October News!



The kiddos had a wonderful time at Digger Dash!
They all worked very hard and were very proud of themselves! 

We also got a visit from Firefighter Nick and Fire Fighter Sean!




What's New!

Important Upcoming Dates:

Friday, September 15th - Western Night

Friday, September 22nd - NO SCHOOL - Teacher Training

Our fall Parent Teacher Conferences are scheduled for 
Wednesday, September 27, and Thursday, October 5th. 
 Look for information about how to sign up soon!

Friday, September 29th - Digger Dash!

October 9 - 13  NO SCHOOL - Fall Break

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. 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.  Reading for an extended period of time can be a challenge to many first graders this time of the year!  We start small and build on it every 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 is 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."  

After Reader's Workshop we have "Word Study" everyday.  This is a time to focus on phonics and patterns we see in words.  This year we are using 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 began with counting.  We counted items in a "Mystery Bag" with a partner, then had to record what we found.  We talked a lot about strategies that help us keep track when we count, like moving an object or grouping them when counting large amounts.  Our representation of what we counted should be easy for someone to see how many we counted.  We looked at each other's work and had discussions about what we noticed, then worked to make our representation more organized.
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!  

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.  We've been reading books by Mary Small and Jill Lynn Donahue about being responsible, honest, considerate, respectful and other important behaviors good citizens possess.  The kids will be 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 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.


Welcome! Welcome!

I am very excited to begin this First Grade journey with you! I hope you enjoyed your summer and I am looking forward to all the wonderful growth and memories we will be making this year.

Please mark these dates in your calendars & let me know if you have any questions!

From the desk of our Principal Jenny Brown:

Dear Gold Rush Families,
I hope you are having a wonderful summer!  We are eagerly awaiting the start of another 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 timelines.
Monday, July 17th – July 31st – Online Express Check In
Online Express Check In will open at 12:01 AM on Monday, July 17.  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 7, 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 Registrar Anita Rudman: anita.rudman@dcsdk12.org or 303-387-7707
·       GRE Administrative Assistant Janis Panico: janis.panico@dcsdk12.org or 303-387-7704
·       Student Data and Information Services Summer Hotline: 720-433-0095
·       Business Services: 720-433-1244
·       IT Support Center: 303-387-0001
Monday, July 17th - Class Placement
We know that your child is eager to know who his/her classroom teacher will be!  Starting July 17th 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 7th - 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 7, 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 17th through July 31st and the password is digger.  Each time slot is reserved for a maximum of six students.  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 an Edukit, it will be delivered to your child’s classroom.  Click here for a map of teachers’ classrooms.
Sign Up For One of The Following Times on Monday, August 7th


9:30-9:55
10:00-10:25
10:30-10:55
11:00-11:25
11:30-11:55


Thursday, August 10th -  First Full Day of School
The first full day of school for students in grades K-5 is Thursday, August 10th.  Students will meet their teachers on the front blacktop on the first day of school for an opening flag ceremony.  Each teacher will have a sign with her name on it.  On the second day of school students will enter the building through the front door on their own between 8:20-8:30 and walk directly to their classrooms.  Teachers and older students will be available to assist younger students.  This rolling start will ensure 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 2017 2018 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 16th – Back to School Night for Parents Only
Classroom teachers will provide parents with an overview of the school year on Wednesday, August 16th, during the following two Back to School Night sessions: 6:05-6:35 PM & 6:40-7:10 PM.  I 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 17th or Friday, August 18st – 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 either August 17th or August 18th to complete reading and math assessments.  Having students complete assessments with their teacher at the end of the second week of school allows students to adjust to classroom practices and procedures.  The assessments administered will 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 17th – July 31st to select your assessment day and time.  The password is digger.  Because we value the information we obtain on these days, it is mandatory that all children complete their assessments on either August 17th or August 18th.  Please bring your child to the front vestibule and teachers will escort him/her to his/her testing location.  Students will conclude their assessment day 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 both August 17th and 18th.  Please contact B.A.S.E. as soon as possible as spaces are limited.