Monthly Updates


October Update

It was a pleasure meeting with all of you last week. I enjoyed celebrating your student’s success and goals for the rest of the semester. If you have any questions that are still lingering from our time together, please do not hesitate to reach out. We are on the downhill race to the end of the semester, yet we have a lot to do! Here is what we will be covering between Fall Break 1 and Fall Break 2.

Please read all the way to the end as there is a plethora of information and volunteer opportunities!

Important Dates

October 16-24: Fall Break

October 29: Halloween Party (details in this letter)

November 1: No School

November 16: Young Ameritowne Field Trip

November 22-26: Fall Break 2 (Thanksgiving Break)

Halloween Party

The students and I have discussed what we would like to do for our party on October 29. Here is the link for the sign-up genius to volunteer to supply items for our party. All items must be store bought. For our party, the kids would like 3 game stations and 1 food station (each manned by one parent). On the sign-up, the game is going to be generic (except for one game) and if you sign up, please email me and let me know what supplies you need and I’ll put it on the sign-up for others to help supply. As per school request this year, we will be having only four parents in attendance to help out; however, the parade is open for all and will be outside. The parade is from 9:45-10:00 and is combined with 3rd grade. Thank you in advance for helping us have an amazing party!

Young Ameritowne Field Trip and Volunteers (form linked here)

This field trip is an amazing opportunity for your students to participate in a town economy. If you would like to know more about Young AmeriTowne, please visit their website. It is pretty amazing and students walk away with so much joy and excitement about an economic system!

Our field trip to Young Ameritowne is on Tuesday, November 16, 2021. The cost is $42.00.

In order for your child to participate in this field trip/program you must register (includes online permission form) & pre-pay on-line by going to: > Login > Add your student if you have not already done so > Go to School Store in upper right corner > Field Trips > GRE - 5th Grade Young Ameritowne. The MySchoolBucks link can be found on GRE’s website under Parent Info or click here

. Registrations MUST be completed by 2 days prior to your field trip.

  • Online registration is for your student only- please do not register yourself or younger siblings.

  • Free/Reduced students must still register, but will have no payment required.

  • No refunds

  • The cost includes the field trip and a bus

Volunteers are needed in order to make this trip a success. We will need many volunteers before we go and the day of our field trip. Please see the attached document for the type of volunteer opportunities and dates. Please fill out the attached form if you are interested.


As I discussed at conferences, we are working through Text Complexity in Nonfiction texts right now. Students will be asked to navigate nonfiction texts and use their knowledge of text structures to find the main idea and summarize a small portion of a text. We will then be working on Author’s Craft in nonfiction texts and how it contributes to the organization of the text. Finally, we will be doing our own, self-selected, research in order to present information through a screencastify. Throughout this unit we will be looking at a variety of nonfiction texts and challenging ourselves to figure out what is important to glean and what we need to ignore.


In writing, we will be finishing up our learning about paragraphing and begin to work on analyzing literary texts to write a literary essay. This unit is really fun and we look at a variety of media (videos, books, magazine articles, etc) to pull evidence to support a thesis we make. This is students first exposure to argumentative writing and using evidence to back up their claims. This will carry us through to December.


Currently, students are working on multiplying decimals. We have been working hard to figure out why decimals are placed where they are when we multiply. The students have shown me some great number sense and I am super excited moving forward to work on our next units!

Topic 5: Division of whole numbers

In this topic, your student continues to develop his or her understanding of division by using number sense and models to divide whole numbers up to 4-digits by 2-digit divisors. Your student will use strategies such as rounding and compatible numbers to estimate quotients. Then he or she will use patterns and relationships in different methods to calculate the actual quotients.

I will be teaching them the traditional algorithm for division after we talk about the relationship between partial quotients and the traditional method.

Topic 6: Using Strategies to Divide Decimals

In this topic, your student is learning to divide decimals by decimals and by whole

numbers. He or she will be asked to divide decimals to the hundredths place in a variety of ways, including using models and strategies based on place value and number sense. Your student will also develop proficiency in estimating when dividing decimals.

Try this activity with your student to help him or her practice dividing a decimal number

by a whole number.

Share the Money

Materials: real or play dollar bills, dimes, and pennies

Step 1: Pose this problem: Three sisters want to share $3.48 equally. How can they divide

the amount equally? Display 3 dollar bills, 4 dimes, and 8 pennies.

Step 2: Have your student suggest some ideas for sharing the money equally. If needed,

remind your student that a dime can be traded for 10 pennies.

Step 3: Work together to find the answer. Then have your student model the solution: Each

sister gets 1 dollar bill, 1 dime, and 6 pennies. Have your student record the amount. ($1.16)

Step 4: Repeat with the amount of $2.94. (Each sister gets 9 dimes and 8 pennies; $0.98.)

Continue with other amounts of money that can be shared equally.

Social Studies

We will be focused on the Young AmeriTowne Curriculum until our trip on November 16th. Students will be learning how to maintain a business, write checks, maintain a check ledger when using both a debit card and writing checks, apply for a job, run a campaign, make town rules, and more!

September Update

Wow! I can’t believe September is blowing past us! It feels like just yesterday we were starting school. A lot has happened in the past eight weeks here at school and we just keep plugging away at our new learning. We have some important events coming up that I am excited about.

Important Dates

September 24 - No School (Teacher Professional Development)

October 1 - Digger Dash

October 5, & 7 - Parent Teacher Conferences

October 18-22 - Fall Break

October 29 - Halloween Party

November 1 - No School (Teacher PD day)

November 22 -25 - Fall Break (Thanksgiving Week)


I am looking forward to fall conferences on October 4th, 5th and 7th. I am holding them on Monday, October 4, as well to help accommodate the number of conferences that I need to hold this year and to offer more times during the week. This is a great opportunity to celebrate your child's growth and discuss his/her goals! Click here to sign up. All parents must wear a mask inside the building per the District mandate. Please email me if you need a virtual accommodation.


We have taken on realistic fiction book clubs and many students have finished their first book. We are learning how important it is to write about our reading and how important it is to our Reading Life! We have been sharpening up our reading and thinking skills by reading great stories, studying skills and strategies of interpretation, and by writing and talking about literature.

Once we have learned to identify and discuss themes actively within our book clubs, we will compare and contrast the ways in which themes are developed across texts. We will then be studying the way in which a theme can be developed differently in different texts.

Students will be working from the following learning progressions to help elevate their reading to new levels this year. The rubric includes responding to reading, looking at story elements at a deeper level, looking at the story whole and how the parts contribute to that, developing the idea of a theme or multiple themes, studying the author's craft, and analyzing perspective. At home, you can help your child by talking to them at a deeper level of what they are reading. Instead of asking them the basic questions of who are the characters, what is the setting, etc, talk to them about how their thinking may have changed as they were reading the story.

When we finish this unit, we will be moving on to Tackling Complexity in nonfiction books. For this unit, we will take a look at text complexity, text structure, vocabulary and summarizing. Students will embark on a mini-research project using science and history books to learn about a topic of their choice.


We have been generating personal narratives and setting goals using a checklist to assess our growth and set new goals.

We are currently moving through the writing process by drafting, revising and editing our personal narratives. By the end of the week we will have finished our narratives and will be ready to move on.

Starting next week, students will be participating in a three week Paragraph Boot Camp unit. We will be analyzing the components of a powerful paragraph and extending a single paragraph into a multi-paragraph piece. From here, students will begin a unit on writing literary essays. This is a fun and engaging unit that prepares students for our next writing unit: argumentative essay writing.


We have finished our first and second unit in math. The first unit was on decimals to the thousandths. In this unit, we covered the idea that the value of a digit depends on its place in a number—for whole numbers to hundred millions and decimals to thousandths. He or she is learning that a digit in any place has 10 times the value it would have in the place to its right and 1 10 the value it would have in the place to its left. For example, in the number 105,558, the value of the 5 in the hundreds place is 1 10 the value of the 5 in the thousands place and 10 times the value of the 5 in the tens place. Your child will also learn to use whole-number exponents to write powers of 10. You can expect to see work that provides practice in place value with whole numbers and decimals. Here is an activity you can do with your child.

In Unit 2, we learned about adding and subtracting decimals. In this topic, your student developed proficiency with adding and subtracting decimals. These skills will enable your student to solve mathematical and real-world problems efficiently. These skills will also help your student estimate sums and differences in order to determine the reasonableness of solutions. Here is an activity that you can complete together to help your student practice estimating and calculating sums and differences of decimals to hundredths.

This week, we have moved on to multiplication and Topic 3. Our learning outcome for this unit will be to fluently multiply multi- digit whole numbers. We will continue using our mathematical skill of estimating to determine if answers seem reasonable. Students will understand multiplying by powers of 10, by 1-digit numbers, and by 2-digit numbers. This will eventually lead us to multiplying decimals. Students will learn through the area-model (partial-products) and the traditional method for multiplication. As your child engages in this unit, it is of the utmost importance that they are continuing to engage in math fact practice. Being able to recall their multiplication math facts in an accurate and efficient manner will help them to fluently multiply multi-digit whole numbers and decimals (in our next unit). Eventually we will be learning division of whole numbers and decimals and this will also contribute to their success. your student will be learning how to fluently multiply multi-digit whole numbers.

Social Studies

Your child has learned about the geography of the United States as well as our states, capitals, and regions. We have also been learning about exploration of the Americas and who came to explore. After spring break, we will revisit this topic to help us learn about the colonies and what led up to the American Revolution and the establishment of the US Constitution.


Your child is about to begin a new journey as he or she explores water on our Earth and the protection of Earth’s resources and environments. Your child’s mission will be to create a TV news segment that reports on where water is located, how it is used, and what people can do to conserve it. As your child works toward this goal, he or she will be exploring many phenomena while learning the following concepts:

  • Earth’s major systems (geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere) interact with each other.

  • Most of Earth’s available water is in the ocean, and most of Earth’s freshwater is frozen in glaciers and ice caps.

  • People can use information about Earth’s systems and water to protect Earth’s resources and environments.

We will do many investigations in class over several weeks to help your child learn these concepts from firsthand experiences. Encourage your child to share these experiences with you and to teach you what he or she has learned. Ask your child to identify examples of what he or she is learning in everyday life.

Dear Families,

Hello and welcome back!! I am so excited to meet and see you all! My name is Kelly Broecker (pronounced Breker) and I am so excited that I am going to be your child’s teacher for the 2021-2022 school year at Gold Rush. I cannot wait for this year to begin so that we can get to know one another and have a fun, successful year of learning! Please read to the end as this has a lot of important information for you and your child.

Growing up in Colorado, I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. 21 years ago I stepped into my first classroom and haven’t looked back. Education is my passion and watching your children grow to be strong, independent critical thinkers is why I teach. I have a BA in History from Colorado State University, my Elementary Educators license from Metropolitan State University of Denver and I have a Masters in Curriculum, Assessment, and Instruction. I’ve taught both 4th and 5th grades over the past 20 years as well as one of those years as an instructional coach. This will be my fifth year at Gold Rush and I couldn’t have asked for a better community and school to be a part of.

My family and I live right here in Parker. I love teaching in the community where I live; it allows me to stay connected to my children and the entire Parker community. I am married to my husband of 21 years, and we have two wonderful daughters. Emily, 18, will be a Freshman at Colorado State University, and Abby, 15, is a Junior attending Chaparral High School and plays soccer year round. As a family we enjoy watching soccer, walking our dog Izzy, and hanging out together. My own hobbies include reading, rooting for CSU Ram Football, exercising, walking to enjoy our beautiful weather and scenery, and of course, watching Abby play soccer.

As we enter this year, please know that working together as a cohesive team will ensure that your child has a successful year as they prepare for middle school. Communication is very important to me and to the success of your child. E-mail is typically the best way to reach me. During the school year I will be working with your student during school hours, so if I am not able to respond immediately, I will do my best to respond after school or the following morning. I look forward to working with you and your child. This is their last year of elementary school and I want it to be a memorable and fun learning experience, despite the unique challenges we face. I can't wait for them to experience all of the fun and exciting lessons and activities that I have planned!

I look forward to hearing about all your summer adventures! We were finally able to escape Colorado and make up a Disney trip that we had to cancel Spring Break of 2020. It was the most amazing experience and memory making trip; something I was happy to have right before we send our oldest to college. We were also able to spend some time last week in my hometown of Crested Butte visiting with my old teachers and friends. Here are some pictures of it: (Yes, I love Disney; Yes I love Star Wars; Yes I LOVE Marvel and The Avengers!!)

I am looking forward to meeting you and your student at our Meet the Teacher on Friday, August 6th. Please CLICK HERE to sign up for a 15 minute increment time slot by July 30th if you haven’t already done this. (Select Gold Rush Elementary and the password is digger.) Students will drop off their supplies this day and take their pictures in the gym after our visit. If you could please also fill out this form (also found on my website) to help me get to know your child before the first day of school, I would appreciate it! With the limited amount of time we have at Meet the Teacher, this will help give me additional information privately prior to our first day of school.

Finally, if there is an alternate email you would like me to use, please let me know ASAP by responding to this email and providing me with the new email address you would like me to use.

Have a great rest of your summer, I can’t wait to meet you on August 6th and see you for our first day on August 9th!

Best regards,

Mrs. Broecker

Classroom Webpage

Me with my favorite flower!!

My family and I near Salzburg, Austria in 2019.

Space Mountain Summer 2021