Monday, October 1, 2018

October Blog


The start of Fall Break will mark the completion our study of arrays, factors, and multiplicative comparisons in Unit 1.  When we return, we will begin our second unit pertaining to data and measurement. Our investigation of measurement will commence by gathering data on the height of fourth graders and first graders.  The students will then learn how to represent and compare the data they collected using bar graphs and line plots. They will determine range, mode, outliers, and whether the data is concentrated in one area or spread out.  Additionally, they will learn how to draw conclusions based on the data collected. They will then have the opportunity to create their own survey question, survey their classmates, organize, represent, and analyze their data.
You can support your child at home by continuing to practice multiplication math facts so he/she knows them “in a snap!” You also have access to Pearson Realize, as I mentioned in an earlier email.  Your child’s username and password is in his/her HW planner. On this site you can access video tutorials, games related to our content, and the math workbook.

Unit 2 Math Links
Generating and Representing Measurement Data

Data Collection
Organizing and Representing Data

Comparing Two Sets of Data

Describing and Summarizing Data

Working with Data

Students are currently researching their chosen endangered animal, how human behavior impacts their animal’s ecosystems, their animal’s place in the food chain, and the impact on the ecosystem if the animal were to go extinct. Students are expected to include a call to action in their final product in order to encourage others to save their species.  The end product will be a brochure that the kids create and share with one another.

This month in Reading Workshop we will continue to think deeply about our reading, determine if we are truly reading “just right books” at our level that will help us grow as readers, and analyze our characters’ traits while providing evidence from the text as support. These are reading strategies we focused on in September, and we will continue to do so in October.  We will build upon these strategies by studying the theme of our class read aloud and independent books. Additionally, we will study how our characters change throughout the story, as well as provide specific evidence from the text that explains the reasons behind this change. Furthermore, the kids are working hard on writing reading responses that provide a detailed description of their character; traits, behaviors, motivations, obstacles, struggles.   

As always, I could really use your support at home….please encourage your child to read.  Volume matters!! As you discuss your child’s book with him or her, ask what kind of person the main character is and how he/she can prove that.  This will support what we are doing in class and give your kiddo a chance to show off his/her skills!
During Writer's Workshop 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 and sensory imagery. As always, I meet and conference with the kids to help them incorporate modeled techniques into their own piece.   
Upcoming Dates

October 4th - Conferences
October 8th-12th: Fall Break
October 19th: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Field Trip
October 31st: Halloween (more information to come)

Thursday, September 6, 2018

September's Blog

September Newsletter


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 first graders. 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 think deeply about our reading, determine if we are truly reading “just right books” at our level that will help us grow as readers, and analyze our characters’ traits while providing evidence from the text as support. During reading workshop the kids will be reading books at their independent level.  I will be conferring independently with readers as well as working with kiddos in a small group format as I focus on the aforementioned skills. They will use sticky notes, graphic organizers, and record their thinking in their Reader's Journal as they annotate their text.
I could really use your support at home….please encourage your child to read.  Volume matters!!


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. 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 will meet with Ms.Wilson's first grade class within the next week. The kids will learn a bit about their buddy during this time. Students are very excited!

Upcoming Dates

1.    September 27th and October 4th:  Parent Teacher Conference

2.    September 20th: Digger Dash

3.    October 19th: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Field Trip

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Welcome to 4th Grade!

Dear Parents and Student ~
            I would like to introduce myself, and welcome your child to 4th grade!  My name is Kathryn Kramer, and I will be your child’s 4th grade teacher for the 2018/2019 school year.  I am looking forward to our year together with great anticipation and excitement!
         I have been teaching for the past twenty-four years and have a Master’s degree from Regis University.   I have taught 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades here in Douglas County, as well as in Littleton Public Schools.  It is a pleasure to be a part of Gold Rush Elementary School.
         Teaching is my passion!  I am excited to come to work each day, teach all curricular areas, and help students make connections with what they are learning in the classroom and in their daily lives.  I hope the enthusiasm and love of learning that I bring to our classroom carries over to my students each day.
         My husband, Tom, and I moved to Parker twenty years ago.  We absolutely love the Parker community. Tom and I have two children.  Logan is 17 and a senior in high school.  Jeffrey is 13 and going into eighth grade.  We have a German Shorthaired Pointer whose name is Otis. Our family enjoys hockey, swimming, bicycling, water skiing, snow skiing, and camping.  We love spending time together as a family.
         Fourth grade is a year of tremendous growth, increased responsibility, and an opportunity for your child to think critically.  My goal is to help your child become more responsible and independent, while providing a learning environment that is rich in content and conducive to your child’s needs.  I will work with your child throughout the school year to provide them with the tools and knowledge needed for them to meet these expectations and achieve success.  Together, I hope to create an environment with open communication, the ability to take risks, and one that encourages life long learning. My door is always open.  If at any time you have questions or concerns, please let me know as soon as possible in order to minimize miscommunication.
Kathryn Kramer

Monday, April 9, 2018


What's Happening in April?

Reading Workshop

  At the beginning of April we started 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 we discussed 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.  Students finished their informational writing last week.  In the near future, we will begin writing narrative stories which students will illustrate and publish in a book.


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. As this unit concludes, we will begin our study of unit 7, "How Many Packages and Groups".  The unit focuses on the operations of multiplication and division, including problems involving converting measurements.
**As always, you and your kiddo can log on to the Pearson Realize website for access to teaching videos, math games, and the HW pages connected to this unit.

April and May

  • CMAS Testing Schedule - April 9th, 10, and 11th
  •  No School April 20th
  • Talent Show (?) - April 27th
  • Play (Dress Rehearsal) - May 18th
  • Field Day - May 23rd
  • Author's Celebration (Classroom @ 2:15-3:00ish) - May 24th 
  • 4th Grade Picnic (Bus Loop) @ 12:40-1:15 - May 25th  

Friday, February 2, 2018

February Blog

What's Happening In Our Classroom!

Students are continuing to learn and apply the comprehension strategy of determining importance during reading workshop. The students will be reading a variety of passages and texts and determining the difference between interesting and important information. As always, I will begin by modeling, and then the kids will eventually apply the strategy on their own.  When applying their strategies independently, they will be doing so using fiction and nonfiction texts that are appropriate for their reading level.

We have started the genre: informational writing.  The students are learning how to craft an informational piece.  The reading comprehension strategies of inferring and determining importance will be applied as the kids research their topic and read carefully to determine which information is most essential.

During the mini-lesson portion of writing workshop, I model the note taking process for the kids using texts from Reading Workshop.  Mini lessons will focus on 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.

Students are currently using their number notes outline to take notes on note cards adding dates, details and examples. From there, students will use their note cards to begin drafting.  

In February, we will finish our math unit on measurement and shapes.  Our next unit is Fraction Cards and Decimal Grids. In this unit, students will learn parts of rectangles, comparing fractions and decimals, adding and subtracting fractions and decimals, and computation with rational numbers. Learning will be differentiated through small group instruction as well as extension activities that will challenge all students.

Unit 4: Useful Links for Measurement and Shapes:

Angles & Degrees 

Classifying Triangles 

Mirror Symmetry  

Points, Lines, Line Segments, Parallel Lines 



Unit 6:  Useful Links for Fractions and Decimals


Young AmeriTowne
Students are learning about the Free Enterprise and Economics.  Over the next few weeks we will be discussing:  choices and decisions, supply and demand, what is banking, intro. to checking accounts, how government works, how to write a deposit slip/checks, campaigns, filling out a job application, interviewing, voting, advertising, developing laws, philanthropy, debit cards, budgeting, investing, stocks, mutual funds, CD's, and savings.  The fourth grade will be attending Young AmeriTowne on Friday, March 9, 2017.

Next week in our technology rotation, students will be going to the STEAM Lab to work with Lego-WeDos.  Our focus will be on building and programming Legos, collaborating creatively with others, and having the openness and courage to explore an open-ended task.  Students will also look at how designing and refining their ideas will lead to success with Legos.

February is Kindness Month!  
  • We will be working on developing and strengthening our classroom community.  
  • Secret Pal Valentine Breakfast - February 14th
  • Colorado Connection Concert in Music - March 1st (10:25-10:55)
  • Young AmeriTowne Field Trip - March 9th 
  • Spring Break - March 19th-23rd
  • CMAS Testing Schedule (see below) - March 28th-April 11th

Gold Rush CMAS Schedule 2018
3rd  Grade
English Language Arts (ELA) Unit 1
English Language Arts (ELA) Unit 2
English Language Arts (ELA) Unit 3
5th Grade
10:15 - 12:00

English Language Arts (ELA) Unit 1
English Language Arts (ELA) Unit 2
English Language Arts (ELA) Unit 3
4th Grade
English Language Arts (ELA) Unit 1
English Language Arts (ELA) Unit 2
English Language Arts (ELA) Unit 3
3rd Grade
Math Unit 1
Math Unit 2
Math Unit 3
5th Grade
10:45 - 12:15
Math Unit 1
Math Unit 2
Math Unit 3

5th  Grade
Science Unit 1
Science Unit 2
Science Unit 3
4th Grade
Math Unit 1
Math Unit 2
Math Unit 3
ELA  3 Units @ 90 min
Math 3 Units @ 65 min
Science 3 Units @ 80 min
My door is always open.  Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.