Thursday, November 29, 2018

Dazzling December Details


Reading
This month is reading workshop we will be continuing our nonfiction unit. The kids have learned different strategies to read nonfiction texts by identifying text structures, overcoming tough words, tackling the hard parts, and making connections to the topic.

Soon we will begin working in research groups and applying our non-fiction reading strategies as we read about extreme weather (blizzards, hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, etc). The kids will use what they know about text structures to synthesize within and across multiple texts. They will take what they have researched and learned and teach it to their peers.

Writing
We are learning about the genre of opinion writing. The kids are learning how to create a strong thesis statement (claim), support that statement with powerful reasons and a multitude of examples, and provide a strong concluding paragraph. Thus far, we have practiced our skills by writing opinion essays about important topics relating to us (for example, favorite type of ice cream, favorite genre of music, favorite restaurants, favorite type of animal, etc.). The kids have tried to be persuasive in their writing and convince others to believe in their thesis statement. As we further develop our skills in opinion writing, we will broaden our topics and begin to craft thesis statements based on bigger ideas that impact larger groups such as our community, country, and our world.

The month of December will find the kids diving deeper into the process of persuasive essay writing.  Throughout this two month unit the kids have learned how to use transition words and phrases to articulate and organize their thoughts, they have learned how to elaborate on the reasons they planned to support their theses, and how to support those reasons with detailed examples.  As we round out this writing unit, the kids will learn how to write a counterclaim to make their argument more persuasive as well as how to finalize their essay with a call to action for the reader.

Math
This month we find ourselves deep in the heart of Unit 3, Multiple Towers and Cluster Problems.  As we complete our investigation of this unit, the students will examine the mathematical relationship that underlies the pattern they see when a number is multiplied by a multiple of 10.  Additionally, they will develop strategies for solving multiplication problems with larger 2-digit numbers by breaking the problems apart in order to use number relationships that they know.  

You can help your child with multiplication and division facts at home using flashcards.  Below are math resources that you and your child may use at home for Unit 3.

Math – Unit 3
Multiplication Problems and Cluster Problems
Multiple Towers
Multiples
Multiplication Cluster Problems
Multiplicative Comparisons
Multiplying by Groups of Tens
Multiplication with Arrays
Strategies for Solving Multiplication Problems
Unmarked Arrays
Multi-Step Problems
Division and Multiplication
Learning Multiplication Facts
Division Situations
Division Strategies
Remainders:  What to do with the extras?

Social Studies
As we continue our study of Colorado History, the students will learn about various groups of people who have lived in or helped develop Colorado; the Native Americans, the European Explorers, the Fur Traders, Gold Rushers, and the early European Settlers.  Our study of these groups will involve the analysis of the positive and negative impact each group made on the other group and how each group influenced our current culture. Ultimately, the kids will select which group of people they feel had the most influence on CO, and they will then construct a persuasive essay using the skills they learned in our current writing unit to persuade their classmates why they believe their selected group was the most influential.

Sustainable Traditions Project
With the spirit of giving in mind, this month we will learn about sustainable traditions.  A sustainable tradition is a tradition that can be done each year. We will focus on sustainable traditions that “give back”.  As we build background knowledge on this subject matter, we will read various texts with real life examples. For instance, one article is about a 15 year old boy who started a group that gives new shoes to homeless children.  Another is about an 11 year old boy from Utah whose lemonade stand profits purchase wheelchairs for people in developing countries.

The kids will explore how they can create holiday traditions with their family that can incorporate this spirit of giving back.  For instance, the kids may choose to create a sustainable tradition in which each year they bake and decorate cookies with their family and they bring the cookies to a local nursing home to spread holiday cheer to the residents.  Another example might be to gather their gently used and no longer played with toys and books, wrap them, and bring them to a local women’s shelter to share with the children there.

The kids will create a digital presentation for the class which you will be able to view at home through their gmail account.  Each year I am amazed at the creativity the kids exhibit with this project. I have received a good deal of feedback over the years as many parents and kids have chosen to follow the plan created in school and have made it a tradition for their family.  I hope you find it to be a good talking point for you and your family, regardless of whether or not you choose to partake in the tradition.

Upcoming Dates:
December 18th-Gingerbread House (Financial Literacy)
  • More information to come
December 20th - Winter Celebration (Hot Chocolate Bar)
  • More information to come
December 21st - No School (Winter Break)

Friday, November 2, 2018

November Newsletter

Writing:
We are learning about the genre of opinion writing. The students are learning how to create a strong thesis statement (claim), support that statement with powerful reasons and a multitude of examples, and provide a strong concluding paragraph. So far, we are practicing our skills by writing opinion essays about important topics relating to us (for example, favorite type of ice cream, favorite genres of music, favorite restaurants, favorite type of animal, etc.). Students will be learning to be persuasive in their writing and convince others to believe in their thesis statement. As we further develop our skills in opinion writing, we will broaden our topics and begin to craft thesis statements based on bigger ideas that impact larger groups such as our community, country, and our world.  With the approach of Thanksgiving, students will be writing an essay about the three aspects in their lives for which they are most thankful.  

Reading:
This month, your child will focus on reading about different types of weather. We will begin learning new strategies for reading informational texts. Strategies include: note taking, analyzing text features and author's craft, identifying main idea and supporting details, and comparing information from different sources. Meanwhile, students will continue to practice their narrative reading strategies.
As always, I could really use your support at home….please
encourage your child to read.  Volume matters!!

Math:
We have started Unit 2 pertaining to data and measurement. Our investigation of measurement data commenced by gathering data on the number of raisins in a box and the height of fourth graders and first graders.  The students will then learn how to represent and compare the data they collected using bar graphs and line plots. They will determine range, mode, median, outliers, and whether the data is concentrated in one area or spread out.  Additionally, they will learn how to draw conclusions based on the data collected. Students will have the opportunity to create their own survey question, survey their classmates, organize, represent, and analyze their data.
You can support your child at home by continuing to practice multiplication math facts so he/she knows them “in a snap!”  Below are the links for Unit 2.

Unit 2
Generating and Representing Measurement Data

Data Collection


Organizing and Representing Data


Comparing Two Sets of Data


Describing and Summarizing Data


Working with Data

Social Studies:
We have started our Social Studies unit on Colorado History.  Students have begun to learn about the geography of Colorado and how the geography of where we live helps shape how we live.  In addition, we will study the early Native Americans who lived in Colorado and how they influenced how we live today.  Students will also learn about fur traders, explorers, and gold rushers. Our main focus in the study of these individuals is analyzing how these groups positively and negatively impacted Colorado and how they influenced the way we live today. 

Monday, October 1, 2018

October News

Math

The start of Fall Break will mark the completion our study of arrays, factors, and multiplicative comparisons in Unit 1.  When we return, we will begin our second unit pertaining to data and measurement. Our investigation of measurement will commence by gathering data on the height of fourth graders and first graders.  The students will then learn how to represent and compare the data they collected using bar graphs and line plots. They will determine range, mode, outliers, and whether the data is concentrated in one area or spread out.  Additionally, they will learn how to draw conclusions based on the data collected. They will then have the opportunity to create their own survey question, survey their classmates, organize, represent, and analyze their data.
You can support your child at home by continuing to practice multiplication math facts so he/she knows them “in a snap!” You also have access to Pearson Realize, as I mentioned in an earlier email.  Your child’s username and password is in his/her HW planner. On this site you can access video tutorials, games related to our content, and the math workbook.

Science
Students are currently researching their chosen endangered animal, how human behavior impacts their animal’s ecosystems, their animal’s place in the food chain,  and the impact on the ecosystem if the animal were to go extinct. Students are expected to include a call to action in their final product in order to encourage others to save their species.  The end product will be a brochure that the kids create and share with one another.

Reading
This month in Reading Workshop we will continue to think deeply about our reading, determine if we are truly reading “just right books” at our level that will help us grow as readers, and analyze our characters’ traits while providing evidence from the text as support. These are reading strategies we focused on in September, and we will continue to do so in October.  We will build upon these strategies by studying the theme of our class read aloud and independent books. Additionally, we will study how our characters change throughout the story, as well as provide specific evidence from the text that explains the reasons behind this change. Furthermore, the kids are working hard on writing reading responses that provide a detailed description of their character; traits, behaviors, motivations, obstacles, struggles.   
As always, I could really use your support at home….please encourage your child to read.  Volume matters!! As you discuss your child’s book with him or her, ask what kind of person the main character is and how he/she can prove that.  This will support what we are doing in class and give your kiddo a chance to show off his/her skills!
                                                                              
Writing                                                                                                                                         
During Writer's Workshop the students will continue drafting and eventually finish their narrative.  The lessons modeled will include how to write a reflective ending, editing/revising, using dialogue, and incorporating figurative language and sensory imagery. As always, I meet and conference with the kids to help them incorporate modeled techniques into their own piece.   
Buddy Time
We have been meeting weekly with our second grade buddies in Mrs. Graham’s Class.  The kids are forming a great bond as they enjoy a good book with one another. Recently, they utilized storylineonline.net and listened to some wonderful texts together.

Technolgoy Co-Teaching with Mrs. Fleet
4th Graders used Seesaw to communicate their understanding of numerical patterns. Students created posters that had factor pairs listed and built as an array for a given number. To communicate their understanding, students reflected on the strategies they used to determine each factor pair and explained how they would know when all factor pairs had been found. After recording their videos, students listened to other videos and created a list of qualities for great videos. They then reflected on their use of Seesaw as a way to communicate the critical thinking they used to find factor pairs. 

Upcoming Dates
October 19th: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Field Trip
October 8th-12th: Fall Break
October 31st: Halloween (more information to come)

Thursday, September 6, 2018

September Happenings

September Newsletter

Math

We will begin September continuing our study of arrays, factors, and multiplicative comparisons in unit 1. The kids will continue to find factors and factor pairs of numbers and cement their understanding of the concepts of prime, composite, and square numbers. Toward the end of the month the students will demonstrate their knowledge of the concepts learned in unit 1. We will then enter our second unit on measurement. Our investigation of measurement will begin by gathering data on the height of fourth graders and our second grade buddies. The kids will then learn how to represent and compare the data they collected using bar graphs and line plots. Finally, they will draw conclusions based on the data. Our study of measurement will continue into October.

Science

We are now fully into our exploration of ecosystems. Thus far the kids have studied biotic and abiotic factors that exist in ecosystems.  As September begins, we will dive deeper into the unit by studying the five characteristics of all living things, how biotic and abiotic factors impact each other, how plants and animals adapt to their environment, food webs and chains, and explore a variety of physical and behavioral adaptations. As we do so, we will study the different ecosystems that exist in our world and how human behavior impacts those ecosystems and the animals and plants that live there. Toward the very end of the month, the kids will each choose an endangered species to study.  They will research its habitat, diet, adaptations, its place in the food chain, the reasons it is endangered, and then they will craft a call to action with ideas on how to save the species. This information will turn into a brochure that the kids will create and share with one another.

Reading

This month in Reading Workshop we will continue to think deeply about our reading, determine if we are truly reading “just right books” at our level that will help us grow as readers, and analyze our characters’ traits while providing evidence from the text as support. During reading workshop the kids will be reading books at their independent level.  I will be conferring independently with readers as well as working with kiddos in a small group format as I focus on the aforementioned skills. They will use sticky notes, graphic organizers, and record their thinking in their Reader's Journal as they annotate their text.
I could really use your support at home….please encourage your child to read.  Volume matters!!

Writing

During Writing Workshop in September, the kids will mine through the seed stories they have written in their Writer's Notebook as they select a story idea for their first realistic fiction piece. I will model how to take a story idea for realistic fiction and create a main character who has fully developed internal and external characteristics and one or more conflicts to solve.  We will being workshop each day by working on a class story that I will lead and the kids and I will craft together. By doing this, they will see how we use techniques such as figurative language, dialogue, apt word choice, details and description, and paragraphing to create a detailed realistic fiction piece that shows vs tells about the character, his or her struggles and how he/she works to solve those problems. Once the kids have selected their own story idea, they will learn how to create a story arc to develop the plot of the story. They will create scenes for the story arc (all modeled by me first) and then ultimately begin their rough draft using their story arc and planned scenes as a guide.  

Technology

The first week of September I will be co-teaching with Mrs. Fleet, our technology teacher.  She and I will guide the kids at they learn how to use Seesaw as a tool for sharing their learning and progress with their families.  They will reflect on the work they completed during a math project last month. The kids had to find all of the factors of two numbers and create all of the arrays for those two numbers.  They will defend their solutions, explain the strategies they used to find all of the factors of the numbers, discuss any challenges theyhad as well as any changes they would make if they were to engage in the process again.  

Buddy Time

Our class met with Mrs. Graham's class at the very end of August.  The kids learned a bit about their buddy during this time. They had the opportunity to introduce their buddy to you using Seesaw.  They really were very excited for you to “meet” them!

Upcoming Dates

September 27th and October 4th:  Parent Teacher Conferences

September 20th: Digger Dash

October 19th: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Field Trip



Monday, July 23, 2018

Welcome to 4th Grade!

Dear Families,


           Welcome to fourth grade at Gold Rush Elementary.  My name is Jennifer Poli, and I will be your child’s teacher.  I am excited for the journey of a new year to begin and to experience it with all of the children and you!  I look forward to getting to know you and your child as we embark on this journey together. I truly look at my role as your child’s teacher not only as an educator with regard to the fourth grade curriculum, but as someone who will be a part of his/her growth as an individual (academically, socially, emotionally).  I teach with both my “educator hat” and my “mom hat” at all times, and I will do all I can to challenge and support your child as we grow together throughout the year.

           Allow me to tell you a little about myself as I will be spending a great deal of time with you and your child.  I earned my undergraduate degree in psychology from William Paterson University in northern New Jersey. My teaching degree is from Rutgers University, and I earned my Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from Temple University in Pennsylvania. I have been teaching for fourteen years, and I have had the privilege of teaching here at Gold Rush for the past five years. My own children attend Gold Rush, and to us, it is home.  


           Outside of school I enjoy spending time with my family.  I have two children; Brayden is nine and will be attending fourth grade at Gold Rush.  My youngest is seven. Her name is Brynn, and she will be in second grade this year. In my spare time I enjoy  cooking/baking, reading, hiking, physical fitness, and cheering on my children at their many sporting events. You can often find me on the football, soccer, baseball,softball field or basketball court when I am not in the classroom.  Kids sure do keep you busy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!


           I look forward to working with you and your child in the upcoming school year!  If you have any questions over the summer, please feel free to email me at jennifer.poli@dcsdk12.org.  I have an open door policy, and I feel that communication is an essential part of a successful school year so please don’t ever hesitate to reach out to me with regard to anything you or your kiddo needs.  I hope you enjoy every last moment with your child before the school year starts, and I look forward to meeting all of you soon.


Sincerely,


Ms. Jennifer Poli

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

May Happenings

Hello Parents.

As we round out our last month of the year, we have two important dates coming up to put on your calendar.


May 23rd is Field Day.  This is planned by the specials teachers.  Information will be sent home soon from them.

May 25th will be the 4th Grade Picnic during our regular lunch time.
If you would like to come and eat lunch with us, please meet us on the grass by the bus loop.  The kids may bring their lunch that day or buy from the cafeteria and then head outside.  We will enjoy lunch together from 12:40-1:00, and then the kids are off to their regular recess after that.  Feel free to bring siblings, other family members, blankets, etc.

May 25th is also the last day of school.


Reading Workshop
Our study of the comprehension strategy of summarize and synthesize will continue. Synthesizing information helps readers to see the bigger picture as they read.  The kids will learn how to be thoughtful readers who integrate new information with their existing learning to come to a more complete understanding of the text.  Their thinking will begin to evolve as they encounter new information.  I will model application of the strategy using text on the Maya, the true story of a young Afghan refugee, ancient Egyptians, and humpback whales.  As always, the kids will be given text at their reading level to read and independently apply the strategy.

Writing Workshop
The kids have completed their informational book and are witting one final narrative of the year that will synthesize all of the techniques they have learned thus far.  For their final piece they may write realistic fiction, science fiction, historical fiction, or fantasy.  They are really excited because they get to select their own topic.  Many are writing books similar to books they love to read.  This final piece will be hand-written into a small white book that they will also illustrate.

Math
During our last math unit of the year, the kids will be solving two-digit by two-digit multiplication story problems and division problems.  We are using different strategies, such as  standard algorithm and cluster problems as we do so.  Lastly, we are exploring standard algorithm and long division.  As always, the kids may choose the strategy they like best to help them solve their problems.

Science
We are currently learning about the sun, moon, and stars.  We will study the path of the sun and its various positions in the sky as well as how and why shadows are formed.  Additionally, we will  gather and analyze shadow data to develop logical conclusions about the sun's position.
Finally, we will study the various phases of the moon as well as constellations.  
As we complete our unit on the sun, moon, and stars, we will begin our final science unit of the year on electricity and magnetism.  In this unit, the kids will study the properties of magnets and the forms of electrical energy.  They will build circuits and study how electric current is changed into useful energy.  This is a very "hands-on" unit that the kids always love!  It is an educational and fun way to end the year!

Monday, April 9, 2018

What's Happening in April?

Reading Workshop

Starting the middle of April, we will begin our study of the comprehension strategy of summarize and synthesize.  Synthesizing information helps readers to see the bigger picture as they read.  The kids will learn how to be thoughtful readers who integrate new information with their existing learning to come to a more complete understanding of the text.  Their thinking will begin to evolve as they encounter new information.  I will model application of the strategy using text on the Maya, the true story of a young Afghan refugee, ancient Egyptians, and humpback whales.  As always, the kids will be given text at their reading level to read and independently apply the strategy.  

Writing Workshop

As you saw at conferences, the kids are very engaged in the informational writing process.  They have become experts on their selected topic and are currently in the process of completing their rough drafts, editing, revising, and publishing them.  At this point in the process they are paying extra special attention to using a teaching tone and incorporating text features in their piece.


Science

Now that our unit on YAT has concluded, we will switch gears and focus on Science for the remainder of the year.  Our next unit of study will be on the sun, moon, and stars.  We will study the path of the sun and its various positions in the sky as well as how and why shadows are formed.  We will also gather and analyze shadow data to develop logical conclusions about the sun's position.  
Finally, we will study the various phases of the moon as well as constellations.  

Math

During the month of April we will continue our study of fractions and decimals.  For the remainder of this unit we will multiply fractions by whole numbers, as well as multiply, add, and subtract fractions.  As this unit concludes, we will begin our study of unit 7, "How Many Packages and Groups".  The unit focuses on the operations of multiplication and division, including problems involving converting measurements.
**As always, you and your kiddo can log on to the Pearson Realize website for access to teaching videos, math games, and the HW pages connected to this unit.