Friday, November 17, 2017

How Can I Support My Child in Math??

Please click on the following links for instructional videos that will model the strategies your child is learning in class.  These links were taken from the Pearson Realize website.  Your child can access this site from school and home.  The following links pertain to solving multiplication and division problems.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Honoring our Veterans

Today we had the opportunity to meet Brendan Egan, Luke's father and a Major in the Marine Corps.  He spoke to the kids about the significance of and history behind Veterans Day.  The kids were inquisitive and reflective, as usual.  Thank you to Major Egan!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

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 genres 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.  With the approach of Thanksgiving, the kids will also be writing an essay about the three aspects in their lives for which they are most thankful.  (This is great to share at the table on Thanksgiving!)

In reading workshop, students have been continuing their work with the comprehension strategy of questioning. For instance, while reading articles, leveled texts, chapter books, technology resources, etc., they have been asking questions (thick vs. thin) and connecting their new learning to their newly gained knowledge as they read a variety of texts. Students are using sticky notes to annotate their text and questioning graphic organizers. Students are asking questions, activating schema, recognizing unfamiliar/unknown vocabulary, inferring, and identifying new learning.  Students have been working on developing written responses to higher level questions.  They are being asked to respond to the questions, explain their thinking, and reference the text using page numbers and examples.  I am proud of students' effort and work completed so far. These strategies are used cross curricular.

Our current math unit is on two-digit by one-digit multiplication and division.  The kids are learning how to decompose larger multiplication problems and use simpler, known problems to help them solve the larger problem.  Additionally, they are creating multiplication stories to help them take abstract multiplication problems and put them in context; they are creating a real-world situation to help them make meaning of the abstract problem.  With regard to division, we are learning how to use multiplication to help us solve division problems. Again, these division problems are embedded in division stories.  Some result in remainders.  The kids are learning how to interpret these remainders.  For instance, instead of stating 4 R1, the kids are interpreting the quotient and saying each student gets four dollars and the remaining dollar can be broken into quarters.  Each student can then get a $1.25. 

Social Studies:
After the end of our Science unit on ecosystems, we began our first Social Studies unit for the year, Colorado History.  Thus far, we have studied the geography of Colorado and how the geography of where we live helps shape how we live.  In addition, we studied the early Native Americans who lived in Colorado and how they influenced how we live today.  As we continue our study of Colorado history, we will 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 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.

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!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Kindness Week

Hello parents!

As you know, we recently celebrated Kindness Week here at Gold Rush.  Your kids came up with very creative and thoughtful ways to show their kindness to others.  In addition to engaging in acts of kindness, our class participated in the door decorating activity held throughout the building.  Mrs. Faulkner and her daughter, Amelia,  "kindly" helped create our amazing door display, and the students each contributed their part.  Here is the end result!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

February Highlights

Reading Workshop

This month in Reading Workshop, we will continue to apply the comprehension strategy of making inferences as we read non-fiction texts.  As a class, we have been reading about Mt. Everest and the Cheyenne while exploring how we can make meaning out of inferential headings, how we can infer to answer our questions about the text, and how we can take our background knowledge, add it to information we learned from the text, and then make a strong and meaningful inference from our reading.  We can then continue reading the text and either affirm the validity of our inferences or make changes to them after acquiring new knowledge.  As always, these techniques are modeled during reading workshop.  The kids practice them together as a class and are then off to read their leveled text and apply their strategies independently while I circulate around the room and read with them.  Additionally, I have been modeling how to write a reading response using information from the text.  We are just beginning this response to reading and will work on enhancing our skills as the year progresses.

Writing Workshop

Our unit on informational writing will continue this month.  Thus far, the students have completed their note taking on their selected topic.  They worked very hard paraphrasing notes and quoting notes when necessary.  We then moved on to organizing our notes into an outline in order to plan for the drafting process.  Some students are still organizing their writing while others have moved on to the drafting process.  As they draft, I will model how to write with a teaching tone, how to incorporate transition words to make their writing flow, and how to write complex sentences and detailed paragraphs.  The next step will be adding text features such as charts or tables to each of their chapters.


By the second week of February the students will have demonstrated their knowledge of measurement and geometry and will have begun to explore parts of a whole as we begin our study of fractions and decimals.  As always, support with be provided as needed as will enrichment opportunities.

Social Studies

Our unit on financial literacy, Young Ameritowne, has begun.  The students are learning how to manage a budget, invest, weigh opportunity costs, and how to successfully interview and maximize their abilities, to name just a few.  This is an exciting unit that has the kids very intrigued.  There are many opportunities for parental involvement with volunteer positions as you have seen with recent emails.  As always, thank you for your support.


This week we will be back in the S.T.E.A.M. lab using our knowledge of area and perimeter as we write code with Dash.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The S.T.E.A.M. Lab - Meet Dash and Dot

Meet Dot...


and Dash!

Today we engaged in the "Blockly Math Challenge".  

The kids used the Blockly app to find fractional portions of a 120cm strip.   Their knowledge of coding to create paths, multiplying, and dividing were challenged today!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Here's What's Happening this Month in Our Class

We have begun applying the comprehension strategy of making inferences during reading workshop. The students and I have been reading a variety of passages on The Titanic.  I begin by modeling, and then the kids eventually apply the strategy on their own, making inferences from the text.  They are learning how to use text clues and their background knowledge to infer the meaning of unknown words, how to infer authors' unstated meaning, and how to merge their background knowledge and information from the text to create a new meaning from the text.  As always, when the kids are applying their strategies independently, they are doing so using fiction and nonfiction texts that are appropriate for their reading level.

With the start of the New Year, we have begun a new genre in writing.  The kids are learning how to craft an informational piece.  The purpose of the informational piece is to teach others about their selected topic.  The topics the kids chose are based on history.  Some topics are the sinking of The Titanic, The Battle of Gettysburg, the 9/11 Attacks, and The Vietnam War, to name just a few.

During the mini-lesson portion of writing workshop, I have been modeling the note taking process for the kids using texts about The Titanic from Reading Workshop.  I have been modeling note taking (paraphrasing and quoting information), citing research, and using text features to elevate the complexity of writing.  This unit will be about two months long.  During this time the kids will write several informational pieces and learn how to write with a teaching tone.  They will become "experts" on their topic along the way.

With the start of the month came the start of a new 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 were 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.

We are just coming to the end of our Social Studies unit on Colorado History.  The kids are applying their knowledge of the early Colorado settlements that were created by and influenced by the Gold Rush, Explorers, the Fur Traders, and a variety of other groups in order to create their own settlement.  Upon completion of this performance task, we will shift our focus back to science.  Our new unit will be "The Sun, Moon, and Stars".  The kids will learn what causes night and day, the phases of the moon, how the sun creates shadows depending on the time of day, the characteristics of stars, as well as constellations.

This is a very exciting month with regard to technology as this tech rotation finds us in the STEAM Lab utilizing a variety of new apps to code our new robots Dot and Dash.  The lessons have been designed to connect with the math unit we are currently studying.  For example, the kids are creating and coding paths for their robots using their knowledge of the metric system.  The excitement, critical thinking, and learning in the air is palpable.  I will send pictures soon for you to see.  We'll be back in the STEAM Lab tomorrow afternoon.