Monday, July 15, 2019

Welcome to the 2019-2020 School Year!

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 fifteen years, and I have had the privilege of teaching here at Gold Rush for the past six 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 ten and will be entering fifth grade at Gold Rush.  My youngest is eight. Her name is Brynn, and she will be in third 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,vsoftball 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  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.

Lastly, here are a few important date you will need to know. 

- Families are welcome to come visit our classroom, meet me, and drop off your labeled  school supplies on Tuesday, August 6th.  Our First day of school is Wednesday, August 7th.
.   Wednesday, August 21st is Back to School Night for Parents only. We will offer 2 sessions 6:05-6:35 and 6:40-7:10.
.   We will not have regular school on Tuesday, August 27th. Each student will come to school for one hour to complete reading and math assessments.  Because we value the information we are obtaining on these days, it is mandatory that all children complete the assessments on this day.  Please bring your child to the gym and teachers will bring students to their testing locations. Students will conclude their assessment day by having you accompany them to take their school picture.  Our Before and After School Enrichment program (B.A.S.E.) will be available on the 27th. Please contact B.A.S.E. as soon as possible as spaces are limited.

Please let me know if you have any questions, and I look forward to seeing you soon!


Ms. Jennifer Poli

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

May Happenings

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

*May 22nd is Field Day.  This is planned by the specials teachers.  Information will be sent home soon from them.

*May 24th will be the 4th Grade Picnic during 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 member, blankets, etc. 

Reading Workshop
For our final unit of the year we will be reading mysteries.  The kids are so excited!  Thus far they have all selected mysteries at their reading level, and we have just begun to dig in.  AS we read we will focus on important components of narrative reading such as inferring about character and story elements with text support, analyzing character's perspective, and determining a cohesive theme(s) using support from the text.  I will be modeling this with a high level mystery entitled, Chasing Vermeer.

Writing Workshop
We have started the genre of informational writing.  The students are learning how to craft an informational piece.  The reading comprehension strategies of inferring and determining importance will be applied as the kids res arch their topic and read carefully to determine which information is most essential.

During the minilesson portion of writing workshop I will model the note taking process for the kids using texts on the disappearance of The Mary Celeste.  Mini lessons will focus on note taking (paragraphing and quoting information), citing research, and using text features to elevate the complexity of writing.  The kids will become experts on their topic as they research and write their book.

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, cluster problems, and the array method as we do so.  We will also dive into long division.  As always, the kids may choose the strategy they like best to help them solve their problems.

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!

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

April Update

Reading Workshop
Throughout April students will continue to use their historical fiction text to complete character analysis, determine theme/themes, infer, compare and contrast, synthesize, and write deeply about their reading while using textual evidence. As mentioned previously, these are strong reading skills that our 4th grade readers will be able to apply across any fiction text that they pick up and read regardless of whether or not it is historical.
Students are also working through the complexity of group work. Groups are building problem solving and self-reflection skills through their daily communications with one another. Students are refining their ability to exchange information about their reading in a way where they can dive more deeply into the big ideas being presented by the author of their text.
Writing Workshop

During the month of April students will extend their skills as writers of literary essays.  They are invested in the process of growing big ideas about the short stories that they are analyzing each day.  Students are being challenged to lift the level of their essays through their thesis statements, writing about ideas that are more complex and interpretive, and supporting those ideas with textual evidence. They will also learn to analyze author’s craft and use this to support their ideas. Finally, students will move from writing about one text to crafting essays that compare and contrast two pieces of literature.  Following this unit students will begin informational writing.

As Young AmeriTowne lessons come to a close, we will switch gears and focus on Science for the remainder of the year.  Our next unit of study will be Sun, Moon, and Stars.  Key questions we would like students to be able to answer include:  What are the patterns of movement for the Sun and Moon across the sky?  How does Earth compare to other objects orbiting the Sun? How do we study the solar system?  

As we embark on this unit, students 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 April we will be learning about fractions and decimals. In this unit students will learn how to determine parts of rectangles (1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/3, 1/6), how to find equivalent fractions, how to identify and represent decimals on grids, how to compare fractions and decimals, and how to represent fractions and decimals on a number line. They will also be adding/subtracting fractions and decimals and computing with rational numbers. Learning will be differentiated through small group instruction as well as extension activities that will challenge all students.

**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.

Unit 6:  Useful Links for Fractions and Decimals

Gold Rush CMAS Schedule 2019
3rd  Grade
English Language Arts (ELA) Unit 1
English Language Arts (ELA) Unit 2
English Language Arts (ELA) Unit 3
Math Unit 1
Math Unit 2
5th Grade
English Language Arts (ELA) Unit 1
English Language Arts (ELA) Unit 2
English Language Arts (ELA) Unit 3
Math Unit 1
Math Unit 2
4th Grade
English Language Arts (ELA) Unit 1
English Language Arts (ELA) Unit 2
English Language Arts (ELA) Unit 3
Math Unit 1
Math Unit 2

3rd Grade
Math Unit 3

5th Grade
10:45 - 12:15
Math Unit 3
Science Unit 1
Science Unit 2
Science Unit 3

4th Grade
Math Unit 3

ELA  3 Units @ 90 min
Math 3 Units @ 65 min

Monday, February 4, 2019

February News


This month we will start a new unit entitled Historical Fiction Book Clubs. The kids will be reading an assigned text in their book club with a focus on either the American Revolution, The Great Depression, Pioneer Life, or Segregation and Civil Rights. These books all contain a very powerful message and will teach the kids about incredibly significant times in our country's history. While reading their text and working in book clubs the kids will learn how to infer about character traits, analyze characters' perspective, analyze parts of the story in relation to the whole, and determine theme. I will facilitate as the kids engage in book talks and share their thinking with each other.


As we begin a new month, we will also begin a new unit in writing. This unit will focus on literary essays. (There is a strong link between this unit and our reading unit.) We will be reading a variety of short texts and devising theories about the characters in the text. The kids will learn how to fine-tune and revise their theories, identity evidence from the text to support their theories, evaluate the validity and strength of the evidence, and synthesize their thinking as they craft a literary essay.


In February we will begin our math unit on measurement and shapes.  In this unit the kids will learn about the US Standard System of Measurement as well as the Metric System.  They will learn how to convert from one unit of measurement to the other, calculate perimeter and area, classify polygons, measure angles, and how to accurately use measurement tools. Learning will be differentiated through small group instruction as well as extension activities that will challenge all students.

These are links to videos and activities that will help you support your child at home as we begin our investigation of Measurement and Geometry. 

Useful Links:

angles and degrees

measuring with protractors

Young AmeriTowne

Students are learning about the Free Enterprise and Economics.  Over the next few weeks we will be discussing choices and decisions, supply and demand, banking, checking accounts, how government works, how to write a deposit slip/check, how to fill out a job application, and how to interview.  These are just some of the concepts we will explore. The fourth grade will be attending Young AmeriTowne on Friday, March 29th.


This month as Mrs. Fleet and I co-teach, we will support the kids as they learn how to use multiple
digital resources while comparing/contrasting various themes and problems/solutions in the text.
We will guide them as they craft short, constructed responses based on their analysis of the text and
support their thinking with strong evidence. As you can see, this month and the next will provide the
kids with multiple opportunities to polish their skills as readers who think critically and who can articulate
their thoughts in writing.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Here's What's New in the New Year!


We are approaching the end of our study of non-fiction text. The kids are currently working in research teams studying a new extreme weather topic. The skills in this unit pertain to identifying text structures, overcoming tough words, tackling the hard parts of nonfiction text, evaluating sources, and writing about our topics by using evidence from the text. As they research their new extreme weather topic, the kids are using what they know about text structures to synthesize within and across multiple texts.


As the month of January comes to a close, so too will our unit on persuasive essay writing. Currently, the kids are writing their final persuasive piece. They chose a thesis that relates to an issue that either impacts kids their age or to a larger societal issue such as world hunger or homelessness. As they write their essays they are using a persuasive tone, transition words, adding research to strengthen their claims, and adding short personal stories or stories they have heard that relate to and support their thesis.
Our next writing unit, which we will begin toward the end of January, will be literary essay writing. This unit focuses on the strong connection between reading and writing. During the beginning of this unit the kids will learn to read literature closely. We will first notice the details in a text in order to appreciate the setting, objects, word choices, metaphors, and characters chosen by the author and why these are significant. From the very start of the unit, the kids will learn to write structured essays in which they will make and support claims. They will analyze text and use evidence from the text to support these claims.


In January we will continue our math unit on multiplication and division with two digit numbers. This unit puts a large emphasis on word problems. The kids are learning a variety of different strategies to multiply such as solving a simpler problem first and the array method. In division, we are using the inverse operation of multiplication to find our quotient as well as using the partial quotient strategy. They will be assessed on their understanding of unit concepts by the end of the month. We will then move on to the study of measurement and shapes. As always, learning will be differentiated through small group instruction as well as extension activities that will challenge all students.

Social Studies 

During the month of January, we will continue our study of Colorado History. We will be learning about the Gold Rushers, European Explorers, Fur Traders, Settlers, and Native Americans. Our study of these groups involves 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. They will then construct a persuasive essay using the skills they learned in our essay writing unit to persuade their classmates why they believe their selected group was the most influential.

Here is some important information from the PTO.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Dazzling December Details

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.

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.

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
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)