Monday, March 30, 2015


Hellllloooo and Happy Monday! The sun is shining, the warmth of the weather is on the increase, and the CATS are still dancing!  Life is GOOD GRAND!
We had a busy day of learning as we begin the week before spring break.  Don't forget: Stations of the Cross is THIS FRIDAY, April 3rd at 1PM!  Our sweet 5th graders have been working so hard on making it a great performance- we hope you can make plans to attend!

LEARNING TARGET: I CAN identify the most important details to summarize the information in a text.
Upon entry, students were given an "entrance slip" activity to assess summarization content knowledge.  They were asked to think of a predator, then make 4 notes about that predator.  They then created a summary statement about that predator and wrote a summary paragraph and turned it in for my quick comprehension check.  We then discussed upcoming 4-H speeches.  These are a mandatory assignment for an assessment (summative) grade.  Please review this packet with an adult and decide on a speech topic.  Finally, while I worked with small groups, students worked on their summary/ main idea packets and summarizing the fables posted around the room using only 4 words.
example of brainstorming organizer for speech (if we were to give one about 5th grade here at SMA)

HOMEWORK: 4-H Speech topic and blue organizer web due by Wednesday.  Complete summarizing packet except for test (last page)

LEARNING TARGET: I CAN rename fraction differences
We reviewed subtracting fractions and having to borrow from the whole number which is a different skill to grasp.  If you remember learning borrowing in basic subtraction and how that can be a difficult skill to tackle as a younger elementary student, imagine taking away from a whole number and making it into a fraction and redistributing that borrowed number in order to subtract.  It's crazy, but they're getting it!  We also worked on converting a mixed number to an improper fraction and back to a mixed number.
Finally, students were given class time to work on their textbook pages for homework and play games with a deck of cards to review fractions.
HOMEWORK: MATH 1 ONLY: workbook page 59
MATH 2 ONLY: complete textbook pages 192 and 194 (MATH 2 ONLY) AND subtraction of fractions test Wednesday; 
ALL: Simple Solutions #s 25. 26, 27, 28, and 29 due Friday with 25, 26, and 27 due Wednesday

Students took their summative assessment over cells and then worked on Monarch Butterfly projects with iPads.
HOMEWORK: Science display boards due by tomorrow

Class time was devoted to science assessment and Monarch projects.

Students had practice for Stations of the Cross play
HOMEWORK: practice readings and roles

Have a magnificent Monday!  Tomorrow is RESOURCE DAY AND our Holy Thursday service at church at 1PM.

Mrs. Thomas

And for my fellow CATS friends, here are some favorite photos from this weekend at the request of some of my esteemed 5th grade fan fanatic fellers:)
Love some KAT

Safety first!

that's right.   NOT. DONE.  2 more, people... TWO. MORE.

yes, it most definitely did.

Friday, March 27, 2015


Wellllll Howdy, Gents and Judies!  What a fantastic Friday we've had today!  

I had many a 5th grade friend that were super sleepy this morning and I must admit, I was too- all for one very worthy reason...

#BBN this morning...amirite?  It was worth it to witness THIS

We have our FINAL FOUR in our Tournament of Books as selected by our esteemed 5th graders!!!
CliffsNotes HERE
The Giver by Lois Lowry
CliffsNotes HERE

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
SparkNotes HERE

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
SparkNotes HERE
LEARNING TARGET: I CAN identify the big ideas/ most important details to SUMMARIZE a text.
We began by reading a passage from our Benchmark series about "The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt." We used it to identify the big ideas and then used those big ideas to write a summary, which has been our practice for the entire week.  I then gave the students a quiz over our reading and discussion (an exit slip) and some were better listeners/ participants than others (these will be coming home today). We then used our summary organizer to go from the medium summary to an even smaller summary.

HOMEWORK: read through YOUR Final Four books from YOUR bracket for Book Madness (HINT: in the spirit of summarizations, you will be having to write a synopsis about YOUR top 4 books in class on Thursday before we vote on the class Final 4).

LEARNING TARGET: I CAN rename fraction differences.
Students turned in their renaming fraction practice pages.
HOMEWORK: none (weekend)

HOMEWORK: test over cells is MONDAY, March 30th

Students took their assessment over Chapter 6, lesson 3.

The kiddos went over play lines, readings, and practice with Mrs. Schleg.
HOMEWORK: memorize lines and practice readings

We also had 4-H Club meeting today with Mrs. Priest!  Students learned about their upcoming speeches they will be giving.  They practiced some speaking aloud speech tips and even practiced with enunciating by using tongue twisters.  THIS is the world's hardest tongue twister as dubbed by researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).  Click HEREHERE, and HERE for more science behind why it and other tongue twisters are so tough...they're quite interesting!
Have a fabulous Friday and a wondrous weekend!  Can you believe we'll know our NCAA Final 4 by Sunday night?!?  Ahhhhhh!  PUMPED.
Mrs. Thomas

P.S., Stations of the Cross PLAY is NEXT Friday, April 3rd at 1PM!  Please make plans to attend :)

4th/5th Grade "Racing to Read" Contest:
A little background...

Mrs. Schleg and I were standing in the hallway Wednesday morning as we usually do, greeting students.  We were observing the wall in between our doors and realized we needed an update and wanted to do something FUN/ interactive for the kiddos, but also incorporate content.  Thus, "Racing to Read" was born.  We decided to include the 4th grade as we compete to see which class can read the most minutes between now and Derby.  Students are encouraged to read, read, read and log those minutes for each week!
isn't it sooo cute?!?  Mrs. Tobe did such a wonderful job!  There are still a few additions she'll be adding, but our horses are off and running.  Look at poor "Harry Trotter" in last place :(

Week ONE:
4th and 5th grade kicked off their Racing to Read contest at Monarch Downs! Here are the results from this week (March 23, 2015 - March 27, 2015):

We raced out of the gate at full speed, let's see how long we can hold this momentum.
This week's race results"
4th place:  5T with 3,170
3rd place: 4Y with 3,355
2nd place: 4R with 4,731
1st place: 5S with 4,857

Ummmm, we're in last place.  Yiiiiiiikes.  NO BUENO.  We only had FOURTEEN kids log their minutes!!!!  No siree, that just. will. NOT. do.  Let's step. it. UP. people.  Step it up!!!

Spring Break officially begins ONE WEEK from today!

Daxter mad bro?!?
We see you, Notre Dame.  We. see. YOU. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015


Rainy Thursday...

How did we go from it being so fabulous yesterday to this ick today?!?  Yuck.
We completed our FIRST round of voting for our Book Madness Tournament of Books today, going from the Sweet 16 to the Elite 8!  We will be voting on the FINAL 4 tomorrow.

Our Elite 8 books are:

Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

A Corner of the Universe by Ann N. Martin

The Giver by Lois Lowry
CliffsNotes HERE

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
SparkNotes HERE

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

LEARNING TARGET: I CAN identify the most important details to summarize the information in a text.
To get us in the summarizing mood, I first put the students in partner pairs and gave them a fable to read.  The students then had to summarize the fable using only 4 words.  It was tough, but it was fun and we had a tremendous time!  Many were asking me if we could do it the rest of class.  While that would've been great, we had much else to get to.  There were 26 fables and most students only got to read 4-5 and complete the activity, so I posted them around the room and the students have until next Friday to complete them.  They're really enjoying them and nothing makes an old teacher friend happier than when her students enjoy the lesson in which she was teaching :)
Here is an example of how this activity looked...

After our fable activity, we read our text excerpt from our poster for today's lesson from Benchmark Literacy about predators and prey.  We again practiced with the concept of reading a text and noting the big ideas from each paragraph.  We then used those big ideas to write a summary.  Students then worked on their Superheroes articles and the summaries they wrote yesterday.  They used their large summaries and worked to omit less important details to condense it and have a medium size summary.  Tomorrow, we're getting even smaller with it!  They are freaking out about what important details and I keep assuring them that that is part of the process of summarizing and part of the skill in which they need the most attention as a 5th grader in this life skill.
HOMEWORK: complete at least the front and back of another page in the summary practice packet.
Big summary-> medium summary-> small summary organizer

LEARNING TARGET: I CAN rename fraction differences.
Students are learning to subtract with fractions which includes unlike denominators, mixed numbers, subtracting a fraction from a whole number, and borrowing.  The borrowing is the toughest part because we have to borrow from a whole number, make it into a fraction, and add it on to another fraction all before we can even think about subtracting.  And if the denominators are not the same?!? That's a whole different story too!  These kiddos' heads have been spinning, but day-by-day we are making progress and figuring it out.  We will get there!  Promise :)
HOMEWORK: Subtracting Mixed Numbers worksheet (MATH 2: odd numbers only; MATH 1: one side of each page given to you by Mrs. Schleg.

Students reviewed Chapter 6 in preparation for their assessment tomorrow.
HOMEWORK: STUDY for test TOMORROW (Friday, March 27th)

The class went over jobs for their Monarch Butterfly projects
HOMEWORK: STUDY for test MONDAY (March 30th); have Science Fair cardboard display ready by Tuesday to work on at school.

Play practice at church for all.
HOMEWORK: review readings and memorize lines.  Play is NEXT Friday, April 3rd at 1PM.

Have a thrilling Thursday evening and GO CATS!
Mrs. Thomas

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


Hello all and HAPPY WEDNESDAY!  What a B-E-A-U-TIFUL day, yes?!?  While windy, the temps were delightful and it was refreshing getting the kiddos out to enjoy :)

I missed posting yesterday (sorry!) and while it was resource day and you did not miss much in the form of announcements/ reminders, we did something extremely important in the form of an extra special day... YESTERDAY (March 24th) was MARY'S BIRTHDAY!!!
Happy, HAPPY day you special girl!  Oh how we LOVE you so!
LEARNING TARGET: I CAN identify the most important details to summarize the information in a text.
Today we practiced with the concept of identifying the big ideas in the text and then using those big ideas to create a summary.  We practiced by using our Benchmark series lesson from today where we read a story entitled, "Horatio at the Bridge" about the Etruscan people who took over Rome in 600 B.C.  Using this story, we identified the big ideas and then compiled a summary,  For independent practice, students reread their superheroes articles and used their organizers they completed to write a lengthy summary about the article, using all the big ideas from the organizers.  This is a process where we are learning to reduce and omit details to make a concise summaries about that in which we read.   Tomorrow, they will be reducing these summaries even further.
HOMEWORK: complete AT LEAST one page (front and back) in Summary packet.  Do NOT complete back page of packet!
Copies of packet: pages 1, 2, 3

LEARNING TARGET: Math 1: I CAN subtract fractions with unlike denominators.  Math 2: I CAN rename fraction differences.
Math 1 worked on subtracting fractions with unlike denominators.  Math 2 worked on subtracting fractions from whole numbers and borrowing with fractions.
Videos from instruction: Fractions SHMOOP; Mario Fractions  
HOMEWORK: Math 1: workbook page 56; Math 2 workbook page 58

Students voted on groups for Monarch Butterfly projects and finished guided notes.
HOMEWORK: bring in BLANK display boards for Science Fair projects by March 31st.

Students watched a documentary on the Monarch Butterfly

Have a wonderful Wednesday evening!
It's almost SPRING BREAK!  Wooooo Hooooo!
Mrs. Thomas

Monday, March 23, 2015


Happy Monday!  Faaaaast weekend, yes?  Congrats to the Cards and the Cats on earning their way to the NCAA Sweet 16!

LEARNING TARGET: I CAN identify the most important details and summarize the information in a text.
When you summarize information, you state its big ideas briefly in your own words.  A summary connects and sum up the important ideas from a text and gives the general idea, omitting most details. We worked on these concepts in finding the big idea and identifying key words and phrases in a text to help us discover the big ideas.  I displayed a painting of settlers moving to the west and modeled how I could note details to give a summary of the piece.  We then discussed how we note the big ideas and details and reduce them to the main points in creating a summary.  To practice finding big ideas in text, I gave the students 5 passages, each about a different superhero to choose from.  On the board, I modeled finding important details using the Superman article and then plugging that information into an organizer.  These are our big ideas and key details that we will in turn use to write a summary.

HOMEWORK: read TWO superhero passages and complete coinciding organizer.  

Because I'm nice, I have provided screenshots of each passage and its organizer below:

LEARNING TARGET: I CAN rename fraction differences.
In this lesson, the fractions presented have compatible unlike denominators- i.e., the denominator of one fraction is a multiple of the other denominator.  This means that the LCD of the two fractions is the greater denominator.  Subtracting fractions with compatible unlike denominators can be expressed in a variety of ways.  However, we will continue approaching the problems just as we did with addition: by finding the least common denominator.  Video from class HERE.

HOMEWORK: MATH 2 ONLY- complete workbook page 55 and worksheet given in class.  
ALL: Simple Solutions pages 20, 21, & 22 are due by Wednesday; 23 and 24 due by Friday.

Students worked on guided notes over cells.
HOMEWORK: test is Monday, March 30th.  Science Fair charts and graphs are due by Wednesday, but have them ready to work on during technology on resource day. 

Students worked on guided notes over Chapter 6, Lesson 3.
HOMEWORK: Test on Friday, March 27th

Students practiced lines for play.
HOMEWORK: Memorize lines; practice readings

Have a marvelous Monday!
Mrs. Thomas

Friday, March 20, 2015


Happy Friday, Gents and Judies!  Did you make it through the game(s)?  I didn't.


In somewhat related news, today is the International Day of HAPPINESS (yes, it's true!  I heard it on the radio and then looked it up to confirm).  Our happiness is a part of something bigger and is a way to connect ourselves to the rest of the world, so we briefly discussed ways to spread our happy and then began our day by listening to Pharrell's "Happy".  It was such a good, uplifting tune to start a dreary morning!

LEARNING TARGET (Reading and Writing): I CAN review and critically analyze historical fiction and demonstrate.
Students took their end of the unit Summative Assessment over Historical Fiction.  These will be entered into Sycamore asap and I will be grading the summative projects over the weekend and entering them as soon as possible as well.  I plan on grading, grading, grading while watching basketball, basketball, basketball out on my sun porch this weekend.  It is supposed to be beautiful tomorrow, so I guess a beautiful day of grading is in my future :)

LEARNING TARGET: I CAN rename sums of fractions with unlike denominators.
Students took a summative assessment over this concept.  We will be beginning subtraction of fractions with unlike denominators on Monday.
HOMEWORK: WATCH your basketball team in action -OR- look up stats of your team's game you missed and BRING IN AT LEAST 5-10 fractions from your team's performance on MONDAY!

Students had a guest speaker about sound.
HOMEWORK: none (weekend)

Students read Chapter 6, Lesson 3 and completed questions at the end of it.
HOMEWORK: none (weekend)

Students rehearsed the play with Mrs. Schleg
HOMEWORK: review lines and readings if applicable 

Have a sensational weekend and GO BIG BLUE!
Mrs. Thomas

I'm just going to leave this here...