Sunday, October 16, 2016

Welcome Back

Dates & Reminders

Monday October 17thDigger Dash
Monday October 31stHalloween Party – Details to come.  We typically have our party for the first hour of the day.
Tuesday November 8th – No School – Teacher In-service Day
November 21-25th – Thanksgiving Break – NO SCHOOL

Reading Groups
Thank you to all of the parents who are helping with these groups, we could not do this without you!

Your child should be bringing home a book every M-Th.  Be sure they bring it back the next day as they will re-read these books during reader’s workshop. 

Please have your child read the book to you and talk about what the book was about.  Be sure to ask them what their favorite part was and have them pick a part the reminds them of something. After reading don't forget to do a quick letter or sight word activity from the homework folder.  From time to time I will highlight specific letters or sight words to work on, I will not do this every week as students take time to learn these skills.

Here is a quick look at what reading groups look like in the classroom

Picture Walk 

·         Students flip through the book and talk about the pictures on each page, adults “plant” words (point to and find a key word on a page or two that might be challenging).  Planting words ahead of time will increase the odds for success when reading alone.

Read first page together (choral read)
·        Choral reading is when everyone reads simultaneously (like a choir sings the chorus together).
·        Reading the first page together help beginning readers by giving them an idea of what the pattern will be. 

Individual Reading—Students “whisper read” the rest of the book
·        Students try to read the rest of the book independently in a whisper voice, pointing to the words as they go. 
·        Adults listen to a page or two of each student’s reading. They suggest strategies students can use when they get to challenging word.

Strategy Discussion (after all students finish whisper reading) 

·         Students discuss the strategies they used to read a tricky word.
Reread entire book together (choral read)
·         This builds automaticity and fluency when reading.  This process ensures that students begin to build a lexicon to use while reading.
·         Students get a chance to retell the book by stating what happened in the beginning, middle and end of the book.  We encourage students to use as many details as possible along with character names when applicable. 

Comprehension Work 

·       Students get a chance to use the comprehension strategy that is being studied.  Currently we are asking students to pick a page in the book that reminds them of something.  We use the following language:

“This page reminds me of…” (fiction)
“ I learned….:” (non-fiction)
·         Each group has a differentiated activity.  This will vary throughout the year and is based on the needs of the students in the group. Activities include, letter and sounds work, sight word practice, spelling pattern practice and Words Their Way sorts. 

Classroom Update

When we return from Fall Break we will begin our "Small Moment" writing unit. During this unit students will write short personal narratives about things they have done, places they have visited, and everyday activities.  In order to prepare your child for this, be sure to talk with them about some of the fun things you may have done over break.  We will practice taking a big idea like a vacation and "zoom in" on "small moments".  For example a student may have taken a trip to Disney Land, we will ask them to pick a favorite ride to write about.  We will ask them to write what they did, state who was there, and then add a few details and then state a feeling.  The more you can talk about things at home the easier this process can be.  We will spend a lot of time talking about experiences and then putting those ideas into writing.  

Technology Integration

We are excited to integrate technology into our "Small Moment" writing unit by uploading students writing into an online portfolio app called SeaSaw.  Once we teach students how to do this you will be able to access your students account and look at their work!  This will be an excellent opportunity for students to practice sharing their work with an authentic audience, learning how to use technology in a purposeful way, give you a chance to see their work, and will give us an opportunity to review their work!  
We have been working hard to develop math routines around counting, vocabulary and learning how to share our thinking and observations around numbers. We spent time learning about the classroom manipulatives, how to use them as well as describe, categorize, and sort them.  Students worked on a number book where they practiced counting, creating and recording sets between 0 and 12.

 Choice Time

Students have enjoyed choice time!  During this time of day students get to choose an activity around the room to participate in.  Once they choose they are required to stay at that activity for the whole time.  We are trying to develop stamina, responsibility and teamwork.  By having students stay in one spot they are required to solve any problems that may arise, and work together to play nicely and clean up.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

First Week

Here is what we have been up to

Name Study
To build phonemic awareness (calling attention to the sounds) and develop some important understandings about words and letters, we are focusing on one student’s name each day. This special student will be the focus for all literacy activities for the day. Some of these activities include: sharing items in special bag, the story of their name, writing a sentence about the special student, adding their name to the word wall, using the alphabet chart to find letters that match the sounds they hear, creating a picture to match the sentence written, counting and rearranging letters, and noticing the letter-sound relationships. (*Basically, its like writing bootcamp!)

To begin thinking mathematically, we have started to explore some of the math materials (manipulatives) that we will use throughout the year: pattern blocks, geoblocks, connecting cubes, buttons, colored tiles, and unifix cubes. Students are using these materials to match objects that have at least one attribute in common. We are talking about descriptive words, classifying by attributes, answering daily surveys and graphing answers, and thinking about data. Each day, they are becoming more familiar with the expectations of learning.

Please check your child’s messenger folder each night and send it back to school each day.  For organization purposes...please take out the things I sent home the day before and add any messages to me or homework completed in that folder.  This lets me know you got my messages. This folder is how you and I will communicate and will be used for homework all year long.    

Please help your child learn how to use their backpacks, water bottles, and folders.  We are working hard to build independence at these skills at school your help at home is much appreciated. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Welcome to Kindergarten

             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 17 years, with 13 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.   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 Junior at Legend High School.  Clara is 13 and will be in 8th grade at Cimarron Middle School.  Kellen, will be 8 in October and will be in second grade here at Gold Rush. In my spare time I enjoy doing anything outdoors, exercising, practicing yoga, traveling, learning, and carpooling my children to and from their activities. 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

Important Dates and Info

 In order for me to get to know you and your child please email me a letter and let me know a little bit about your child.  Please include anything and everything you think I should know about your child both academically and socially.   Please email me your letter by August 1st! 

Monday, July 18th – Monday, August 1st – Online Express Check In
Online Express Check In will open at 12:01 AM on Monday, 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 Friday, August 5, or the first day of school.  All students must register via Online Express Check In by August 1st.  For assistance please contact one of the individuals below:
·       GRE Registrar Anita Rudman: or 303-387-7700
·       GRE Administrative Assistant Janis Panico: or 303-387-7700
·       Student Data and Information Services Summer Hotline: 303-387-0016
·       Business Services: 720-433-1244
·       IT Support Center: 303-387-0001

Monday, July 18th - Class Placement
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.
Friday, August 5th - Meet Your Teacher
Families are welcome to visit their classroom on Friday, August 5, 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 between July 18th to August 1st  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 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 Friday, August 5th
Monday, August 8th -  First Full Day of School
The first full day of school for students in grades K-5 is Monday, August 8th.  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 smoother, safer start to the day.  School will be in session from 8:30AM-3:30PM next year.    
Click here for the 2016 2017 Split Fall Break Modified 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 17th – Back to School Night for Parents Only
Classroom teachers will provide parents with an overview of the school year on Wednesday, August 17th, during the following two Back to School Night sessions: 6:00-6:30PM & 6:35-7:05 PM.  
Thursday, August 18th or Friday, August 19st – 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 18th or August 19st 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 18th – August 1st to select your assessment day and time.  The password again is digger.  Because we value the information we obtain on these days, it is mandatory that all children complete their assessments on either August 18th or August 19th.  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 18th and 19th.  Please contact B.A.S.E. as soon as possible as spaces are limited.