Friday, December 8, 2017

MEETING STUDENTS' INDIVIDUAL NEEDS IN LITERACY
Gold Rush uses a workshop model in reading and writing to meet a wide range of students' academic needs. In a workshop, all students engage in a 20-minute mini-lesson that focuses on one of the 6 thinking strategies in reading or a lesson in the area of writing that emphasizes a "craft move" real authors' use. We explicitly teach the reading strategies shown below to promote critical thinking. In writing, teachers model the structure and craft of persuasive, informational and narrative writing during this time.


Monitoring Comprehension
Activating Prior Knowledge & Connecting
Asking Questions
Inferring
Determining Importance
Summarizing & Synthesizing

The independent portion of the workshop is the heart of reading and writing blocks.  During this time students apply strategies modeled during the mini-lesson using texts that are at their individual reading levels or their students' own writing.  This is also an opportunity for students to work on their personal goals.  Teachers use formal and informal assessment data to identify 1-3 goals unique to each student.  Teachers confer with students around these goals and provide targeted feedback either individually or in small groups.

The workshop concludes with a brief sharing time.  This is an opportunity to highlight students' smart thinking and new learning.


Kindergarten Workshop



Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Marchese, models different reading goals for students during the mini-lesson.  Students monitor their progress on their individual goals during the independent portion of the workshop.

Fifth Grade Workshop

Fifth-grade teacher, Mrs. Rayens, meets with individual students to review their writing and specific goals.

FOCUSING ON DETERMINING IMPORTANCE
One of the strategies teachers instruct students on in the area of reading is determining importance.  As was stated previously, determining importance builds critical thinking.  It is also a research-based reading strategy that we use as adult readers.  Now more than ever students can access a tremendous amount of information.  This has increased with the surplus of digital texts.  Before students are able to synthesize, or pull together key concepts from multiple sources, they must be able to determine the most important information.

Students in all grade levels are taught how to distinguish information that is interesting from information that is important.  When teaching this strategy teachers often emphasize the difference between students' personal reactions to exciting new facts from the authors' larger purpose and message.  Teachers point out how a variety of nonfiction text features (headings, bold words, the index) to help them identify the most important concepts.  See evidence of this work below.



Second-grade students work together to determine the most important information from weather texts.


STUDENTS USE TECHNOLOGY TO COLLABORATE & COMMUNICATE
Gold Rush is fortunate to be 1:1 with technology, meaning each student has his/her own device. As a school, we believe that technology should be used to support direct instruction and enhance teaching and learning.

Technology is frequently used to promote collaboration and communication among students. In the primary grades, students often use See-Saw on their ipads to provide peers with feedback. Teachers explicitly teach students how to collaborate and communicate in positive, constructive ways. Students will also reflect on others' thinking and revise their work using ideas they learned from others. The first-grade example below shows how students comment on others' work and the rubric they then use to self-evaluate how well they worked together. Second grade students worked together to share their learning about different types of clouds.












DCSD EMERGENCY TEXT NOTIFICATION
A number of parents/guardians at our schools have signed up to receive text alerts, but have not completed the registration process by opting into the system.  Until they do so, they will not receive text alerts. Please make sure you have completed all steps of the registration process. It only takes minutes to complete the two steps shown below.
STEP 1
Confirm that you have selected to receive text messages in your Infinite Campus account
STEP 2
(the critical step that many people do not complete!)
Send a text to 68453 with the message “YES”
If you do not opt-in to the system as outlined above in step 2, you will NOT receive emergency text messages. Need detailed information? Go to http://tinyurl.com/dcsdtext.


KINDERGARTEN REGISTRATION
We are excited to meet incoming Gold Rush families at Kindergarten Registration on Thursday, December 14, from 5:00-7:00 PM.  We will be providing tours and the principal will present an overview at 5:00 PM and 6:00 PM.  Please share this information with any families that you know are enrolling a kindergarten student for the 2018-2019 school year.  This event is also open to families who are interested in open enrolling at other grade levels.



2018-2019 ENROLLMENT CONFIRMATION SURVEY
We are currently in the planning process for next year. If you have not done so already, please complete the Enrollment Survey to let us know if your child will be returning to Gold Rush. This information will ensure your child's class placement for the upcoming school year.

ELEMENTARY PROGRESS REPORTS (EPR) RELEASED DECEMBER 23
Teachers are celebrating students’ growth as they complete fall Elementary School Progress Reports (EPRs).  EPRs will be released to parents on Saturday,  December 23rd,  through Parent Portal.  

Your child's report card includes grades for content and learner characteristics.  The following rating system is used to determine your child's level of performance:

Exceeds
Indicates a high level of achievement.  It indicates a student has a strong understanding of the content/concepts/skills taught and it implies a student can demonstrate understanding independently and with very few errors.

Meets
Indicates that a student demonstrates an understanding of content/concepts/skills most of the time and with limited support.  Students who are meeting standards make few major errors or omissions when demonstrating a concepts or skill.

Approaching
Indicates that a students requires moderate support to demonstrate an understanding of concepts/skills.  Students' ability to demonstrate their understanding of a concept or skill is inconsistent or infrequent, which indicates a partial understanding of the content, concept or skill.  Students demonstrate more frequent errors or omissions.

Does Not Meet
Students who do not meet standards seldom demonstrate an understanding of concepts and skills taught.  The student requires considerable support to demonstrate learning and makes frequent major errors when demonstrating his/her understanding.


You are able to view your child's information two ways - a highlight view and a comprehensive view.  The highlights view includes a snapshot of how your child performed on core content standards (reading, writing and math) and how your child met school expectations of Going for the G.O.L.D.  The highlights view also includes general classroom comments and individual student comments.  

The comprehensive view includes information on all four elements of the District’s guaranteed and viable curriculum in all subject areas, including social studies, science and specials.  The comprehensive view may also include additional content comments aligned to specific content standards.  You are able to access both views by clicking on the links at the top right portion of the screen.  
HEALTHY HABITS
Flu season is here.  It is an important time to remember to take the proper precautions to remain healthy.  Reminders to wash your hands and to stay home when you are ill are important.  Please click on the links below for additional ways to prevent health concerns that occur in schools.

Healthy Habits for Fall & Spring

Headlice


UPCOMING EVENTS
* December 12: PTO Mtg @ 8:45 AM
* December 14: Kindergarten Registration for 2018-2019 -SAC Meeting Canceled 
* December 15: Choir Concert
* December 21: Winter Parties - See Classroom Communication for Specific Times
* December 22: No School - Winter Break
* January 8: School Resumes