Monday, August 21, 2017

August Happenings

Language Arts

As the school year begins, we are setting the tone and foundation for Reading Workshop; we are practicing what it looks like to engage in sustained reading, to think about our reading, to share our thoughts in a clear manner while being active listeners as other share, and we are working on building our reading stamina.  As the month progresses, we will learn how to annotate our reading by leaving tracks of our thinking in the text.  We will ask question, identify important information, make connections, and share our annotations with one another.  As always, I will model this strategy first, guide the kids through practice, and give them ample time to independently practice the strategy.  


We begin fourth grade by studying the components of a paragraph; a topic sentence, detail sentences, and a concluding sentence.  In addition, we will work to elaborate on the details and add more meat to the text.  The kids had their first experience doing this as they chose a summer memory to write a few short paragraphs about.  During this process, we touched on figurative language, appropriate use of punctuations, and transition words.  As we move into September, we will begin our first writing unit.  The genre is narrative writing.  September's blog post will contain specific information regarding the crafting techniques taught in this upcoming unit.  


Our first unit of study is on factors and arrays.  Thus far, we have explored a large group of objects and used our background knowledge of multiplication and repeated addition to create a variety of arrays that represent that group of objects.  We have used manipulatives when needed to assist in the creation of arrays.  Throughout the month of August, we will continue to build the foundation for one-digit by one-digit and two-digit by one-digit multiplication through our creation of arrays.

As I mentioned at Back to School Night, the kids will soon receive their password and log-in information for Pearson Realize.  They will then have digital access to the student math handbook.  (Please note that the pages must be printed and can not be completed digitally.)  This may be used in case homework is left at school.  Again, as mentioned at BTSN, I will post a few links to videos from Pearson Realize that will give you examples of what we are doing in class.  Your child will have viewed/completed the majority of the videos/tasks in class.  You may use them at home to keep yourself informed of what we are doing in class and/or to support your child at home if necessary.


Toward the end of August we will begin our study of ecosystems.   We will start by investigating biotic and abiotic factors, studying the characteristics of all living things, as well as create food webs and food chains.  Check out next month's blog post for further details. 


We will be buddies with Mrs. Graham's second grade class this year.  We have not met yet, but we will shortly.  Buddy Time is an amazing opportunity for the kids to develop bonds, build friendships, and share their learning with others - that and it brings smiles to all of their faces!

Digital Citizenship Week

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Welcome to Fourth 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!

            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, a small school in northern New Jersey.  My teaching degree is from Rutgers University in New Jersey, and I earned my Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from Temple University in Pennsylvania. I have been teaching for thirteen years; my experience ranges from Kindergarten to fifth grade.  I was a stay-at-home mom for three years after relocating to Colorado from New Jersey.  I enjoyed my time at home, and after three years decided it was time to re-enter the field of education.  I had the privilege of doing that four years ago here at Gold Rush as the full day kindergarten teacher.  For the past four years I have been a teacher on the fourth grade team.

            Outside of school I enjoy spending time with my family.  I have two children; Brayden is eight and will be attending third grade at Gold Rush.  My youngest is six.  Her name is Brynn, and she will be in first grade this year.  My “third child” is a black Labrador named Jack.  In my spare time I enjoy exercising, cooking/baking, reading, and cheering on my children at their sporting events.

            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


Ms. Jennifer Poli

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Upcoming Dates

Writer's Afternoon with Parents: Tuesday, May 30th at 2:15 

Field Day: Wednesday, May 31st

4th Grade Class Picnic with Parents: Friday, June 2nd 

More details will follow via email regarding the writer's afternoon and the class picnic.  Field Day is organized by Mrs. Warner.  More information will come regarding this day as well.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Information Regarding Class Placement

Class Placement Process

Creating balanced class lists that meet the needs of all students is a difficult endeavor.  This process involves hours of thoughtful dialogue between classroom teachers, administrators, and other staff members.  We take this responsibility very seriously.  Our process for creating class lists is detailed below.

· Teachers identify the social and academic needs of each student.  They refer to existing data and record pertinent information to assist them in their decision-making.

· Teachers meet as grade level teams to form class lists that are balanced.  Balanced classrooms meet each student’s academic, social and emotional needs.  Teachers consider each child’s personality, academic strengths and needs and friendships.  Learning specialists and the specials team also collaborate with classroom teachers to provide feedback.

· Each grade level team types a draft of their class list, which is then submitted to me.  I review each child’s placement and ensure that all parent input has been considered. Classroom teachers approve any additional changes to ensure classes remain balanced. 

· Class lists are finalized in August to reflect the addition of new students.

This process is consistent across grades K-4.  Our 5th grade team collaborates with teachers at Cimarron Middle School to ensure students’ success in 6th grade.

We strongly believe that this detailed and collaborative process creates learning environments that benefit all students.  It is a delicate balance that takes tremendous thought by professionals who know and care about your child.  Please remember that our ultimate goal is always to create balanced classes that promote the success of each child.  Please also know that your child is placed in a classroom for very specific reasons and that our process benefits all students.  Because of the input and thought given by teachers, parents, and administrators, we are reluctant to make changes once this process is complete as moving one child can disrupt the balance of an entire classroom. 

We do value parent input and welcome any insight you wish to share about your child’s strengths, needs and learning style.  We will take into consideration all pertinent information that you share with me on or before FRIDAY, April 28th.  While we welcome your input, we cannot honor specific teacher requests.  Please put your thoughts in writing and address them to me (Jenny Brown).  I will accept either a letter or email (

I cannot express enough how important it is that your thoughts are in writing.  As you can imagine, I receive a great deal of parent input and verbal information is nearly impossible to track.  Further, please direct all of this communication to me, as I am ultimately responsible for reviewing final class lists in July when teachers are not available.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

What's Happening in April?

Young Ameritowne Field Trip

On Wednesday, April 5th we will make our much anticipated trip to Young Ameritowne Headquarters.  By now the kids have been well trained in their job responsibilities and they are ready to go to work!!  I will post pictures from our trip once we return.
(Scroll down for the YAT pictures.)

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.


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.  


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.

Upcoming Dates

Monday, April 10th Book Fair Preview Time for our class 

Monday, April 10th- Thursday, April 20th Book Fair

Friday, April 21st - No School

Thursday, March 9, 2017

March Update


Our current unit of study pertains to fractions and decimals.  The kids are using their fraction cards (area representations for fraction and mixed numbers) as they compare and order fractions on a number line.  We will soon begin comparing decimals in the same fashion using decimal cards,  representations that include decimals in the tenths and hundredths place.  We will then begin to add and subtract fractions and mixed numbers.  Problems that involve measurement will be incorporated into this investigation.  Finally, we will end the month and begin April by multiplying fractions by whole numbers and mixed numbers.  

In case you missed it in the email or last blog post, you and your child can log on to at home, just as we do in class.  On this site, your child can access their homework pages, instructional math videos that I have already assigned them in class on google classroom, as well as math games tied to our current unit.  


We constructed a fraction number line with the fraction cards created at home.  Throughout the process, the kids discovered many equivalent fractions and used the area representations they drew as well as their knowledge of parts and wholes to order their fractions between 0 and 2. 

Reading Workshop

This month in Reading Workshop we have begun reading a variety of fictional and nonfiction text.  We have used these readings to determine the theme and main idea as well as identify evidence from the text to support our thinking.  We have then written short essays (two to three paragraphs) based on our thinking.
Moving on, we have been using a site called Digital Readworks.  This site allows me to provide the kids with leveled text tied to our content.  They can highlight and annotate the text online and show their comprehension of the text by responding to multiple choice and open ended questions prior to electronically submitting their work to me.  We have used this site to explore theme and main idea.
Additionally, we have read narratives and then used the main idea from those narratives as a spring board to write our own narratives as we connect reading and writing.  
Finally, during our monthly co-taught technology sessions with Mrs. Fleet, we have introduced the kids to a new website called Discovery Education. This gives the kids access to leveled information presented in the form of reading passages, boards (similar to infographics), and videos.  We have used Discovery Education to study videos and boards as well as Digital Roadworks for articles all related to the same topic.  The kids then determined a common theme in all three resources and wrote essays stating the common theme using evidence from all three.  

Here are a few screenshots from Discovery Education and Digital Readworks.

Writing Workshop

During the month of March we will continue with the genre of informational writing.  Thus far, the kids have completed their research, they have used their notes to create an outline, and have used the outline to begin drafting their chapters.  This month's mini-lessons will focus on incorporating text features, crafting captivating leads by using questions or shocking facts, writing with a teaching tone, and writing a reflective and powerful ending.
The kids are becoming experts on their topics and can't wait to share their learning with one another and with you!

Young Ameritowne

As you know, YAT is our current Social Studies unit as it focuses on financial literacy. This has been our focus for the past month or so and will be until the middle of April when we begin our next Science unit.  As of today, the kids have been learning the importance of saving for short-term and long-term goals, budgeting, how to balance a checking account, and how to invest their money based on their personal assessed risk tolerance.  They have interviewed for their jobs at YAT and have been placed in their positions.  Next week they will begin their job training.  
As you know, our field trip is April 5th.  More details will come via email from the fourth grade team providing you with more information about the field trip.  Registration for the trip has been open for a few weeks now, and I have most kids registered.  Please let me know if you have any questions about this.  

Thank you for visiting and learning about what your kiddos are working so very hard on!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Instructional Math Videos (Originally from an email)

Good morning parents.

I am emailing you links to a variety of instructional videos for our current math unit on fractions and decimals.  These videos and the activities that follow some of them, come from our online curriculum resource.  Your children watch these videos throughout the math unit to supplement and help cement their learning.  I assign them to them on the Pearson Realize website.  (Your kids know their log-in info. It;s also written in the front of their HW planner.) 
Many of your kids have utilized the website at home as they have gone on to print homework they left at school.  These videos are also available on the site under math tools.  Your kids are very familiar with using the site. 
 I am sending these to you in case you want to familiarize yourself with the material we are learning in class.  (The kids have not viewed all of these yet as we are only part way through the unit.)
Please let me know if you have any questions.  I hope these videos prove to be useful tools for you. 
Have a great day!