  Below is Tyler's from this activity (NOTE: our daily post/ homework is listed in the post below - before this one)

"  To the ants and crickets, is a giant jungle gym.  It pricks you as you lay on it, and some may even say that it makes you itchy.  To bees, it is like a police officer ready to sting.  Crickets play hide and go seek in it and find comfort for sleep at night.  As green as it can be, it can also be brown. Kids love to play on me - especially football!"


Hello all and HAPPY MONDAY to you!!  I hope you aren't too groggy after the Super Bowl last sure was a GREAT game and I am super happy to see a Giants win!  Who were you for?

This week, we are directing our focus to combining ALL text structures; meaning, we are reading articles and using signal words as clues to the text structure in which we notice from the passages.  This is most definitely a more complex skill than we've been using because I am not telling the students which structure they are reading, they must identify it themselves.
NOTE: Congratulations to MASON JOHNSON for being our ONLY student to earn a perfect 110% on his vocabulary test this past week!!!  Way to go, Mason!  We are so proud of you!!
HOMEWORK: VOCABULARY Exercises 1&2 and a "Tic-tac-toe" activity of choice from menu are due tomorrow (we are in Lesson 9 this week). <--this is for MINE AND MR. HARMAN'S READING CLASSES.
ALSO, read, "Harbor Elementary School" article and complete short-answer response on back.
Ms. Schrader and Ms. Frederick's reading classes are on Lesson 5.

our WOW! Words for this week (2.6.12 - 2.10.12) are:

We completed our retake of the Fractions quiz and peer scoring.  We also worked on finding fractions of a group and adding fractions with LIKE denominators (meaning, the SAME).
Ms. Frederick's class worked on adding fractions with UNLIKE denominators.  When adding fractions, the denominators MUST be the same, or else you must find a common number that you can change both fractions into.
HOMEWORK: MY CLASS - finish fractions worksheets from after quiz.
MS. FREDERICK'S CLASS: finish "adding fractions with unlike denominators" practice page from class.

Students started working on electricity with Ms. Frederick.  They were able to construct open and closed circuits.  These view this video and then had some fun with manipulatives.

We worked on finishing our rough drafts of turning our organizers into 5 paragraph essays.

Have a tremendous week and marvelous Monday evening!  I will be sending home a letter tomorrow about our Valentine's Party.  We are in desperate need of volunteers to assist that afternoon and of supplies for the actual party!  It should be on Friday, February 17th at 1:05PM. 
Mrs. Thomas

Thursday, February 2, 2012



Special thank yous to Hayden who was our SUPER STAR STUDENT for our substitute yesterday!  I came in in the afternoon when Ms. Collins was leaving and she was absolutely singing her praises!  Thank  you so much Hayden, for being a super example of what a phenomenal role model and leader is!

Also, honorable mentions to Tori, Kiyah, Shellby, Warren, Tyler, and Emilee who also had excellent reports as well!

Since today is THURSDAY, students had "project finish day" which is a day where they have time to complete any assignments they did not get finished in group rotations throughout the week.  I also checked in with literature circles and went over role sheets to ensure completion.  I still had about 5 friends not do their work, so they will have some work to complete and chapters to read over the weekend.  I hate to give so much to do but when we don't do our work and others do, it really puts a damper on plans for the group. 
Tomorrow, we will be taking our mini-assessment over "Cause & Effect" and students will also have their vocabulary/ spelling tests as well.
HOMEWORK: complete, "Proverbial Cause" stapled passages and questions.  Also, STUDY for vocabulary and spelling tests tomorrow!

We reviewed our math quizzes from yesterday and I worked with the students on creating a model '4' of an open-response question to score a peer's.  In Ms. Frederick's class, students moved onto addition of fractions with LIKE denominators. 
HOMEWORK: "Adding Fractions" sheet for MS. FREDERICK'S CLASS ONLYMY class will be retaking another fraction quiz since many did not show work on the one's hard to take a math test without doing any work!!  :o)

Students took a preview/ review quiz with Ms. Frederick over what they learned this week which was radiation, convection, and conduction.
HOMEWORK: look over reviuew quiz to prepare for test tomorrow.

We are FINALLY drafting our very first publishable piece...or at least, it will be in the end...hopefully!  Students could choose from 5 prompts:
1) My role model is:___________
2) My favorite teacher is:____________
3) If I could change one thing about the world, it'd be:_________________
4) If I could go back in time, I'd go back to:_____________________
5) When I grow up, I want to be a:_____________________

Have a terrific night!  Only 3 more days until the Super Bowl!  What will YOUR favorite commerical be?!?
Mrs. Thomas