Tuesday, July 18, 2017

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 2017/2018 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 my classroom carries over to my students each day.
         My husband, Tom, and I moved to Parker eighteen years ago.  We absolutely love the Parker community. Tom and I have two children.  Logan is 16 and in high school.  Jeffrey is 12 and going into seventh grade.  This past year we got a new puppy named Otis. He is a German Shorthaired Pointer. 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.
Sincerely,
Kathryn Kramer

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

May Blog

May

What's Happening In Our Classroom!

Reading 
Students' are working on the reading strategies summarize/synthesize. Summarizing takes the important information and merges the reader's thinking.  Synthesizing information helps readers to see the bigger picture as they read. Students are learning how to be thoughtful and integrate new information with their existing learning to gain a deeper understanding of the text.  Their thinking will begin to evolve as they encounter new information.  We have been reading non-fiction passages from the Stephanie Harvey Tool Kit, science articles, and Time For Kids. Students are now combining strategies to construct a deeper understanding of what they read.

Writing  
In writing, students are working on several assignments.  They are working on a constellations story and when that is complete, they will begin working on their narrative story with illustrations. We will be using the format that Author Justin Matott shared when he visited with the fourth grade. These story will be published in a book.  We will have a celebration for this as well.  This celebrations will held Tuesday, May 30th from 2:00-3:00ish.  Please join us in this celebration as students will be sharing several pieces of writing.

Math
We are currently working on adding and subtracting larger numbers using a variety of strategies (number lines, place value blocks, and/or the U.S. Algorithm).  We will begin Unit 7 (How Many Packages and Groups) within the next week.  This unit covers: converting measurement, two digit multiplication and division problems.  Learning is differentiated through small group instruction, as well as extension activities that will challenge all students.

Science
We are finishing our study of "The Sun, Moon, and Stars".  The students created a constellation and are in the process of writing a narrative story of how their constellation came to be.  We will begin our Magnetism and Electricity unit next week.


Technology
Last Monday and Wednesday students were working with Legos.  They were learning about simple machines (force/motion, friction, and gears).  They were using inquiry to answer questions about force and motion.

May
  • May 29th - No School
  • May 30th - Writing Celebration from 2:00-3:00ish
  • May 31st - Field Day (Morning)
  • June 2nd - Last Day (Picnic...more information to come)   

As always, please let me know if you have any questions.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

April Blog

April
What's Happening In Our Classroom!

Reading 
Starting the middle of April, we will focus on the comprehension strategy of summarize/synthesize. Synthesizing information helps readers to see the bigger picture as they read.  Students will learn how to be thoughtful and  integrate new information with their existing learning to gain a deeper understanding of the text.  Their thinking will begin to evolve as they encounter new information.  We have been reading multiple fiction and non-fiction passages from ReadWorks.org, Time For Kids, and a variety of articles regarding the sun, moon, and stars. 

Writing  
As you saw prior to conferences or at conferences, students were heavily involved with their informational research report.  They did a wonderful job taking the lessons and skills taught and implementing those into their report.  After PARCC, I will send an email to let you know when we will have our informational writing celebration.  We would love for you to join us. Students will be writing a narrative story which they will illustrate and publish into a book.  We will be using the format that Author Justin Matott shared when he visited with the fourth grade We will have a celebration for this as well.  This celebrations will be sometime in May.

Math
We are in the process of learning about fractions and decimals. We are taking a very hands-on approach (visually and kinesthetically) in order for students to understand why we have fractions and decimals.   For the remainder of this unit we will multiply fractions by whole numbers, as well as multiply, add, and subtract fractions.  Learning is differentiated through small group instruction, as well as extension activities that will challenge all students.

Science
Our new unit is "The Sun, Moon, and Stars".  The students will learn what causes night and day, how the sun creates shadows depending on the time of day, the phases of the moon, stars, and constellations. 

Technology
On Friday, March 10th students did a great job using a variety of digital tools to construct knowledge, produce creative artifacts, and made meaningful learning connections by using Discovery Education and ReadWorks.  Students were able to use their reading/thinking strategies (background knowledge, asking questions, inferring, synthesizing and summarizing)

Young AmeriTowne
Students had a wonderful time today.  They were so busy and dedicated to their job.  I am proud of all the hard work they put forth and it truly showed by their work ethic.  Way to Go! 

April
  • PARCC - April 4th, 6th 7th, and 10th-14th                                                                                            Please make sure your child is here on those days and try to schedule appointments around testing times.  Also, please make sure your child has a good night sleep, a healthy breakfast, and snacks for school. Thank you.  
  • Monday, April 10th Book Fair Preview Time for our class 
  • Monday, April 10th- Thursday, April 20th Book Fair 
  • Friday, April 21st - No School  
As always, please let me know if you have any questions.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

March Blog

March
What's Happening In Our Classroom!

Reading 
Students continue to work on the comprehension strategy of making inferences. We are also working on theme vs. main idea, and summarizing and synthesizing.   We have been reading multiple fiction and non-fiction passages from ReadWorks.org.  In addition, we have been covering the above reading/thinking strategies as we prepare and practice for PARCC testing. Students are learning to use the tools (highlighting, annotating) and important test taking strategies as we practice together.

Writing  
Student focused on their informational writing.  They have completed their four subheadings, conclusion, and glossary.  Students are currently in the process of writing a micro-story in first person which includes thoughts and feelings.  After the micro-story is complete, students will begin importing pictures/maps that match their text, writing captions, and creating charts.
 
Math
We are in the process of learning about fractions and decimals. We are taking a very hands-on approach (visually and kinesthetically) in order for students to understand why we have fractions and decimals.  Students have been learning through creating fraction cards, Twizzler activities, cutting/pasting different square and rectangular grid paper.  They are shading to show equivalent fractions and comparisons.  Learning is differentiated through small group instruction, as well as extension activities that will challenge all students.

Young AmeriTowne 
Students did a wonderful job with interviews and received their position for our day at Young AmeriTowneWe are concluding our study of the free enterprise system and preparing with great anticipation.  Students have done a wonderful job.  I can't wait to see them take what they have learned and put it into practice. Please sign your child up for this field trip through RevTrak.  

Science
Our new unit will be "The Sun, Moon, and Stars".  The students will learn what causes night and day, how the sun creates shadows depending on the time of day, the phases of the moon, stars, and constellations. 

Technology
On Friday, March 10th students will be using a variety of digital tools to construct knowledge, produce creative artifacts, and make meaningful learning experiences by using Discovery Education and Read Works.  

March  
  • Conference - 8th and 15th 
  • Spring Break - 17th-31st
April
  • PARCC - April 4th, 6th 7th, and 10th-14th                                                                                            Please make sure your child is here on those days and try to schedule appointments around testing times.  Also, please make sure your child has a good night sleep and a healthy breakfast and snacks for school. Thank you.
  • Young AmeriTowne Field Trip - Wednesday, April 5th

As always, please let me know if you have any questions.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

February Blog

February
What's Happening In Our Classroom!

Reading 
Students are working on the comprehension strategy of making inferences.  We have been reading multiple fiction and non-fiction passages (Ladders, ReadWorks.org, TFK).  As we practice this strategy together, students are working on transferring what they've learned to their own work.  Students are learning how to use text clues and their background knowledge to infer the meaning of unknown words, how to infer authors' unstated meaning, and how to merge their background knowledge and information from the text to create a new meaning from the text.  We are also reviewing how to annotate using the strategies and why those annotations are important . 

Writing 
We have started the genre: informational writing.  The students are learning how to craft an informational piece. The purpose of the informational piece is to teach others about their selected topic.  Students chose topics based on U.S./Colorado History.  Students are currently using their number notes outline to take notes on note cards.  They are adding details and examples. From there, students will use their note cards to begin drafting.  Author, Justin Matott, will be joining us on Friday, January 3rd.

Math
We are in the process of concluding our study of U.S. Measurement and the Metric System.  Students continue to learn how to convert from one unit of measurement to the other, calculate perimeter and area, classify polygons, measure angles, and how to accurately use measurement tools. In addition, they are working on symmetry, finding halves, area of polygons, and area of angles.  Learning is differentiated through small group instruction, as well as extension activities that will challenge all students.

Young AmeriTowne
Students are learning about the Free Enterprise and Economics.  In the next few week 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, campaigns, filling out a job application, interviewing, voting, advertising, developing laws, philanthropy, debit cards, budgeting, investing, stocks, mutual funds, CD's, and savings.  We will need volunteers, please look for the letter that will be coming home with your child.  Students will be attending Young AmeriTowne on Wednesday, April 5, 2017.

Science
Our new unit will be "The Sun, Moon, and Stars".  The students will learn what causes night and day, how the sun creates shadows depending on the time of day, the phases of the moon, stars, and constellations. 

Technology
Students thoroughly enjoyed our time in the STEAM Lab.  They were able to use the new apps to code our robots Dot and Dash.  The lessons have been designed to connect with the math unit we are currently studying. For example, students created coding paths for their robots using their knowledge of the metric system.  The class is excited to go back!

February is Kindness Month!  
  • We will be working on developing and strengthening our classroom community.  
  • Secret Pal Valentine Breakfast - February 14th
  • Friendship Soup - February 14th (letter to come)
March  
  • Spring Break - 17th-31st
 
April
  • PARCC - April 4th-7th                                                                                                                          Please make sure your child is here on those days and try to schedule appointments around testing times.  Thank you.

As always, please let me know if you have any questions.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

January Classroom Blog

January
What's Is Happening In Our Classroom

Reading 
Students are working on the comprehension strategy of making inferences.  We have been reading a passage on The Titanic.  I begin by modeling, students eventually apply the strategy on their own, making inferences from the text.  Students are learning how to use text clues and their background knowledge to infer the meaning of unknown words, how to infer authors' unstated meaning, and how to merge their background knowledge and information from the text to create a new meaning from the text. We are also reviewing how to annotate using the strategies and why those annotations are important .  As always, when the kids are applying their strategies independently, they are doing so using fiction and nonfiction texts that are appropriate for their reading level.

Writing 
We have started the genre: informational writing.  The kids are learning how to craft an informational piece. The purpose of the informational piece is to teach others about their selected topic.  Students chose topics based on U.S./Colorado History.  

During the mini-lesson portion of writing, I have been modeling the note taking process for students using texts about The Titanic from Reading.  I have been modeling note taking skills (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 students will write informational pieces which include their voice.  Each student will become an "expert" on their topic through using this process.

Math
We are continuing our study of U.S. Measurement and the Metric System.  Students are learning how to convert from one unit of measurement to the other, calculate perimeter and area, classify polygons, measure angles, and how to accurately use measurement tools. Learning will be differentiated through small group instruction, as well as extension activities that will challenge all students.

Social Studies
We are finishing up our Social Studies unit on Colorado History.  The students have learned about early Colorado settlements that were created and influenced by the Gold Rush, Explorers, Fur Traders, and a variety of other groups. Students will also be learning about Economics and Government. Upon completion of this unit, we will begin our study of the Free Enterprise System and prepare for our day at Young AmeriTowne. 

Science
Our new unit will be "The Sun, Moon, and Stars".  The students will learn what causes night and day, how the sun creates shadows depending on the time of day, the phases of the moon, stars, and constellations. 

Technology
Our Technology rotation is right around the corner (Jan. 24th).  Students will be in the STEAM Lab utilizing a variety of new apps to code our new robots Dot and Dash.  The lessons have been designed to connect with the math unit we are currently studying.  For example, kids will be creating and coding paths for their robots using their knowledge of the metric system.  The class is extremely excited.

As always, please let me know if you have any questions.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

November Highlights

Dear Parents ~
It was wonderful meeting with you to discuss your child's progress at conferences.  We will be having a Celebration of Learning on November 16th in conjunction with the Thanksgiving Feast.  Our Celebration of Learning will be held from 12:00-12:30 in our classroom.  Your child will be sharing different technology tools they use, as well as, some of their work.  The Thanksgiving Feast for our class will be from 12:30-12:50.  It is our hope that you will be able to join us in this celebration.  Please let me know if you have any questions.

Reading:
In reading workshop, students have been asking questions (thick vs. thin) and connecting new learning to that knowledge as they read a variety of texts. Students have been reading leveled texts and chapter booksThey are using sticky notes to annotate their text.  Students are asking questions, activating schema, recognizing unfamiliar/unknown vocabulary, inferring, and identifying new learnings.  Students have been working on developing written responses to higher level questions.  They are being asked to respond to the questions, explain their thinking, and reference the text using page numbers and examples.  I am proud of students' effort and work completed so far. These strategies are used cross curricular.


Math: 
We have finished Unit 2 (Data).  We are currently working on Unit 3 which focuses on multiplication and division.  The students are learning to break apart multiplication problems, solving division problems, and working on strategies we use to solve multiplication and division problems.  They are showing and explaining their thinkingEach student has the opportunity to explore a variety of different math games related to the current unit by accessing the google classroom I set up as well as logging on to Pearsonrealize.com and playing the math games introduced throughout the unit. 

Students will be completing a Thanksgiving performance task where they will be asked to prepare a meal for a family of five.  This will include a plan, set budget, creating a menu using store ads, and a financial spreadsheet. Students will create a menu that showcases each courseThey will need to include an itemized bill/receipt that provides an accurate account for all funds spend. Students will be using addition and multiplication.

Writing:
Students continue to work on opinion essays.  They are in the process of editing/revising and typing a draft in Google Docs. Students will show their work during our Celebration of Learning.  It is exciting to see the growth that is being made along the way.

Social Studies:
We have learned about Colorado's geography. Students will be completing a performance task regarding real estate and if the geographic location is suitable for a family based on the families specified criteria. 

Students are currently learning about the Native American groups in Colorado (Utes, Cheyenne, and Arapaho).  They are taking notes on their learnings and comparing the groups we discuss.  

Technology:
Students are using technology on a daily basis.  We have been using Google Classroom for different reading and writing activities.  Students are using Seesaw as a reflective tool to show and explain their thinking. In the next couple weeks, I will be co-teaching with Mrs. Fleet. We will focus on creating infographics.  Together, we will guide students through how they can use an infographic to create meaning for others about the connection between the 4C's and digital tools. 

Please let me know if you have any questions.