Sunday, September 16, 2018


Important Upcoming Dates:

Thursday, September 20th:  Digger Dash!  
First graders begin stretching at 9:10 and will run from 9:25-9:55.
If you are coming to cheer us on, please meet us on the blacktop at 9:10!

Here is the whole school Digger Dash Schedule: 
Digger Dash Schedule
7:30-8:20 Set Up
8:20-8:45 Station Meeting with Volunteers
8:45-9:00 Stretching for Preschool & Kindergarten
9:00-9:15 Race Begins for Preschool & Kindergarten
9:10-9:25 Stretching for Grades 1 & 2
9:25-9:55 Race Begins for Grades 1 & 2

9:50-10:00 Stretching for Grades 3 & 4
10:00-10:45 Race Begins for Grades 3 & 4
10:40-10:50 Stretching for Grade 5
10:50-11:35 Race Begins for Grade 5
11:35-12:35 . Clean Up
10:45-2:30 Pledge Tally - Begins after Grades 3 & 4

No School Friday, September 21st - Teacher Inservice Day

Parent/Teacher Conferences:
Thursday, September 27th and Thursday October 1st 
Please click HERE to sign up for a conference time.
The password is:  Digger

Fall Break: October 8th - October 12th 
NO SCHOOL

Dear Parents,
I can't believe it is already September!  I have been enjoying getting to know your children!  They are such a wonderful group of kiddos!  This newsletter is designed to keep you updated with what your child is learning at school.  Use this as a tool to communicate with me and with your child about their learning. In bold you will find questions or suggestions of how to spark a conversation about what your child is doing in school.  Hopefully this will keep you from hearing "nothing" or "I don't know."  We are very busy in first grade, as you will see!  

Literacy:  
Reading - 
We have "Reader's Workshop" everyday.  We've been focusing on finding "Good Fit Books" and building our stamina for reading them in class, adding more time to sustained independent reading each day. It is so important for the kids to spend time in class - and at home - practicing the skills they are learning!  The best way for your child to become a proficient reader to to spend time reading books on their level every day.  I love how Richard Allington, a well-known educator and researcher, puts it:  "Few can learn to do anything well without the opportunity to engage in whatever is being learned."

Ask your child to tell you what a "Good Fit Book" is:

A "Good Fit Book" is one where you....
          *...know most of the words (This can be hard!  When asked, the kids 
              usually say, "Yes!  I knew all of the words" - even when they didn't.
              Therefore, I tell the kids they should know all of the words.  We are 
              learning what this looks and sounds like!)
          *...understand the book - It makes sense to you! We talk a lot about                     how important it is to understand what we read.  We are always 
              asking ourselves, "Does this make sense?"

As you read with your child, stop and ask them "Did that make sense?"
**It is essential that your child read Good Fit Books in order to grow as a reader.  Please encourage, and help, your child find Good Fit Books to read at home!

Vacation Book:  A book that your student can read very fluently and understands what they are reading.  Too easy for the student, but can still enjoy every now and then. 

Good Fit Book:  A book that your student can read fluently, they understand what they are reading, knows almost all of the words (95-98% accurate!), and gets your student thinking!  These books are the key to helping your child grow as a reader and should be read the majority of the time!

Dream Book:  A book that your child is interested in reading, but he/she knows less than 95% of the words.  This is a book that can be enjoyed by having someone read to them. This is also a book that your child will someday be able to read, but only after continuously reading Good Fit Books to help them grow as a reader.

**It is still so helpful and important for you to read to your child! Take time everyday for them to read to you, and for you to read to them and enjoy books together!  This builds a love of reading!


This year Gold Rush is using a new reading curriculum, K-5th grades, written by reading expert Lucy Calkins.  


First graders began the year with Unit 1: Building Good Reading Habits. We talk about how a habit is something you do every time, without thinking about it.  We've been practicing the good habits readers do every time they read a book.  

The following came home in your child's Book Bag last week, so you can practice these at home too:












































Last week we began talking about Good Habits for Solving Hard Words.  Look for the following sheet in your child's Homework Folder.  Readers need to know a variety of strategies they can use to figure out tricky words.  Often, not just one strategy will work!


Ask your child:  "What can I do when I get stuck on a word?"


Finally, we also focus on comprehension strategies during Reader's Workshop time.  Good readers utilize a variety of comprehension strategies which help them become purposeful, active readers who are in control of their own reading comprehension.  These strategies include asking questions, predicting, monitoring your comprehension (being aware of when you do or don't understand), making inferences, visualizing what is happening in your head, and summarizing & synthesizing information.  Right now we are working on a comprehension strategy called Making Connections.  When we Make Connections we connect what we already know (our "schema" or background knowledge) to the text we are reading.  We say, "This reminds me of..."  Connections help us understand a story at a deeper level. Our connection can help us understand how a character is feeling. It can also help us predict what might happen next.

As you read with your child ask them, "What connections do you have?" or "What does this remind you of?"  You can also model the connections you are making.  It is great for them to hear examples of making meaningful connections!

We also have "Word Study" everyday.  This is a time to focus on phonics and patterns we see in words.  Gold Rush uses a program called Words Their Way.  I've given the class a spelling test to see what they know about letters, letter combinations, and the sounds they make.  This helped me start them at the appropriate Words Their Way level and differentiate for each child. Each week your child is given a "Word Sort."  It has words that focus on a particular pattern, such as short vowels, blends (two letters whose sounds, when put together, blend closely - such as bl, st, dr, cr....), digraphs (two letters that, when put together, make a new sound - such as ch, sh, ph, th..), and long vowel patterns (two vowels that make one long vowel sound ("magic e"or "silent e" as in cake, and other combinations like oa, ai, ea...).  

Another part of literacy is our Writer's Workshop:  
Right now we are working on writing and telling "small moment" stories from the events in our lives.  A small moment is one moment from our day.  Unlike a huge "watermelon story," such as a trip to Disney Land, a small moment is a "seed story" - or one event from our trip, such as riding on Splash Mountain. First graders love to tell stories!  They come in everyday with a story about going to the park, loosing a tooth, or playing with friends.  But sometimes they struggle with coming up with ideas to write about.  As they share their stories tell them, "That would make a great small moment for you to write about at school!"  

In Writer's Workshop I teach them to go through the Writing Process.  Our steps are:
1. - Think of an idea.  For a small moment, this could be something you do (like riding my scooter or going to gymnastics), or something that has happened to you (like getting caught in a rain storm or making cookies with Dad.)
2. - Plan  I tell them this is the most important!  We will learn various ways to plan our story. Right now we are thinking about what happened first, then next, then after that and are "touching and telling" (touch each page as you tell the story out loud and think about what would go on each page), then sketch (draw a quick sketch on each page to help you remember your plan)
3. - Write!  As you can see, we don't begin with writing our story!
4. - Revise  I tell them, "When your done you've just begun!"  We add detail to our story using "spider legs" and think how can I make my story better?
5. - Edit  We check spelling and punctuation.  We are talking about leaving spaces between our words, writing with lower-case letters, learning strategies for spelling words we don't know, and using punctuation.  Of course not all of our spelling is expected to be correct!  We focus on the patterns we are learning in our Words Their Way sort, and we use our Word Wall to help us spell.  First graders spell phonetically and that is what we want them to do for most words right now.  

Ask your child to tell you about the small moment stories they are writing.


Math:  
We've been working on our first Investigations unit on counting, addition, and subtraction.  I have been sending home letters from our math program that describe the concepts we are working on and gives ideas for you to support your child at home.  I know it is hard to get to these at times, but they are a great reference for you and I encourage you to read through them when you get a chance.  They really do give you a lot of great information!

This first unit develops students' ideas about counting and quantity, place value and the structure of the base-10 number system.  It develops computational fluency, and focuses on the operations of addition and subtraction.  

We work a lot with ten frames.  These enable children to automatically think of numbers less than ten in terms of their relationship to ten, and to build a sound knowledge of the basic addition and subtraction facts for ten, which are an integral part of mental calculation.  They also help us learn place value.  I love these!  

A ten frame is a grid with 10 squares, 5 on the top, and 5 on the bottom:


This ten frame shows the number 7:


We talk about what we notice and I love these discussions! The kids might say, "I notice 7 is 5+2" or "You need 3 more to make 10"
                  
We add ten frames to make larger numbers, like 16 below.  The kids might say, "I notice we need 2 ten frames to make 16 because it is larger  than 10." Or, "Sixteen is 5+5+5+1"  or "10 + 6."  Or, "The 1 in 16 stands for 1 whole ten frame, and the 6 in 16 stands for 6 on the second ten frame.  








Ten frames help us visualize numbers and understand place value. Math researchers like Jo Boaler, tell us that representing math visually is so important!  We will work with ten frames in various ways all year. 

 For homework you were given a set of Primary Number Cards to play our math games.  Under each number on the card is a ten frame representing that number.  Ask your child what they notice about the number by studying the ten frame.

 We've been working with addition and began subtraction last week. We discuss the tools and strategies students can use to help them add and subtract.  



Students use the strategy they best understand.  They begin with counting all and work through the strategies when they are developmentally ready. Most first graders still need concrete examples they can see and count before moving to the abstract.  They move to the abstract when they are developmentally ready. If your child still needs to count on his/her fingers, or use a manipulative to see numbers, that is just fine!  



I love our math program!  It really helps build a strong foundation and understanding of numbers and how they can be put together and taken apart to solve problems.  We focus a lot on the process we went through to find solutions, and we share this thinking with each other, learning ways to look at a problem.  By explaining their thinking, the kids understand the concepts at a much deeper level, which will help them apply what they know to new situations.  

To build on these concepts, count often with your children.  Practice counting by ones, fives, tens, and twos to 120.  When they become fluent, try starting at a number other than one.  
Make story problems for your kids, such as "We are having people over for dinner.  One family has 6 people, one has 5, and we have 4.  How many plates will I need?  


Social Studies:  
It is so important to take the time to build a strong classroom community in the beginning of the year in which all students feel safe and can learn.  We talk a lot about our school motto, Going for the G.O.L.D.:  Give respect, Own your actions, Listen and Learn, and Do your best. We've been discussing how to be a good citizen, and characteristics of a good citizen. The kids began collaborating in small groups to create posters that explain how to be good citizens at Gold Rush and go for the G.O.L.D. around our building.  We will post these around the school.  
We will include a "QR Code" (a barcode people can scan from their smartphone or iPad) on our posters that will take them to the presentation the kids create in Seesaw that describes their poster.  We are discussing how to Collaborate and Communicate with our peers.  These are two of the "4C's" that are part of Douglas County's GVC (Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum).

We are working with our technology teacher, Megan Fleet, to learn how to use an app on our iPads called Seesaw to share our work with our peers and our families. I will be sending a link for you to sign up so you can see items in your child's "portfolio."  This is an exciting way for them to share their thinking and learning with you! Look for this soon!

Ask your child to tell teach you about what it looks like and sounds like to go for the G.O.L.D. at Gold Rush.

What's coming next?
Reading:  More work with activating schema & making connections.
Writing:  Extend small moment writing to study mentor texts and use the 
              "craft moves" we notice from these texts in our own writing.
Math:  Subtraction story problems, more efficient counting & adding strategies,
              and beginning geometry in October.
Science:  A unit called "Pebbles, Sand, & Silt" - an introduction to Rocks &                       Minerals.

THANK YOU TO ALL OF MY VOLUNTEERS WHO HAVE STARTED HELPING ME WITH HOMEWORK FOLDERS, SIGHT WORD ASSESSMENTS,  AND WORD WORK SUPPORT!  

THANK YOU TO ANGIE EGAN AND AMY GREENLAW FOR MAKING OUR DIGGER DASH BANNER!  IT LOOKS GREAT! 

AND THANKS TO ALL PARENTS FOR SUPPORTING YOUR CHILD AT HOME!  YOUR CHILDREN ARE WONDERFUL AND THAT IS A REFLECTION OF YOU!



Sunday, August 26, 2018


Important Upcoming Dates:

Tuesday, August 28th - Assessment Day

* Monday, September 3rd - Labor Day - NO SCHOOL
* September 5th - Legend High School Homecoming                                                           Parade @ 4:45 PM
* September 20th - Digger Dash
* September 21st - No School - Teachers' Professional                                                                    Learning Day 
* September 27th - Parent/ Teacher Conferences
* October 4th - Parent/ Teacher Conferences 



Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Welcome to First Grade!

First grade is such a special year, full of learning and new adventures!
I can't wait to meet my class and begin our journey together!
I'm looking forward to a fantastic year!

If you'd like, you can read more about me on the "About Me" tab.

Please take a moment to read over the following important dates and add them to your calendar:


From the desk of Dr. Jenny Brown:


July 11, 2018
Dear Gold Rush Families,
I hope you are having a wonderful summer!  We are eagerly awaiting the beginning of the school year.  I want to provide you with important information regarding the start of the year.  It is my hope that this information will make you aware of upcoming events and important timelines.
Wednesday, July 18th – July 31st  Online Express Check In
Online Express Check In will open on Wednesday, July 18.  Click here to login.  You will use Online Express Check In to update your contact information, pay school fees and sign up for volunteer opportunities.  Please note that some of the forms need to be printed and turned in to your teacher during Meet Your Teacher Day on Monday, August 6, or the first day of school.  All students must register via Online Express Check In by July 31st.  For assistance please contact one of the individuals below:
·       GRE Administrative Assistant Anita Rudman: anita.rudman@dcsdk12.org 303-387-7704
·       GRE Registrar Christi Dismang: christi.dismang@dcsdk12.org 303-387-7707
Wednesday, July 18th Class Placement
We know that your child is eager to know who his/her classroom teacher will be.  Starting July 18th you can click here to access parent portal.  You will be able to view your child’s teacher by selecting your student and clicking on the schedule tab.  You can look forward to receiving a welcome letter from your child’s teacher via email by the end of the month.
Monday, August 6th - Meet Your Teacher
We believe that it is essential for students to have the opportunity to meet their teacher and visit their classroom prior to the first day of school.  Families are welcome to visit their classroom on Monday, August 6, and drop off school supplies.  

We want to ensure that families are able to spend time with the teacher in a small group setting so we ask that you sign up for one of the times shown below by clicking here for our online scheduler.  The online scheduler will be available July 18th through July 31st and the password is digger.  The sign up is first come first serve, so please sign up as soon as possible if you have a preferred time or wish to align siblings’ times.  If you ordered school supplies through the PTO they will be delivered to your child’s classroom.  Click here for a map of teachers’ classrooms.

Meet Your Teacher Times on Monday, August 6th

8:45-9:15
9:15-9:45
9:45-10:15
Thursday, August 9th -  First Full Day of School
The first full day of school for students in grades K-5 is Thursday, August 9th.  Students will meet their teachers on the front blacktop on the first day of school for an opening flag ceremony that begins at 8:30 AM.  Click here for a map of your classroom location for our opening ceremony.  All teachers will also have a sign with their name on it.

Friday, August 10th - Rolling Start to the School Day Begins
On the second day of school students will enter the building through the front door on their own between 8:20 AM-8:30AM and walk directly to their classrooms.  Teachers and older students will be available to assist younger students. Our rolling start ensures a smooth start to the day. Parents of preschool students will need to walk their children into the building using the west entrance and sign their child in.  School will be in session from 8:30AM-3:30PM next year.
Click here for the 2018 - 2019 Conventional Calendar
Click here for information regarding the Rolling Start to the School Day
Click here for general drop off and pick up procedures.
Wednesday, August 15th – Back to School Night for Parents Only
Classroom teachers will provide parents with an overview of the school year on Wednesday, August 15th, during the following two Back to School Night sessions: 6:05-6:35 PM & 6:40-7:10 PM.  The principal will share school celebrations and upcoming goals for the year in the gym from 5:45-6:00 PM.  We hope you will join us for these informative sessions.
Thursday, August 28th – 1 Assessment Hour
In an attempt to gain more targeted information regarding your child’s academic strengths and needs each child will come to school for one hour only on August 28th to complete reading and math assessments.  The assessments administered allow educators to alter their instruction to meet your child’s individual needs and learning style.
Click here for the online conference scheduler between July 18th – July 31st to select an assessment time for your child.  The password is digger.  Because we value the information we obtain on these days, it is mandatory that all children complete their assessments on August 28th.  Please bring your child to the front vestibule and teachers will escort him/her to his/her testing location.  Students will conclude their assessment hour in the gym where your child take his/her school picture.  Our Before and After School Enrichment program (B.A.S.E.) will be available on August 28th.  Please contact B.A.S.E. as soon as possible as spaces are limited.
We will also be releasing a new website in the coming weeks.  Our website address will remain and you will be rerouted. We hope you enjoy our new platform!  

We look forward to seeing your family in August.  Enjoy the remainder of your summer vacation!
Kindly,
Jennifer Brown
Principal    

2018 Beginning of the Year Schedule
Monday, August 6: Meet Your Teacher
Parents show their child how to walk to his/her new classroom.
Thursday, August 9: First Day of School
Students meet their teachers on the front blacktop for an opening flag ceremony by 8:30 AM.
Teachers show students how to walk to their classroom.
Friday, August 10: Second Day of School
Students walk to their classrooms between 8:20 AM - 8:30 AM.
Parents say good-bye outside of the building.
Tuesday, August 28: Assessment Hour
Students take classroom assessments for one hour.
Students take their picture at the end of their assessment hour.

Bell Schedule
8:20 AM First Bell
Students can enter the building.
Crosswalk supervision begins.
Students should not arrive to school prior to this bell.

8:30 AM Start of the School Day
8:35 Tardy Bell