Monday, October 2, 2017

October Blog

What's Happening in 4th Grade for October! 


We finished our study of arrays, factors, and multiplicative comparisons in Unit 1.  We are currently working on our second unit pertaining to data and measurement.  Our investigation of measurement began by gathering data on the height of fourth graders and first graders.  The students then learn how to represent and compare the data they collected using bar graphs and line plots (high, low, range, median, mode, outliers, and is the data clumped or spread out).  Finally, they worked on drawing conclusions based on the data collected. They analyzed what was typical and what the data truly tells us regarding the information collected.  Within the next couple weeks we will begin Unit 3 (multiple towers and cluster problems).  This involves multi-digit multiplication and division.

Students are currently researching their chosen endangered animal, how human behavior impacts their ecosystems, and the animals and plants that live there.  Their research includes the animal's habitat, diet, adaptations, its place in the food chain, and the reasons it is endangered. Students are expected to include a call to action with ideas on how to save the species and what others can do to help with animal conservation.  The end product will be a brochure that the kids create and share with one another.

We have started implementing the comprehension strategy of questioning.  As a group, we have discussed the purpose behind questioning and why having a purpose is important.  Students are evaluating what types of questions are surface questions vs. deep questions. I am using non-fiction text as I model for students.  In doing so I demonstrate how asking questions helps my understanding of the text as I work to find answers for my questions and form new learning.  The students will continue to use a variety of nonfiction/fiction texts while activating their background knowledge, connecting their new learning to their background knowledge, and creating new thinking on the subject matter.  They are gradually released to apply the strategy learned on their own with leveled text.  Often times, the text selected connects to our scientific study of ecosystems.  They will either use a selected think sheet, sticky notes, or graphic organizers to keep track of their thinking.  As always, as the kids are reading and applying the strategy, I will be conferring with them individually and/or in a small group setting.
Writing                                                                                                                                         During Writer's Workshop in October, 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. Once the lesson is taught and modeled, students are released to practice that each skill on their own.  Conferencing takes place daily.  During this time each student's individual needs are addressed.

Technology                                                                                                                                 Our next technology rotation will take place October 24th, 26th, and 27th.  We will focus on digital literacy using Discovery Education. 
Upcoming Dates
October 5th: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Field Trip AND Parent Teacher Conferences
October 9th-13th: Fall Break
October 16th: Return to School
October 31st: Halloween (more information to come)

Friday, September 8, 2017

Spelling Homework

Words Their Way Spelling Homework

Each Friday, your child will bring home a collection of spelling works that have been introduced in class. Throughout the week, your child is expected to complete a different activity daily to ensure that theses words and the spelling patterns they represent are mastered.  These activities have been modeled and practiced in school so your child can demonstrate how they work at home.

Monday:  Cut and Sort Words
Remind your child to cut and then sort the words and then sort the words into spelling patterns as practiced at school.  Your child should read each word aloud during this activity.  Ask your child to explain why the words are sorted in a particular way and what the sort reveals about spelling in general.  Encourage your child to sort their words a second time as quickly as possible.  You may time the activity for fun. Your child will prepare an answer key that will go home each Friday.

Tuesday:  Sort
Have your child sort the words and record them on the Sort and Record Form.

Wednesday:  Star Sort
Write one header in the center of each star.  Write each word that matches the header on the inside line of every star.  If there is not enough space to write on the inside of the star, the outside can also be used.

Thursday: Written Sort
In preparation for Friday’s spelling test, complete a writing sort by having your child first write each header on the form.  Call out all of the words one by one from your child’s word sort in random order.  Each word should be written under the correct header without seeing the words.  Call out any words your child misspells a second or even a third time.  If your child places the word in the wrong category, discuss why it does not belong and help him/her move it to the correct category.  Discuss any spelling patterns or “rules.”

Thank you for your support!

The Fourth Grade Team

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Here's What's Happening in September


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.


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.


This month in Reading Workshop we will continue to apply the reading comprehension strategy of activate and connect.  The kids will continue to study a variety of nonfiction text while activating their background knowledge on the subject material.  They will then connect their new learning to their background knowledge as they create new thinking on the subject matter.  I will continue to model this strategy and these techniques at the start of each lesson and then gradually release the kids to apply the strategy on their own with leveled text I have provided them with.  I will connect our scientific study of ecosystems to reading as I provide the kids with a variety of texts centered around ecosystems and animals.  They will use sticky notes, graphic organizers. and record their new learning in their Reader's Journal as they annotate their text, identify important and interesting information, and merge their background knowledge with their new learning.  As always, as the kids are reading and applying the strategy I will be conferring with them individually and in a small group format.


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.  


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 they had 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.  Soon they will have the opportunity to introduce their buddy to you using Seesaw.  (I have not yet sent out an email inviting each of you to join Seesaw and have access to your kiddo's  account.  I will do this once we have it fully up and running.  Please know only you will have access to your child's material, unless you decide to share it with others.)

Upcoming Dates

September 15th:  Western Night

September 27th:  Parent Teacher Conferences

September 29th: Digger Dash

October 5th: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Field Trip AND Parent Teacher Conferences 

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.