Friday, June 2, 2017

            Welcome to Kindergarten at Gold Rush Elementary.  My name is Stephanie Brown and I will be your child’s Kindergarten teacher.  Kindergarten is the first year of formal education that a child receives, and I am honored to be part of the journey with you and your family.  This year your child will develop into a reader, writer, a mathematician, a scientist, a good friend, and a student!  Talk about new beginnings!  I am continually amazed by the brilliance of 5 and 6 year olds!  They learn quickly, are curious, and have fun doing so.  They truly are amazing! 
            Throughout the year your child will learn many academic concepts.  We will learn about letters, words, and numbers.   Students will do tons of reading, writing, and math. We will study the relationship between the earth and sun, force and motion, and lots about animals.  We will learn about the 7 continents, how to be a good citizen and a little about the sequencing of historical events.  Most importantly, we will work hard to establish a love for learning, thinking, and how to be part of a classroom community. 
            I am sure you are curious about me, as I will be spending lots of time with you and your child. I earned my teaching degree from the University of Northern Colorado, then immediately earned a Masters Degree in Literacy from The University of Colorado at Boulder.  In 2004 I became National Board Certified in Literacy.   I have been teaching for 18 years, with 14 of those years at the Kindergarten level.  In addition to teaching Kindergarten I have worked as a reading specialist in first grade, and currently serve as the RtI specialist (Response to Intervention Specialist) here at Gold Rush for Kindergarten, 3rd, 4th and 5th   grades.   I love Kindergarten, the newness, the energy of both students and families, the incredible amount of learning that occurs is inspiring. 
               Outside of school I enjoy spending time with my family.  I am married and have three children.  Ellianna is 16 and will be a senior at Legend High School.  Clara is 14 and will be a freshman at Legend.  Kellen, is 8 and will be in 3rd grade here at Gold Rush. In my spare time I enjoy doing anything outdoors, exercising, practicing yoga, traveling, watching football (GO BUFFS!), learning, and carpooling my children to and from their activities. Truth be told, I spend the majority of my time outside of school in the car with my kids, but one can dream right? I love a challenge and enjoy learning anything new.  
           
I look forward to working with you and your child in the upcoming school year!  If you have questions over the summer, please feel free to email me at Stephanie.brown@dcsdk12.org.

Sincerely,

Stephanie Brown

Monday, April 3, 2017

March Kindergarten Update




Friday, April 28th:                         Egg Drop (weather permitting)





In class we have been reading and writing informational text.  
One thing we noticed is that informational text often has unique features.



We enjoyed exploring text and finding these text features.   
Although we can learn so much from diagrams and photographs, technology has given us a way to access information independently that may be above our current reading level. Pebblego.com  is a website our school uses and that our class loves! On PebbleGo students learn all kinds of information through videos, diagrams, photographs, maps, and text that can be read to you if needed. Now even young readers can access information independently. They are exploring, learning new things, and practicing taking notes in word and picture form.  At home you can use this website by putting in the password: gredigger and username: gredigger. It is a great resource that we will be using throughout the next few months. Try it out at home! Soon students will be picking an animal to study and write about. This site will become very useful in gathering information.
  






As you know our class has been collecting supplies to make a variety of creations and inventions out of craft supplies and recyclables. What you sent in as "junk" came back as something "precious"!  Thank you for your support. As part of our Force and Motion studies students were challenged to make a marble mover. They were amazing inventors, collaborators, critical thinkers and problem solvers. They made plans, executed their plans and changed them to solve problems along the way. You can see your student share their invention on Seesaw.



Monday, February 6, 2017

We have been busy here in Kindergarten! Here is what we have been up to.
Reader’s Workshop
In reader’s workshop we have been learning about and using Mental Images while reading. We began this by encouraging students to use their background knowledge to create an image in their head of something familiar like, their sibling, mom, or their room at home. Next we asked students to activate their imagination to create images of things they had not seen but had heard about, like the Tooth Fairy. We used student language to help us define what a mental image is. Once we defined what a Mental Image was, we practiced using this skill in reading to remember what was read, as well as, increase understanding, engagement, and enjoyment. Here are some examples of Mental Images that students created while listening to books, and poems read aloud.



Students Mental Images of "Building Mr. Snowman"
We read the Great Gracie Chase.  Students drew their Mental Images while listening the to story.  Next they used their drawings to retell the story into Seesaw.


We read Go Away Big Green Monster.  Each page used different descriptive language to describe a monsters face.  Students listened to the book a page at a time and used their Mental Image to create a monster.  We talked about how our images are each a little different because each of us has our own background knowledge. 





We also looked at using Mental Images in non-fiction text as a way to build and remember background knowledge. It is important for readers to be able to “picture” what they are reading.  For example if a non-fiction text is describing and animal readers need to have an accurate image in their brain while reading.  This is where schema and mental images work together to create understanding. 

Math
We have been working playing several math games to learn simple addition using the ten frame, and manipulatives. Students have been learning various ways to add including, counting the total using manipulatives, counting on, using a number line, and writing equations.

In addition to this we are celebrating 100 days of learning! We are practicing counting to 100 by ones, tens, fives and twos. I have enjoyed students 100 day projects, they are so creative!


STEAM Lab
In class students have been studying force and motion. We began this unit by exploring forces and how things move. Students discovered that force can be categorized into two categories, either a push or a pull. After building students background knowledge and vocabulary around force and motion we headed to the STEAM lab where students created simple machines. We spent 4 days in the STEAM lab exploring, building, and collaborating to create simple machines using Legos. Hopefully you got to check out your child’s Seesaw entries where they explained how the machines they created used with a push or a pull to move.